Heather Breeze (1)
X:1 T:Untitled Reel T:Heather Breeze  M:C L:1/8 R:Reel S:Stephen Grier music manuscript collection (c. 1883, No. 272) N:Grier was a musician from Gortletteragh, Co. Leitrim N:Communicated by Conor Ward Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G F|DGBG dGBG|FGAB cFAF|DGBG cGBG|cAFA AG G:|| f|g2 ag/f/ gbag|f2 gf/e/ fagf|g2 ag/f/ gbag|fdcA AG G2| g2 ag/f/ gbag|f2 gf/e/ fagf|bgaf gbag|fdcA AG G2||
HEATHER BREEZE , THE ("Leoithne an Fhraoigh" or "Feoitne Fraoc"). AKA and see "Blind Fiddlers (The)," "Coppers and Brass (1)," "Coppers of Brass (1)," "Crossing the Field," "Dublin Lasses (1)," "Fitzmaurice's Flight," "Heather Bloom (The)," "Heathery Breeze (The)," "Heathery Braes of Ballyhealy (The)," "Humors of Appletown (The)," "Ladies Pantalettes," "Ladys Pantaloos," "Lady's Pantaloonns," "Limerick Lasses (1)," "McNamara's Reel." Irish, Scottish; Reel. G Major (most versions): G Major/Mixolydian (Kerr). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Allan's, Flaherty, Feldman & O'Doherty, Harker/Rafferty, O'Malley, Tubridy): AABB (Russell): ABC (Breathnach, O'Neill): AA'BCC'DD' (Kerr). The title "Heather Breeze" is thought to be a corruption of "Heathery Braes"--the Gaelic word brae referring to the slopes of a hillside. Doolin, north County Clare, tin whistle player Micho Russell (1989) thought a 'heathery breeze' was some kind of fairy wind, an isolated but strong gust which "roots up the grasses out of the ground," and offered the folklore vegetables grew better in the soil where heather grows and that it is also a good place to find a shamrock.
P.W. Joyce collected the tune (which appears identified only as "an old reel" in his Old Irish Folk Music and Songs, 1909) in Kilkenny in the mid-19th century. Brendan Breathnach found the melody in Co. Monaghan as "Coppers of Brass (1)," "Heather Bloom (The)" and "Heathery Braes (The)." "Coppers and Brass (1)" was a Tipperary and Kerry title and "Heathery Braes of Ballyhealy (The)" was collected in Leitrim from the Alex Sutherland MS (c. 1900) of Toome, Carrigallen, Co. Leitrim ( entitled "The Heathery Brays of Ballyheady"--Breathnach may have corrected the title, notes researcher Conor Ward. Ward also finds that Sutherland entered another version of the melody in his ms. as "Coppers and Brass (1)"). The melody appears as untitled reels in the c. 1883 music manuscript collection of musician Stephen Grier (Gortletteragh, County Leitrim), and in Feldman & O'Doherty's Northern Fiddler (1979, p. 76), transcribed from the playing of Donegal fiddler John Doherty. Breathnach (1976) concluded O'Neill's "Crossing the Field," in Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody, was a related tune. O'Neill's three-part version of the tune in his Dance Music of Ireland (1907) adds a part to the tune usually played in two parts, while the setting in Kerr's runs to five parts, although some of those are close variants of one another. See also the related but untitled "Reel (101)" from County Leitrim musician Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894).
The reel was popular in the early 20th century and was recorded several times in the 78 RPM era by, for example, "Blind Fiddlers (The)" in March, 1928, by the Hyde Brothers, and by Packie Dolan and his Melody Boys as "Fitzmaurice's Flight."