Playlist M (part 4)

(The Mandolin Playlist!)

Updated 16 July 2021

If you don’t wish to read through the notes below, you can go straight to playlist M (part 4) on YouTube here.

This is the first of three “solo” playlists which I’m going to feature. I’ll create an “A” list, a “C” list and an “M” list – A and C being the first letters of my name and M being the first letter of my middle name…

I’ve included some biographical / music-related details about my collaborators – so to begin with here are a few details about me. I was brought up in Derrymacash, County Armagh and moved to London in the mid 1980s. Around the mid 1990s I developed an interest in Irish Traditional Music, first as a listener and then, tentatively, as a player of GDAE-tuned fretted instruments – mandolin, octave mandola, banjo and tenor guitar at various points. I’ve drifted in and out of the music but it’s been my pleasure and privilege to play tunes with some great players and great friends at sessions across London including The Blythe Hill Tavern, the short-lived and manic Saturday night sessions at Shillelaghs in Catford, The White Horse session in Bethnal Green… And occasionally others as and when the time was right for a few tunes.

Although I have drifted away from the tunes from time to time, I have rediscovered my passion in the past few years. One of the reasons I started The Irish Mandolin website was to, hopefully, give something back to the music and to provide resources and inspiration to fellow mandoliers who enjoy playing Irish traditional tunes. These playlists will hopefully appeal not just to players of GDAE-tuned instruments but to a much wider audience who love this music…

M is for MANDOLIN. Aidan says: As you would expect, tunes on the mandolin are going to feature heavily in this playlist. The first is a glorious set of reels played by one of my favourite mandolinists, Brian Taheny. Brian has a simply enviable approach to playing the tunes. Brian Taheny and Andrew Collins – The Chicago Reel/Famous Ballymote/The Wise Maid

M is for MANDOLIN. Aidan says: It’s always a delight to hear Barney and John of The Dubliners duet on mandolin and this set of 2 hornpipes and a reel is a corker… (although the guitar backing, frankly, doesn’t add much to this set!). Barney McKenna and John Sheahan – Chief O’Neill’s/The Trumpet Hornpipe/The Mullingar Races – live at The Gaiety

M is for MANDOLIN. Aidan says: The next selection is a “demo” by Martin Howley, perhaps best known as one the members of We Banjo Three, at the Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School. His version of this jig is a masterclass in precision ornamentation. Martin Howley – The One That Was Lost

M is for MANDOLIN. Aidan says: Michael Kerry’s album “The Rocky Road” remains one of my all-time favourite mandolin albums. And this set of jigs is pure magic! Michael Kerry – Culhane’s (Bill Harte’s/The Eavesdropper)

M is for MANDOLIN. Aidan says: A long time ago I ran a website called “Pay The Reckoning”. One page on the site featured music from mandolinists, much of it specially recorded for the site. I was really pleased to receive an email one day containing a handful of tracks recorded by Denis McAuliffe with some very tasty guitar backing by Alph Duggan. Feast your ears on this… Denis McAuliffe & Alph Duggan – Sean Ryan’s/Frank’s

M is for MANDOLIN. Aidan says: Baron Collins-Hill is the driving force behind and I have a lot of time for his music. When he plays Irish tunes, he brings American old-time and bluegrass influences into the mix… but as “accents”, rather than being dominant. This is one of my favourite of Baron’s sets. Baron Collins-Hill – The Blackbird/The Bag Of Spuds/Miss Monaghan

M is for MANDOLIN. Aidan says: Jill McAuley is an inspirational banjo player, mandolinist and tenor guitar player. And, incidentally, very generous with her time. For example see her playlist (M, part 2) in this series. Her YouTube channel – is a must, not just for those of us who play instruments in the mandolin family, but for anyone wishing to listen to Irish Traditional Music played with panache and style. Last year Jill sent me a handful of recordings which she had made of her solo mandolinery and they were a treat. Here’s a set of reels so you can get a flavour of her playing. The first is a Brendan McGlinchey composition; the second is a Shetland reel which has found a new home in Ireland… Jill McAuley – Farewell To London/Donald Blue

M is for MANDOLIN. Aidan says: Marla Fibish is a renowned player and teacher of the mandolin. Lots more info about Marla and her various musical projects at This selection features her playing alongside Josh Dukes on guitar. Marla Fibish and Josh Dukes – John Whelan’s Trip To Skye/The First Rain/The Banks Of Lough Gowna

M is for MANDOLIN. Aidan says: Declan Corey is one of the most celebrated mandolinists in Ireland and – as a friend said recently – one of the very few mandolin players who can play loudly enough to cut right through all of the other instruments in a session. Here he is playing a set of reels with The Josephine Marsh Band. The Josephine Marsh Band – The Old Forge/Cycling Home/The Wise Maid

M is for MANDOLA. Aidan says: I’ll leave you here with a selection featuring the mandolin’s big brother (or sister, depending on how you – personally – prefer to assign gender to your anthropomorphised instruments). Some years ago, Tom Walsh brought out a “string-driven” CD called “In Company”. This is one of the stand-outs from the album. Tom Walsh – The Mandola Jig/Queen Of The Fair

Listen to the full “M” playlist, part 4 here.

All playlists on my channel here.

Return to the “A to Z” home page here.

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