Track 4. Air - The Old Man Rocking The Cradle

from "At Home" by Gerry Harrington

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I learned this air from the playing of Pádraig O’Keeffe. related to the song “An Seanduine.” O’Neill (1922) says it is a descriptive piece wherein an old man gives voice to his woes, punctuated by the wailing of a child and its calls for its Ma-ma. Skillful fiddlers and pipers would imitate those cries.The fiddle was lowered in pitch and the fiddler would lightly touch the bridge with a large door key held in his teeth to simulate the tones of human expression.” Donal Hickey, in his 1999 book on Sliabh Luachra musicians Stone Mad for Music, confirms that the great Kerry fiddler Pádraig O’Keeffe (1887-1963) performed this: “…he made the fiddle intone ‘mama, mama’…For this novel tune which is based on a lullaby, he would put a large door key in his mouth and use it to mute the fiddle: the ‘mama’ sound. Like that of a baby crying, would result.” Sources for notated versions: piper Willie Clancy (1918-1973, Miltown Malbay, west Clare) [Mitchell]; the Rice-Walsh Manuscript, a collection of music from the repertoire of Jeremiah Breen, a blind fiddler from North Kerry [O’Neill]. Mitchell (Dance Music of Willie Clancy), 1993; No. 130, pg. 104. O’Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922.


from "At Home", released January 1, 2011


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Gerry Harrington County Sligo, Ireland

. Gerry's music was brought to a wider audience during the nineties through the release of two exquisite albums with accordion player Eoghan O'Sullivan, Scéal Eile and The Smokey Chimney. Gerry recorded the album “The New Road" with button accordion master Charlie Piggott. The latest work is a solo fiddle album titled “At Home” which includes music from Sliabh Luchra and Sligo. ... more

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