Lively Kate

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X:1 T:Lively Kate T:Bouncing Kate M:C L:1/8 R:Reel S:Rev. Luke Donnellan – “Oriel Songs and Dances", S:Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society (vol. II, No. 2, 1909; No. 25) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Emin F2|EBBA Bdef|deBd AdFD|EBBA Bdef|dBAF E2 Ed:| ebbb efge|fgaf bgaf|ebbb efge|dBAF E2 Ed| ebbb efge|fgaf bgaf|gafg efde|cBAF E2E2||



LIVELY KATE. AKA - "Bouncing Kate." Irish, Reel (whole or cut time). Ireland, County Armagh. E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The reel was apparently collected in the Slieve Gullion region of south County Armagh and is contained in the music manuscript collection held by Rev. Luke Donnellan (1878-1952), a rector at Dromintee, who published a collection of over 100 tunes, mostly reels, in 1909 in The Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society (vol. II, No. 2)[1].. Donnellan was enthusiastic about P.W. Joyce's then recently published Old Irish Music and Songs (1909), but found Irish music rather rare in his area.

The old people of Dromintee will tell you of the number and the skill of musicians who used to come to [nearby] Forkhill fair. I was told there used to be as many as thirty playing at it. They display an extensive knowledge of the names of songs and dance tunes, but cannot sing them. The reel known asBlack Haired Lass (2) (The)No. 66 inf., seems to have been a great favourite with everyone. These facts point to a vanishing and disappearing musical culture.

Forkhill Fair, held on Michaelmas Day (Sept. 29th) was once the great horse and cattle fair, and festival of the area (St. Michael is the patron saint of horsemen).

Donnellan may have thought the word 'Bouncing' in the title too suggestive, preferring to substitute 'Lively', however, the title "Bouncing Kate" also appears in a list of tunes in his repertoire brought by Philip Goodman, the last professional and traditional piper in Farney, Louth, to the Feis Ceoil in Belfast in 1898 (Breathnach, 1997).

Researchers Conor Ward and Fr. John Quinn link Donnellan's "Lively Kate" with "Mountain Lark (2) (The)," and "Mountain Lark (3) (The)", all ancestral to "Smiling Kattie."


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Rev. Luke Donnellan music manuscript collection [O'Connor].

Printed sources : - Donellan (Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, vol. II, No. 2), 1909; No. 25. Gerry O'Connor (The Rose in the Gap), 2018; No. 213, p. 108 (as "Bouncing Kate").






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  1. Donnellan researcher Gerry O'Connor came to believe the ms. is not the work of the curate but rather was originally compiled by an unknown but able fiddler over the course of a playing lifetime, probably in the late 19th century. The ms. later came into the possession of Donnellan, who was also a fiddler.
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