Captain Callow

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X:1 T:Captain Callow/Callan's Reel T:Brighton Castle M:C L:1/8 R:Reel S:Rev. Luke Donnellan – “Oriel Songs and Dances", S:Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society (vol. II, No. 2, 1909; No. 53) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Amin A2 cA eAcA|G2 BG dGBG|A2 cA eAcA|dBGB cAAB:|| EAcA eAcA|G2 BG dGBG|A2 cA eAcA|dBGB cAAG| EAcA eAcA|G2 BG dGBG|ABcd egfa|gedB cA A2||



CAPTAIN CALLOW. AKA - "Captain Callan's Reel." AKA and see "Brighton Castle." Irish, Reel (whole or cut time). A Minor/Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The reel was collected in the Slieve Gullion region of south County Armagh by the Rev. Luke Donnellan (1878-1952), a rector at Dromintee, who published a collection of over 100 tunes, mostly reels, in 1909 in an article entitled "Oriel Songs and Dances" in The Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society (vol. II, No. 2). Oriel [1] (now Oirialla), or Airgíalla, and Anglicizations, Oriel, Uriel, Orgiall, or Orgialla, was the name of an ancient Irish federation or kingdom largely in what is now the County Armagh, in the north of Ireland. Donnellan was enthusiastic about P.W. Joyce's then recently published Old Irish Music and Songs (1909), but found Irish music rather rare in his area.

The old people of Dromintee will tell you of the number and the skill of musicians who used to come to [nearby] Forkhill fair. I was told there used to be as many as thirty playing at it. They display an extensive knowledge of the names of songs and dance tunes, but cannot sing them. The reel known as “Black Haired Lass (2) (The)” No. 66 inf., seems to have been a great favourite with everyone. These facts point to a vanishing and disappearing musical culture.

Forkhill Fair, held on Michaelmas Day (Sept. 29th) was once the great horse and cattle fair, and festival of the area (St. Michael is the patron saint of horsemen).

See also the similar "New Bridge of Dumfries (The)" and "Miss Johnston (2)." "Brighton Castle" is the alternate title that appears in the index of Donnellan's ms. Gerry O'Connor gives the tune title as "Captain Callan's Reel."


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Rev. Luke Donnellan music manuscript collection[1] [O'Connor]."

Printed sources : - Donnellan (Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, vol. II, No. 2), 1909; No. 53. Gerry O’Connor (The Rose in the Gap), 2018; No. 227, p. 113 (as "Captain Callan's Reel").






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  1. Donnellan researcher Gerry O'Connor came to believe the ms. is not the work of the curate but rather was originally compiled by an unknown but able fiddler over the course of a playing lifetime, probably in the late 19th century. The ms. later came into the possession of Donnellan, who was also a fiddler.
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