Humors of Lisadel

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HUMORS OF LISADEL (Pléaráca Lios an Daill). AKA "Humours of Lissadell." AKA and see "The Musical Bridge." Irish, Reel. E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. This reel was popularized by a 1937 recording by Sligo fiddlers Paddy Killoran [1] and Paddy Sweeney, who titled it "The Humors of Lisadell." Lissadell House, to use the usual spelling, is a country manor in south County Sligo, built in the 1830's for Sir Robert Gore-Booth. His famous descendants, the poet Eva Gore-Booth and her rebel sister Constance Markiewicz, were born in Lissadell House, which also figures in the poetry of W.B. Yeats.

The tune, however, is claimed by his nephew Vincent McGrath as a composition of New York fiddler, button accordionist and music teacher John McGrath (1900-1955), whose name for it was "The Musical Bridge," after a structure in Belmullet. Breathnach (1963) notes that Boston button accordion player Jerry O'Brien has a setting of this tune in his Irish Folk Dance Music (168). John McGrath is known to have contributed several tunes to that collection, including John McGrath's Composition and The Rossport Reel, a tune he named for his home place in Mayo but that is now better known as The Providence Reel.

Paddy Killoran

Source for notated version: flute player Éamonn de Stabaltún (Ireland) [Breathnach]; fiddler Fred Finn (1919–1986) (Kiltycreen, Kilavil, County Sligo); Frank McCollam (Ballycastle, County Antrim) [Mulvihill].

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ 1), 1963; No. 191, p. 74. Flaherty (Trip to Sligo), 1990; p. 80. Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 128, p. 34. Taylor (Where's the Crack?), 1989; p. 7.

Recorded sources: Coleman Music Center CHC 009, fiddler Jim Rawl (Co. Leitrim) – "The Coleman Archive, vol. 2: The Home Place" (2005. Various artists). Folk-Legacy FSE 78 (LP), "Seamus and Manus McGuire." Folkways FW 8876, Kevin Burke – "Sweeney's Dream." Green Linnet, Jack Coen – "The Branch Line" (mistakenly labelled as "Lads of Laois"). Green Linnet SIF-1110, Liz Carroll, Martin Hayes & Eileen Ivers – "My Love is in America: The Boston College Irish Fiddle Festival" (1991). Green Linnet SIF 1163, Joe Derrane – "Return to Inis Mór." Leader LEACD 2004, "Martin Byrnes" (1969). Philo F12108, Jean Carignan – "Plays the Music of Coleman, Morrison, and Skinner" (appears as one of "Coleman Reels"). Rounder CD7018, Frank Ferrel – "Boston Fiddle: The Dudley Street Tradition." Shanachie, Paddy Killoran – "Back in Town" (reissue of 78 RPM). Martin Byrnes – Martin Byrnes & Reg Hall. Joe Ryan – "An Buachaill Dreoite." Tom Healey & John Duffy – "Memories of Sligo." Salamanca – "Paddy in Paradise." Shaskeen – "Pipe on the Hob." Bobby Gardiner – "The Master's Choice." The Bothy Band – "1975."

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng's [3]
Hear Paddy Killoran and Paddy Sweeney's 1937 recording at the Comhaltas Archive [4]

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