Merry Sisters (The)
X:1 T:Merry Sisters, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel S:O'Neill - Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems (1907), No. 535 Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Edor B>E (3FED BdcA|B>E (3FED dAFA|B>E (3FED BdcA|1 d>D (3DDD ADFA:|2 dfec dAFA|| Beec d2 cA|Beec dAFA|Beec d2 cA|BABc dAFA| Beec e2 cA|Beec defg|(3agf (3gfe fdec|BABc dAFA|| BdcA BFAF|B>E (3EEE BEFA|BdcA BFAF|d>D (3DDD ADFA| BdcA BFAF|B>E (3EEE BEFA|DFAc d2 eg|fdec dAFA||
MERRY SISTERS, THE (Na Deirbsiuiraca Sugaca). AKA and see "Cross Road (1)," "Margret O'Donnell's," "Miltown Maid (1) (The)," "Mill Town Maid." Irish, Reel. Ireland, Counties Sligo, Donegal. A Dorian (Brody): E Dorian (Flaherty, O'Neill). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABC (Brody): AA'BC (Flaherty): AA'BC (O'Neill/1001): AA'BCC' (O'Neill/Krassen). A popular reel in County Donegal. An early recording of the melody was by Frank O'Higgins (1891-1975), a fiddler from Glenamona, Kilskeer, County Meath, in Dublin in 1937 who paired it with "Dogs Among the Bushes (The)" and "Kitty Gone a Milking," still a widely imitated pairing (Donegal fiddler John Doherty, for example, played the medley). Paddy Ryan, writing in Treoir, says O'Higgins "was a highly esteemed figure in traditional music circles in and around Dublin. He also taught the fiddle for many years and, among his star pupils was Larry Redican, who was prominent in New York traditional music circles during his lifetime there." The reel was also in the repertoire of uilleann piper Séamus Ennis, who also may have learned it from O'Higgins, as his father, James Ennies played with O'Higgins in The Fingal Trio.
Canon James Goodman (musicologis) (1828-1896) included a tune called "Traveller (3) (The)" in Book 1 (p. 38) of his large mid-19th century music manuscript collection that is a very distanced version of the "Merry Sisters" tune family. Compare the second strain with that of "Shepherd's Daughter (1) (The)." Altan's "Three Merry Sisters of Fate (The)" is perhaps distantly related.