Anthologies   •   Ulster's Flowery Vale

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  • Ulster's Flowery Vale
    • 1968 - BBC REC 28M LP (UK)
  • Side One
    1. Mrs. McLeod's Reel — Seán McAloon, Tommy Gunn & Cathal McConnell
    2. The Lowlands of Holland David Hammond
    3. Jig: Drops of Brandy Barney McKenna
    4. Red Red Rose Sarah Makem
    5. Pair of Jigs: The Maid in the Meadow & The Battering Ram — Seán McAloon, Tommy Gunn & Cathal McConnell
    6. The Maid Behind the Bar — Michael McCann
    7. Old Arboe — George Hanna
    8. Reel: The Mason's Apron — Barney McKenna & Seán McGuire
    9. True Lovers' Discourse — Jerry Hicks
    10. Pair of Reels: O'Rourke's Reel & The Wild Irishman — Seán Maguire & Barney McKenna
  • Side Two
    1. Jig: Paddy's Return — Michael McCann
    2. Slow Air: Tá Sí Na Codhladh — Cathal McConnell
    3. Reel: The Maid Behind the Bar — Seán McAloon
    4. Dobbin's Flowery Vale — Jerry Hicks
    5. Pair of Jigs: The Lark in the Morning & The Wandering Minstrel — Seán McAloon, Tommy Gunn & Cathal McConnell
    6. The Lisburn Lass — George Hanna
    7. Hornpipe: The Black Swan — Seán Maguire
    8. The Blackbird of Mullaghmore — David Hammond
    9. March: The Pikeman — Cathal McConnell and Tommy Gunn
    10. Sailor Cut Down in his Prime — Sarah Makem
    11. Pair of Reels: Hunters' Purse & The Copperplate — Seán McAloon, Tommy Gunn & Cathal McConnell

  • Musicians
    • Barney McKenna: Banjo
    • Cathal McConnell: Flute
    • David Hammond: Vocals
    • George Hanna: Vocals
    • Jerry Hicks: Vocals
    • Michael McCann: Lilting
    • Sarah Makem: Vocals
    • Seán Maguire: Fiddle
    • Seán McAloon: Uileann Pipes
    • Tommy Gunn: Fiddle
  • Credits
    • Produced by David Hammond
    • Music recorded by Michael O'Donnell
    • Music Liaison: Brian ODonnell
    • First broadcast N.I.H.S. July and August 1968

    • Sarah Makem from Keady, Co. Armagh — Grandmother, singer of a thousand songs.
    • Tommy Gunn from Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh — Fiddler, Hirer, dancer.
    • David Hammond from Belfast — Performer and producer.
    • George Hanna from Derrytresk, Co. Tyrone — Coalminer, head of a singing family.
    • Jerry Hicks from Armagh — Teacher, singer, poet.
    • Seán Maguire from Belfast — Musician extraordinary, virtuoso on the fiddle.
    • Seán McAloon from Rosslea, Co. Fermanagh — "Ireland's natural piper".
    • Michael McCann from Dromore, Co. Tyrone — A delightful lilter.
    • Cathal McConnell from Ballinaleck, Co. Fermanagh — Flute player, quietly and totally committed to music.
    • Barney McKenna from Dublin — "Banjo Barney", lifelong student, superb instrumentalist

Sleeve Notes

Here for your interest and entertainment is a collection of music that has grown, abundantly as wildflowers, out of the fields, the rocks, the hills of this part of Ireland we call Ulster. It is music of which the authors and composers are unknown. It is old, admittedly not as old as time itself, but still it spans the centuries. Indeed it spans tradition, too, for it represents many traditions of which, perhaps, the Irish, the Scots, and the English are the most significant. And like all traditions that are alive, this music is a fascinating mixture of ancient and modern merged together in a distinctive unity.

The record is not a definitive collection of the folk music of Ulster. It is simply a rendering of some of the kinds of music that are being played and sung by people of many walks of life in this part of Ireland every day of the year. All the musicians are Ulster-born except Barney McKenna, one generation removed. Their music bears the stamp of personal experience: it has survived and it lives today, not on the printed page of a book, but on the lips and fingertips of those who have learned it from a grapevine that stretches far back into history — the grapevine of oral transmission along which the music was passed from generation to generation.

The words of the songs speak of the things we value, the melodies echo the subtle and changing moods of an Irish landscape — the dark shadows, the glimpses of sunshine, the sudden gleam of a yellow whin or a whitewashed gable in a clump of trees — just a few of the patches on a quilt of infinite variety and mood. In times past they meant everything to our ancestors and, in a strange way, they still mean much to us. They tell us and the world who we are.

David Hammond

Ulster Folk Museum

Although it cannot be claimed that as yet, Irish folk music is being collected on anything like an adequate scale, opportunities for rectifying the situation are being developed. In 1958, for example, the Government of Northern Ireland established the Ulster Folk Museum for purposes of recording the folklife of the province. Being a Museum, it is implicit that the material objects — the furniture, tools, implements etc. — which people used in the course of day to day life should be prominently featured. However, in fulfilling this aim, the Museum recognises that folklife cannot be wholly represented in a visual way; to a considerable extent especially in Ireland, it exists in the form of sounds — the dialects which people speak, the folk tales they relate, the songs they sing and the tunes they play.

George Thompson, M.Sc., F.M.A.,
Director, Ulster Folk Museum,
Cultra Manor,
Holywood, Co. Down, N.I.