Church Street Polka (2)

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CHURCH STREET (POLKA) [2]. AKA and see "Killoran's Polka (3)," "Memories of Ballymote," "Pete's Polka." Irish, Polka. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Moylan): AABB' (Callaghan, Mallinson, Phillips). This tune appears on the Chieftains first record, paired with "St. Mary's Polka." Source O'Leary associated this tune with west Kerry fiddler Julia Clifford. The tune (and "St. Mary's Polka") was probably named for the St. Mary's Society or club, later called the Church Street Club, formed in 1956 around a core of Sligo/Leitrim musicians who had moved to Dublin, including flute player John Egan, John Brennan, Dessie O'Connor, Tom Mulligan, Bill Harte, John Ryan, John Kelly, Sonny Brogan and John Clarke. The session helped nurture younger players such as Tommy Peoples and Tony McMahon and was a haven for nearly every traditional musician of the time who was in or visited Dublin. The session eventually moved to Hughes's Pub in Chancery Street, where it still continues under the leadership of Pearl O'Shaughnessy. Boston button accordion great Joe Derrane says the tune was a favourite in Irish-American music halls in the 20th century, and it has present currency among New England contra dance musicians. Barry Callagahn (2007) notes the popularity of the polka among English trad. musicians, and believes it was absorbed into "revival" repertoire following the recordings by the Chieftains in the 1960's or Paddy Killoran in 1937 (under the title "Memories of Ballymote").

Sources for notated versions: fiddler Pete Sutherland (Vt.) [Phillips]; accordion player Johnny O'Leary (Sliabh Luachra region of the Cork-Kerry border) [Moylan].

Printed sources: Bulmer & Sharpley (Music from Ireland), 1974, vol. 2, No. 69. Callaghan (Hardcore English), 2007; p. 32. Mallinson (100 Polkas), 1997; No. 90, p. 35. Moylan (Johnny O'Leary), 1994; No. 321, p. 183. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 2, 1995; p. 338.

Recorded sources: Claddagh 83324-2, "The Chieftains" (1964). EFDSSCD13, All Blacked Up - "Hardcore English" (2007. Various artists). Great Meadow Music GMM 2018, Frank Ferrel & Joe Derrane - "Fiddledance" (2004). Wild Goose Records, The Old Swan Band - "Swan Upmanship."




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