Monday, August 09, 2010

"The Wind that Shakes the Barley" / the reel, a couple of unrelated songs and a memorable film clip of one of them

Reel. In D. Very old. Widespread American contra dance tune with clear Irish antecedents. What more needs to be said?

Here's a learning version from YouTube ... teachmeafiddletune February 04, 2009 ... Jamie Laval celtic fiddle workshop 1-10-09. "Wind that shakes the barley"

And up to speed ...

Liam O'Flynn, on pipes, and Tommy Peoples, fiddle, on what looks like a TV show from the 70s ...

And from Comhaltas ... Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, traditional singer and musician of Danu, singing "An Spealadóir" (a West Kerry song) and, together with Michelle Mulcahy on accordion, follows with two reels: "The Caucus" and "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" at Comhaltas' Peig Ryan Tribute Concert held in June of 2007. Accompaniment is by Billy Mc Glynn on guitar. "Wind" begins at 3:47.

The Kitchen Musician has it as an 'American and ? - 16 bar "circular" reel' and provides an abc file in D.

Kuntz has this in the Fiddler's Companion:
WIND THAT SHAKES/SHOOK THE BARLEY [1], THE ("An Ghaoth a Bhogann," "An Ghaoth/Gaot a Chroitheann/Corruideann an Eorna" or "An Gaot A Biodgeas An T-Orna"). AKA and see "Duncan Davidson," “(An) Gaoth A Chroitheanna an Eorna,” "I Sat (with)in the Valley Green," "The Kerry Lasses [3],” "Rolling Down the Hill [2]." Irish, Scottish, Shetland, American, New England; Reel. D Major (most versions): G Major (Hardings): D Mixolydian (Carlin). Standard tuning. AB (Allan's, Breathnach, Cole, Harker/Rafferty, Honeyman, Mallinson, O'Neill/1850, Stanford/Petrie, Surenne, Sweet, Tubridy): AAB (Athole): AA'B (O'Neill/Krassen, 1915): AAB (Brody, Carlin, Flaherty, Hunter, S. Johnson, Kerr, Neil, Skye, Sumner): ABB (Phillips): AABB (Hardings, Miller & Perron). The Irish musicologist Father Henebry considered this tune originally Scottish (as did Breathnach), but Bayard (1981) finds almost no Scottish traditional forms; he found numerous versions in Irish and Irish‑American currency. Emmerson (1971), however, states the tune is "substantially a set of the 'Fairy Dance,'" which is definately Scottish and whose full title is "Largo's Fairy Dance," composed by Nathaniel Gow.


“The Wind that Shakes the Barley” was cited as having commonly been played for Orange County, New York, country dances in the 1930's (Lettie Osborn, New York Folklore Quarterly)./ "The (Provance) version...contains a feature common enough in old‑country reels, but seldom encountered in American variants: namely, the 'circular' construction, which provides for the tune's going on indefinitely without coming to a complete cadence. F.P. Provance stated that he learned this set 'among the Dutch' in eastern Fayette and western Somerset Counties‑‑an interesting evidence of how the German settlers have adopted the tradition of the Irish whom they encountered on their arrival in Pennyslvania" (Bayard, 1944). It was recorded on 78 RPM disc by Beaver Island, Michigan, fiddler Patrick Bonner, who had several Irish-style tunes in his repertoire. Beaver Island was settled by a number of immigrants from Arranmore island, off the coast of Donegal, and the Donegal fiddling tradition can be heard in Bonner’s playing (he was the youngest son of immigrants from Arranmore).


The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800.


The tune was the vehicle for the Donegal house-dance the Barnas Mór Reel, writes Fintan Vallely in his book Blooming Meadows (1998), interviewing Donegal fiddler Vincent Broderick of the townland of Tangaveane in the Croaghs (Blue Stack Mountains). Broderick remembered: “They would let hands to, d’you see, every other bar or so…and they done this step dance every one of them on their own and then they would join hands again, go around again.”


Several songs have been written to the melody. One set of Irish words goes:


Oh, won't you rattle me, and oh, won't you chase me,
Oh, won't you rattle me, the little bag of tailors.
Oh, won't you rattle me, and oh, won't you chase me,
Oh, won't you rattle me, the little bag of tailors.
I went up to Dublin, I met a little tailor,
I put him in my pocket, for fear the dogs would eat him.
The dogs began to bark, and I began a-wailin',
I threw him in the Liffey, for fear the dogs would eat him.

A romantic song to the tune with words by Robert Dwyer Joyce (1830-1883) commemorating the uprising of 1798 led by the Society of United Irishmen was originally published c.1880 in Ballads of Irish Chivalry. It is also called “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” and goes:


I sat within a valley green

I sat there with my true love
My sad heart strove the two between

The old love and the new love

The old for her, the new

That made me think on Ireland dearly

When soft the wind blew down the glen

And shook the golden barley.

I can't hear the relationship, if any, between the song about the Wexford rising. And neither, apparently, do participants in the forum in "The Session" website. Nice song, though:

Entirely unrelated to either, at least musically, is "Óró 'Sé do Bheatha 'Bhaile," a song of the Irish rebellion. Featured in the ____ movie "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" set during the Irish Civil War in Co. Cork.

Óró Sé do Bheatha 'Bhaile is one of those Gaelic-language songs that date back to the Jacobite rebellion and have been frequently covered. The tune is related to "What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?" and may have come first. A fine performance by Mary Black from the Highland Sessions TV series (BBC, 2005)

And one by Darach Ó Catháin, the sean-nós singer

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