Maid of Mount Kisco (The)

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MAID OF MOUNT KISCO (Gearrchaile Shliabh Cisco). Irish, Reel. A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABCC (Harker/Rafferty, Tubridy): AA'BCC: AA'BCC' (O'Malley): AA'BB'CC' (Alewine).

Paddy Killoran (1904-1965)

County Sligo fiddler Paddy Killoran [1] was, according to renowned Galway and New York flute player Jack Coen (who knew him well), the composer of the popular session tune "The Maid of Mt. Kisco" (info from Don Meade). Button accordionist Jim Coogan, who knew both parties, related that Killoran named the tune for his friend Ann Mulligan of Mt. Kisco, a suburban town of approximately 10,000 souls in Westchester County, north of New York City. Other stories about the tune's name and origin abound but can probably be regarded as apocryphal.

Killoran recorded "The Maid" for Decca Records in 1937, the earliest found instance of a sound recording of the melody. Philippe Varlet finds subsequent versions by another Decca Irish artist, Joe Maguire (1945), Leo Rowsome (London, 1947), and the Kincora Céilí Band, led by Kathleen Harrington (Dublin, 1952). Two relatively early versions can be found by older groups on the RTE compilation video "Come West Along The Road". The title is sometimes irritatingly misspelled "Mt. Cisco" perhaps from its appearance in Brendan Breathnach's Ceol Rince na hÉireann, in which Kisco is spelled Cisco because in the Irish language there is no letter 'K'. In Ireland the name is pronounced like that of the "Cisco Kid," although name of the Westchester town in pronounced with a hard 'K'. The earliest printed version appears to be from button-accordion player Jerry O'Brien's collection published in Boston around the year 1950.

The note that accompanies Leo Rowsome's recording at the Internet Archive [2] gives: "Killoran played it very much as a fiddler might, with a prominent bowed triplet in the first bar; flute players and pipers like Leo very quickly substituted more standard rolls, and a different rhythmic emphasis, resulting in the setting you hear here" (Rowsome's recording can be heard on the link below).


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - piper Mattthew Tiernan/Maitiu Mac Tighearnain (Ireland) [Breathnach]; piper Willie Clancy (1918-1973, Miltown Malbay, west Clare) [Mitchell]; New York fiddler John McGrath (1900-1955, originally from County Mayo) [O'Malley]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].

Printed sources : - Alewine (Maid that Cut Off the Chicken's Lips), 1987; p. 23 (appears as "Maid of Mt. Cisco"). Breathnach (CRÉ I), 1963; No. 118, p. 49. Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 88, p. 28. Lyth (Bowing Styles in Irish Fiddle Playing, vol. 1), 1981; 64. Mitchell (Dance Music of Willie Clancy), 1993; No. 93, p. 82. O'Malley (Luke O'Malley's Collection of Irish Music, vol. 1), 1976; No. 57, p. 29. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, Book Two), 1999; p. 21.

Recorded sources : - Cló Iar Chonnachta CICD 165, John Wynne & John McEvoy - "Pride of the West" (2007). Coleman Heritage Center CHC 007, Paddy Killoran, James Morrison - "From Ballymote to Brooklyn" (2002). Decca 62130-A (78 RPM), Paddy Killoran (1937). Decca W5245 (78 RPM), Leo Rowsome (1948). Shanachie 79095, Arcady - "Many Happy Returns" (1995). Tommy Keane - "The Piper's Apron." Michael McGoldrick - "Morning Rory." Tara CD4011, Frankie Gavin - "Fierce Traditional" (2001). Topic TSCD 602, Kincora Ceilidhe Band - "Irish Dance Music" (1995. A reissue of the original 1945 recording, where it appears as "Maid of Mt. Kisko"). Topic TSDL1502, Bernard O'Sullivan & Tommy McMahon - "Clare Concertinas" (originally recorded 1975).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [3]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [4]
Hear flute player Packie Duignan's solo recording at the Comhaltas Archive [5]
Hear concertina player Mrs. Elizabeth Crotty c. 1955 play the tune at the Comhaltas Archive [6]
Hear the Kincora Céilí Band play the tune at the Comhaltas Archive [7] (2nd tune in medley with "Carrickcastle Lassies" and "St. Ruth's Bush")
Hear piper Leo Rowsome's 1948 recording at the Internet Archive [8] (followed by "Yellow Tinker (The)").
See/hear fiddler Tommy Peoples play the tune on youtube.com [9]



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