This is a Piece written by the blind Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan, (1670–1738). One of the most popular compositions of O'Carolan, it was originally a song with Gaelic words, written in praise of Eleanor Plunkett of Robertstown, County Meath.

One of the most popular compositions of O'Carolan, it was originally a song with Gaelic words, written in praise of Eleanor Plunkett of Robertstown, County Meath. Story has it, as he was composing this song Eleanor's coach man interrupted O'Carolan remarking that he had heard many of the same words used in other songs. The outraged bard picked up his staff and threatened the servant with it, saying "Neither you nor any other person will ever hear more of it but what is already composed!"

 

I recorded this piece on my last album Drawn to the Flame. I love the subtle chord changes and the added notes to each chord. In my opinion, it is ahead of its time in so many ways.

 

The word Bodhrán is said to mean Deafening or Thunderous Drum. The history of the Bodhrán is shrouded in mystery and subject to speculation. Is it an ancient Irish instrument or did it originally arrive on our shores from some far off place? Some historians believe that its roots in Africa and arrived here from Spain, others believe that it had its origins in Asia and arrived here with the Celts.

 

The Bodhrán is a frame drum made from a circle of wood (ash) upon this we have the stretched skin of an animal. Usually that of a goat but you may also find Bodhrán that use the skin of a horse, pony, sheep, or dog.

 

The famous composer Seán Ó Riada declared the bodhrán to be the native drum of the Celts possibly used originally for winnowing or the dying of wool, with a musical history that predated Christianity, native to southwest Ireland.  

 

Here I am just playing a few reels with my brother John on the Uilleann Pipes. The Bodhrán is a great instrument to take up if anyone is interested in Irish Music. It allows for a way of understanding the intricacies of the Irish Rhythms and also offers the player a way of joining any Irish Music Session, in their locality.

The mandolin is a really versatile instrument traversing so many musical genres, Rock, Traditional Irish Music, Bluegrass, Folk, and even Classical. The mandolin has evolved from the lute family in Italy during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the deep bowled mandolin produced particularly in Naples became common in the nineteenth century. The traditional deep bowl shape has evolved in Irish Music into a more flat back and this is perhaps the more commonly seen mandolin today. 

 

The mandolin is tuned much like a violin, that is, G, D, A, and E. There are eight strings with each string doubled up in unison, which creates this associated "swirling" ringing sound. When recording, it can be useful to create a string-rich sound by overdubbing a mandolin on the track.

In this clip, I am playing again with my brother John on the flute. The mandolin offers a great mixture of strumming and picking also at speed.