Drumnagarry

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DRUMNAGARRY. AKA and see "Fisher's Rant (The)". Scottish, Strathspey. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BB. Fiddler John Strachan (1783-1874) was known by the sobriquet 'Drumnagarry' (sometimes 'Drumnagarrow'), taken from the village in which he lived, Drumnagarrow, Glebucket, Aberdeenshire. He had a regional reputation for his musical skill, and was the sometimes playing partner of Willie Blair. The title of the tune was originally "The Fisher's Rant", but came to be known as "Drumnagarry" after association with Strachan, whom J. Scott Skinner said "had a hand in its shaping." Skinner's manuscript copy of the tune [1] includes some notes and an attribution to James Hardie, and there is some interesting geneological information tracing the connection between the fiddling Hardie family of Scotland and Strachan. Skinner evidently credited Hardie for reworking Strachan's original melody.

The Aberdeen Journal of 1820 recorded a celebration in which Drumnagarry performed:

The Right Honourable the Earl of Fife, and suite, arrived at Glenbucket the 5th curt, on his way to Duff House. On Monday, his Lordship's numerous tenantry, hearing of their Noble and beloved Master being among them, assembled to the number of several hundreds, with all the bonny lasses of the glen, to make merry for the occasion. The weather being very fine a large barn and extensive tent were fitted up, and brilliantly illuminated for the occasion, replenished with plenty of bread and cheese, and mountain dew. At eight o'clock, a deputation of about a hundred handsome highlanders, accompanied by Drumnagarrow, and his soul inspiring band, waited on his Lordship, at the Manse, who most condescendingly walked to the ball-room, filled with beauty: - the surrounding mountains blazing with bon-fires - the rugged peak of Benew one sheet of flame.

See Glenbuchat Heritage Archive [2] for more on Drumnagarry.

The strathspey "Drumnagarry" has had some currency among modern traditional musicians in Donegal.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 74. Milne (Middleton’s Selection of Strathspeys, Reels &c. for the Violin), 1870; p. 5.

Recorded sources: Green Linnett GLCD 1137, Altan - "Island Angel" (1993. Learned from Tommy Peoples). GTD Heritage Trad. HCD 008, Tommy Peoples - "Traditional Irish Music Played on the Fiddle."

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [3].




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