Annotation:Dingle Regatta

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X:1 T:Dingle Regatta, The M:6/8 L:1/8 K:G dBd e2d|BAB d2B|A2A AGA|B2A G2B| dBd e2d|BAB d2B|AGA B2A|G3 G2B:| |:d2 d def|g3 gfg|a2a aga|b2a gfe| d2d def|g2g gab|a2g f2e|1 def g2e:|2 def g2d|| |:g3 ded|BdB G3|FGA DEF|G2B def| g3 ded|BdB G3|FGA DEF|1 G3 G2d:|2 G3 G2B||

DINGLE REGATTA. AKA and see "Petit Bijoux (Les)," "Quarry Cross Slide (4)," "Tom Billy's Favourite (3)." English, Jig (6/8 time); Irish, Slide (12/8 time). Ireland, West Kerry. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Cranitch, Mac Amhlaoibh & Durham): AABBCC (Kuntz, McNulty, Tubridy). The "Dingle Regatta" name comes from Seán Ó Riada, according to guitarist Paul de Grae, who used it as part of the score for his film The Playboy of the Western World. It was the signature tune for Ó Riada's band, Ceoltóirí Cualann, from which developed Ireland's most famous traditional band, the Chieftains, for their first radio appearances on Radio Éireann in the early 1960's [1]. Unfortunately, the tune as played by the group was 'totally inaccurate':

Paddy Moloney smiles at the memory. 'I gave that tune to Seán spontaneously at one of the rehearsals but unfortunately I mixed up two tunes and got the second part of it wrong. It didn't matter though because it blended beautifully and become our theme tune that was played at the beginning of every show Ceoltóirí Cualann ever did. (p. 47).

"Dingle Regatta" has become a 'pub tune' if ever there was; one hearing and you think you've known it all your life. A pub session tradition has grown up around the tune in which the third part is sometimes sung with out words, though in many circles the 'ya-da-duh-da-da-da' singing is by now considered a hackneyed bore. Kevin Finnegan, formerly of the Liverpool Céilí Band has recently remarked that this 'dittying' to the melody originated as a joke. He says:

The members of the band got along famously and when playing at ceili's etc. and did many strange things to enjoy the 'craic'. For example, it was not unusual for us to suddenly start changing seats while in the middle of a tune. It brought a great response from dancers when they'd look up to the stage and see Eamon Coyne (fiddle) walking around to change chairs with Frank Horan(button box) who was sitting behind him. Or to see Charlie Lennon (fiddle) switching places with Sean Murphy(banjo). It brought a great sense of camaraderie and fun to the group. Another favourite activity of each of the players was to suddenly stand up and straight back down again in sequence across the stage. This might be condemned by some 'purists' but it always added to the 'craic' and certainly didn't hurt the musical ability of the band - we still won two All-Irelands and countless other honours. As part of the craic the "hi-ho" stuff started in the early sixties as just another part of the fun we had playing together. It was not confined to the "Dingle Regatta" - as you will hear if you listen to the two LP's we made in the mid-sixties with Decca Records. In fact, like changing chairs, we did it fairly regularly with a number of tunes but I never heard another band do it until after our records came out. When we were in London recording the Lp's we started the Hi-Ho as a laugh during the recording session and never intended for it to come out on the final record - but the producer loved it and asked us to leave it on that particular track. That's the story of the Hi-ho sound. Of course it was always enhanced by the fact that most of us did partake of a few sups of the 'black milkshake' throughout the night so I'm sure that the bobbing up and down, the chair switching and the hi-ho were somewhat as a result of our love of the 'porter' !!!

The (two-part) tune, with the title "Quarry Cross Slide (4)" was played in a medley with "Art O'Keeffe's (3)" and "Dawley's Delight" by Sliabh Luachra fiddler Denis Murphy (1910-1974, Lisheen, County Kerry), who recorded it in 1949 for RTE.

The first two strains of the three-part "Dingle Regatta" have cognate relationships with other tunes, as researched by Fr. John Quinn. "Turfahun Barndance (The)" found in the manuscripts of folklorist Sam Henry, collected from fiddler and singer John Elliot of Turfahun[2], Bushmills, Co. Antrim, is cognate in the first strain and similar in parts of the second[3]. "French Reaper (The)" and an untitled quadrille, both entered in book 1 of the mid-19th century music manuscripts of County Cork cleric and uilleann piper James Goodman are cognate with "Dingle Regatta" in the first strains[4]. An untitled quadrille (no. 45b) in John Moore's c. 1837-1840 MS (Ashman, 1991) resembles parts of this tune. The third strain of "Dingle Regatta" also shows up as the first strains of the Pennsylvania-collected "Allegheny County", and in the Irish "Kilcummin Slide (The)."

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Beisswenger (Irish Fiddle Music from Counties Cork and Kerry), 2012; p. 76 (as "Quarry Cross Slide (4)"). Cotter (Traditional Irish Tin Whistle Tutor), 1989; 24. Cranitch (Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; No. 21, p. 133. Cranitch (Irish Session Tunes: Red Book), 2000; 21. Jordan (Whistle and Sing), 1975; 25. Mac Amhlaoibh & Durham (An Pota Stóir: Ceol Seite Corca Duibne/The Set Dance Music of West Kerry), No. 68, p. 40. McNulty (Dance Music of Ireland), 1965; p. 18. Prior (Fionn Seisiún 2), 2003; p. 33. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 1), 1999; p. 28. Vallely (Learn to Play the Tin Whistle with the Armagh Piper's Club), 1976, vol. 1; 19.

Recorded sources : - RTE CD183, Denis Murphy - "Music from Sliabh Luachra" (1995. Recorded in 1949. Appears as "Quarry Cross"). Topic 12T309, - Padraig O'Keefe, Denis Murphy & Julia Clifford - "Kerry Fiddles" (1977, although originally recorded in 1952. Appears as a two-part tune called "Tom Billy's Favourite").

See also listing at :
Alan Ng's [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index [2]

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  1. John Glatt, The Chieftains, 1997, p. 46.
  2. Sam Henry recorded: “Turfahun, in Gaelic, is Tir-fo-thon (t silent – pronounced exactly as the Townland is locally named). It means “the land under waves,” an apt description of Ireland as seen from the shores of the Scottish Highlands. The homesick Highlanders who settled in Antrim actually named a district near the Causeway, “Lochaber,” after their own homeland...Turfahun and district is very rich in traditional folk music...Mr John Elliot is one of several excellent traditional fiddlers in the district named."
  3. As is often the case in tune family cognates, the second strain of the tune contains more melodic divergance.
  4. See ITMA, Goodman ms. vol. 1, Nos. 196 & 257 [3]