An Sliabh Glas – Tony O’Rourke

Cover image and title for An Sliabh Glas CDRecorded in Melbourne, Australia. Released November 2008.

You can buy the album, or individual tracks, on eMusic, iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and other online music outlets.

Track listing

  1. Jigs: Shores of Lough Gowna/Jim Connolly’s
  2. Reels: Green Mountain/Morning Star
  3. Slides: Cock O’ the North/Echoes of Killarney
  4. Appalachian Tune:Cripple Creek
  5. Hornpipes: Humours of Tullycrine/Junior Crehan’s
  6. Reels: Crossing the Shannon/Mossy Banks
  7. Jigs: HammyHamilton’s No. 1/Old Joe’s
  8. Polkas: Jimmy Doyle’s/Maggie In the Woods
  9. Reels: Lord McDonald’s/Maids of Feakle
  10. Jigs: Maura Walsh’s Jig/Hammy Hamilton’s No. 2
  11. Reel: Andy McGann’s/li>
  12. Jigs: Seán Buí/Green Fields of Woodford
  13. Set Dance: St Patrick’s Day
  14. Jigs: Angry Peeler/Christy Barry’s No. 2
  15. Texas Fiddle Tune: Drunken Billy Goat
  16. Slip Jigs: Fisherman’s Jig/Ceannabhain Bhána
  17. Reels: Crib of Perches/Red Haired Lass

Sleeve notes (in English)

I hope you enjoy this selection of music and find it a bit “different”. I have a great love of many styles of music, but this collection represents mostly traditional Irish music, with a couple of tunes from the Appalachian tradition included (Drunken Billy Goat and Cripple Creek). There’s also two of my own compositions here, Maura Walsh’s Jig, and Jim Connolly’s Jig, written for two friends, both great company musically and socially, on my frequent visits to Ireland. My version of “Crib of Perches” was learnt from my late friend Billy Moran, who made such a valuable contribution to Irish music in Australia. I first heard the set dance “St. Patrick’s Day” played as a fingerstyle piece by Offaly guitarist Eddie Whelan, whom I’ve shared many a long night of music with whilst travelling around Ireland. “Angry Peeler” was learnt from a field recording of Tipperary accordeonist Willie Fogarty. A night’s taping of Willie’s playing gives me a year of study to do when I get back home. The same might be said of Clare concertina player Dympna O’Sullivan, from whom I collected “Green Fields of Woodford”. Go raibh maith agat mo cairde ceolmhar.

More than half the tracks in this collection are played on guitar, specifically a 2002 Martin HD-28, with John Pearse strings. The guitar as a melody instrument is not universally accepted as “legitimate” in some Irish musical circles, and indeed in traditional music it often does more harm than good to the music. I trust my attempts to play traditional Irish music on guitar here go some way to changing this perception.

The other melody instrument is a 17 fret tenor banjo, made for me by Melbourne luthier Roger Buckmaster. Roger has made many superb instruments down the years, not only banjos, but fiddles, mandolines, and guitars, many with elaborate and intricate artistic ornamentation. However, my instrument was, in a decorative sense, somewhat more restrained in design, reflecting the taste of the owner rather than its creator! And of course the sound and intonation are of the highest quality.

The other instrument on this recording is an Irish Bouzouki(for want of a better name), made by Ray Black from Geelong, an hour’s drive south west of Melbourne. This is the only fretted instrument I own that has a rosewood neck rather than my preferred ebony. It took just one strum of a chord to fall in love with this instrument. It has a certain mystical tone to it, whether accompanying tunes, a singer, or playing melody.

The other people who deserve some thanks are the folk at Manny’s Music here in Melbourne, whose advice on microphones and recording programmes was much appreciated. Some musicians get right into that side of the music business. Let’s just say that my field of knowledge lies more in guitars and banjos! For what it’s worth to those interested in these matters, this recording was made on a Dell PC, using Cubase LE recording software, and, most important of all, recorded with an AKG C2000B Cardioid Microphone.

I suppose it was about 2 years ago that I sat down to begin recording this CD. Then just as I was about to begin , along came Gerry Gaffney and asked me if I wanted to do a series of “How to play Irish music on guitar” podcasts. To hear the lessons and tunes go to:

www. irishguitarpod. com. So the CD project was moved sideways, and the podcasts are great fun and hopefully have helped people develop their skills on the guitar. Gerry is involved in computer software usability, and has been of great assistance to a technological Luddite like me.

Then came the chord dictionary. I’d basically finished the recording when I got it into my head to produce a chord dictionary which took up a fair proportion of my time, but was a source of great personal satisfaction. With a trip to Ireland thrown in, and the normal hold ups one endures in the recording of a CD, it’s taken rather longer than planned, but finally here ‘tis.

A big thank you to my long time flatpicking friend Kevin Parsell for his technical advice in recording and mixing this project, and to Jan and Matthew for their artwork. And to Eamon Naughton, a Co. Meath born Melbournian, for the Irish language translation. His knowledge of Irish is as wide and complete I’ve come to the conclusion that learning the Irish language is more difficult than banjo, but a fascinating area encompassing different historical, cultural, and social thought processes when compared to the imported language To my musical friends here in Melbourne with whom I play music on a regular basis. And to all the wonderful musicians I’ve met and played music with on my trips to Ireland: I always come home with so many tunes and ideas, and many fond memories. Especially to Tom Cussen and Mick O’Connor. Their very different styles of playing banjo have provided me with a lifetime of ideas about banjo playing.

Tony O’Rourke

July 2008

Sleeve notes (as Gaeilge)

Tá súil agam go mbainfidh tú taithneamh as an cnuasach ceoil seo mar tá sé “difriúil”. Tá grá agam ar gach stíl ceoil ach anseo is ceol traidisiúnta is mó atá sa cnuasach, le cúpla port ó na Appalachian chomh maith. Tá dhá phort a chum mé féin, Máire Breathnach agus Séamus Ó Conghaile in onóir do bheirt chara liom ó Éire. An leagan atá agam ar “Crib of Perches” d’fhoghlaim mé ó Billy Moran – ar dheis Dé go raibh sé – ceoltóir a d’fhág rian dearg ar cheol na h-Éireann san Astráil. Chuala mé ceol “set” St Patrick’s Day á sheint ar ghiotár ag fear as Ua bhFáilí darbh ainm Eddie Whelan, duine ar chaith mé oícheanta fada ceoil leis agus mé ag taisteal ar fud na hÉireann. Thóg mé an “Angry Peeler” ó cheirnín Willie Fogarty as Tiobraid Árainn. Fágann oíche ag seint le Willie ábhar bliana staidéar agam. Is féidir é sin a rá freisin i dtaobh Dympna O’Sullivan as Co. an Chláir a thug “Green Fields of Woodford” dom.

Tá níos mó ná leath an cnuasaigh seo seinte ar giotár, go h-áirithe 2002 Martin HD-28 le sreanganna John Pearse. Níl mórán cáil ar an giotár mar uirlis cheoil i measc go leor ceoltóirí Éireannach agus is féidir a rá go ndéanann sé níos mó dochar ná maitheas go minic. Tá súil agam go dtaispeánfaidh an t-iarracht seo ar ghiotár nach mar sin atá an scéal.

An uirlis eile, is bainseo seacht sreang déag í a dhein Roger Buckmaster dom i Melbourne. Tá togha na n-uirlisí déanta ag Roger le blianta beaga anuas, ní hamháin bainseo ach fidil, maindilín agus giotáir, go leor acu snasta le linte ardnósach agus maisiú. Ó thaobh an ceann atá agamsa níl sé chomh ardnósach san – a locht sin ormsa, mar sin a bhí uaim. Ar ndóigh tá an fuaim agus tuin thar barr.

Tá uirlis eile ar an CD seo , Bouzouki Éireannach (de cheal ainm níos fearr) a dhein Ray Black as Geelong dom, uair a chloig tiomáint siar ó dheas ó Melbourne. Seo í an an t-aon uirlis sreangach atá agam a bhfuil muinéal rósadhmaid ann in ionad éabann – an t-adhmad is fearr liom. Rith mé mo mhéara uair amháin ar an sreang agus thit mé faoina draíocht, draíocht atá le cloisint agus í mar thionlacan le amhránaí nó ag seint foinn.

Tá buíochas tuilte ag lucht Manny’s Music anseo i Melbourne de bharr a gcomhairle ó thaobh miocrafóin agus ag cuir ceirnín le chéile. Téann roinnt ceoltóirí leis an taobh sin den trácht. Óm’ thaobhse den scéal is le giotár agus bainseo a leanann mo chuid eolais. Don té a bhfuil suim aige sa cheird seo leagadh amach an ceirnín seo ar Dell PC, le gléas taifeada Cubabase LE agus rud an-tabhachtach cuireadh síos é ar AKG C2000B Cardioid Microphone.

Tá sé beagnach dhá bhliain ó thosaigh mé ag cuir an ceirnín seo le chéile. Nuair a bhíos díreach chun tosnú tháinig Gerry Gaffney agus chuir sé an ceist: ar mhaith liom sraith ‘podcasts’ a ullmhú – “Conas ceol Éireannach a sheint ar giotár” Chun é seo a chloisint téigh go www. irishguitarpod. com. Cuireadh an dlúthdhiosc ar leathtaobh agus chuaigh na ‘podcasts’ chun tosaigh agus tá súil agam gur baineadh tairbhe astu. Tá Gerry an-stuama leis an ríomhaire agus is mór an cabhair é do neamh-eolaí mar mise.

Ansin foclóir na gcorda. Bhí mé beagnach críochnaithe leis an dlúthdhiosc nuair a bhuail an smaoineamh mé gur cheart foclóir corda a chuir ar fáil – rud a thóg go leor ama, ach rud a bhí an-shásúil domsa. Le turas go hÉirinn san áireamh agus gach rud a chuireann isteach ar gníomh mar seo tá an dlúthdhiosc níos déanaí ná mar ba mhaith liom.

Míle buíochas do mo chara buan Kevin Parsell ó thaobh teicneolaíocht, do Jan agus Matthew as a gcuid ealaíne, do Éamon Ó Neachtain, Gaeilgeoir as Co. na Mídhe a thug lámh cúnta leis an leagan Gaeilge, do na ceoltóirí as Melbourne a gcaithim seisiúin ceolmhar leo go minic. Tá ceoltóirí iontach as Éirinn ar mhaith liom buíochas a glachadh leo. Is mó oíche bhreá ceoil a bhí againn le chéile go mór mór Tom Cussen agus Mick O’ Connor. Tá stíl áithrid bainseo acu a thugann ábhar smaointe dom ó thaobh ceol bainseo – is féidir liom mo shaol a chaitheamh leis seo.

Tony O’Rourke

Iúil 2008

Gerry GaffneyAn Sliabh Glas – Tony O’Rourke