King of the Pipers (1)

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KING OF THE PIPERS [1] ("Rig na Piobairide" or "Rí na bPíobairí"). AKA and see "Farting Badger (The)," "Kilraine Jig (The)," "McSweeney's Jig." Irish, Double Jig. D Major/Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABCC' (Breathnach): AABBCCDD (Alewine, Brody, Carlin, Feldman & O'Doherty/Doherty): AABBCCDDE (O'Neill): AABBCCDDEE (Taylor): AABBCCDDEEFF (Feldman & O'Doherty/Byrne). There are a number of versions of this popular jig. Francis O'Neill (Irish Folk Music) says that the multi-part tune "created a sensation" when introduced to Chicago traditional musicians and dancers ("who had never heard" it before) by the elderly fiddler Edward Cronin, originally from Limerick Junction, County Tipperary (born in the early 1840's). O'Neill thought it "quite probable" that the melody had originally been a clan march. "King of the Pipers" is a common tune in County Donegal, where two different versions are played (see also "King of the Pipers (2)). Seán Keane was of the opinion the melody had a Donegal provenance and said it was associated with the Order of the Knights of St. Patrick. Caoimhin Mac Aoidh (1994) states that the tunes "clearly have piping origins" and remarks on the melody/drone rendition of the piece by Teelin, Donegal, fiddlers Francie Dearg Byrne and Mickey Ban Byrne--a style imitative of the pipes. Feldman & O'Doherty (1979) believe the brothers probably obtained their version from piper Mickey Gallagher, a traveling cousin of famous Donegal fiddler John Doherty's. Alternate titles from the north are "Kilraine Jig (The)," named after a townland outside Glenties in the central mountain district of County Donegal, "McSweeney's Jig," named for the famous Donegal uilleann piper and fiddler Tarlach McSweeney, and "Farting Badger (The)." Caoimhin Mac Aoidh maintains that the "King of the Pipers" title references McSweeney, although because of McSweeney's fame a number of tunes he played were simply titled "King of the Pipers." "Farting Badger (The)" title, Mac Aoidh indicates, was specific to the Teelin region of County Donegal (which he says had an abundance of good fiddlers in the 1920-30s).

Source for notated version: Chicago/County Tipperary fiddler Edward Cronin [O'Neill]; fiddler Sean Keane (Ireland) [Brody]: fiddler John Doherty, 1966 (1895-1980, Co. Donegal, Ireland) [Breathnach, Feldman & O'Doherty]; fiddlers Francie and Mickey Byrne (County Donegal) [Feldman & O'Doherty]; set dance music recorded live at Na Píobairí Uilleann, mid-1980's [Taylor].

Printed sources: Alewine (Maid that Cut Off the Chicken's Lips), 1987; p. 22. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 159. Carlin (Master Collection), 1984; No. 234, p. 136. Feldman & O'Doherty (Northern Fiddler), 1979; p. 57 & p. 177. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 702, p. 130. Taylor (Music for the Sets: Yellow Book), 1995; p. 26.

Recorded sources: Claddagh Records CC17, Seán Keane - "Gusty's Frolics" (1975). Drumlin Records BMNCD2, Brian McNamara - "Fort of the Jewels" (2004). Gael-Linn 068, Seamus Glackin- "An Fhidil." Green Linnett, "Mick Moloney." Green Linnett GLCD 1117, Altan - "Harvest Storm" (1992. A five-part version learned "many years ago on a visit to the house of the late Mickey and Francie Byrne of Kilcar, Co. Donegal"). GTD Heritage Trad. HCD 008, Tommy Peoples - "Traditional Irish Music Played on the Fiddle." Holla Records HRCD001, Peter & Angela Carberry - "Memories from the Holla" (2001).

See also listings at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [2]
Hear the tune played by Francie O'Beirn, Mickey O'Beirn and Ciaran MacMathuna at the Comhaltas Archive [3]




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