Hewlett

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HEWLETT. AKA and see "Fine Toast to Hewlett," "Hulet's Health," "Planxty Hewlett," "Sláinte bhreagh Hiúlit." Irish, Air (3/8 or 3/4 time). D Major (Barnes, Brody, Johnson, Spadaro): A Major (Complete Collection ..., O'Sullivan). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Complete Collection..., O'Sullivan): AAB (Barnes, Brody, Mallinson, Tubridy): AA'B (Ó Canainn): AABB (Johnson). This "lively bacchanalian composition" (read: 'bawdy drinking song') is generally credited to Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670–1738), who lost his sight at the age of 18 from smallpox. By the age of 21 he had been trained as an itinerant musician, and set off with a guide and two horses to make his way in the world. Donal O'Sulivan (1958) says that there are no attributions of air or words to O'Carolan, "but both are so characteristic that there is little doubt that it was composed by him." The melody is called "Hulet's Health" ("Sláinte bhreagh Hiúlit," or 'a toast to Hulet') in Edward Bunting's 1809 collection of Irish tunes (set in E Flat Major), where the melody first appears as a toast to Mr. Hulet/Hewlett and his hospitality. Bunting, however, did not state from whom he obtained the air. Bunting gave no source for the piece but collected some stanzas of lyric supposedly set to the tune from Blind Billy O'Malley of Louisborough, County Mayo:

Turlough O'Carolan

Sláinte bhreagh Hiúlit sgaoil chughain é gan mhaill,
'S ná cásaigidh dúbuilte lionn, "punch" is meadhar.
Mar bhíos plátaí 'gus púntaíag an u/r-fhlaith le raint
Ins a' tráth nach mbíonn diúrna i m-éan-chumann a mbíonn _sign_.
Imirt is ól fíona, céol píoba, _viol_ is cruit,
Cúilfhionn na n-ór-dhlaoi i sco/mra dhá saigheadh aige,
Óir is é siúd _delight_ an fhir mheidhrigh gan brón
Bheith páirteach le maighdean fá_mhoidore nó dhó.

The subject, Hewlett, has not been identified. O'Sullivan (Carolan: Life and Times) prints the tune in A Major, though D is generally the key favored in modern times. In New England and elsewhere it is sometimes played as a waltz at contra dances.

Source for notated version: Chieftains (Ireland) [Brody].

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 38 (appears as "Enchanted Place", the name of a dance by Antony Heywood set to the tune). Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 133. Bunting (Ancient Music of Ireland), 1809; p. 7. Complete Collection of Carolan's Irish Tunes, 1984; No. 56, p. 54. S. Johnson (Kitchen Musician No. 1: Waltz, Air and Misc), 1991; p. 5. S. Johnson (Kitchen Musician No. 3: Carolan), 1983 (revised 1991, 2001); p. 3. Mallinson (100 Enduring), 1995; No. 93, p. 39. Matthiesen (The Waltz Book), 1992; p. 28. Ó Canainn (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 101, p. 86 (appears as "Planxty Hewlett"). O'Sullivan (Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper), 1958; No. 56. Spadaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; p. 21. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 2), 1999; p. 44. Vallely (Learn to Play the Tin Whistle with Armagh Pipers Club, vol. 3), 1978; no. 29, p. 16 (as "Fine Toast to Hewlett").

Recorded sources: Claddagh CC14, Chieftains – "Chieftains 4" (1973). North Star NS00331, "Dance Across the Sea: Dances and Airs from the Celtic Highlands" (1990). Shanachie 79010, Planxty – "The Well Below the Valley." Shanachie 79024, "Chieftains 4" (1983). Shanachie 97011, Dave Evans – "Irish Reels, Jigs, Airs and Hornpipes" (1990). Wild Asparagus 002, Wild Asparagus – "Music from a Little Known Planet." Maureen Brennan – "To Bend the Knotted Oak."

See also listings at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [2]




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