Pandai that Saved My Life (The)

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PANDAI THAT SAVED MY LIFE, THE. Irish. Ireland, County Donegal. The tune was named by fiddler John Doherty after a harrowing experience at the hands of the British ‘Black and Tans’ who were on the lookout in Donegal for saboteurs who would demolish the small bridges used by the forces on their patrols. These saboteurs were known as ‘bridge knockers.’ Doherty was a traveling tinsmith and carried his tools with him in a pack, and one night and Doherty crossed a small bridge into the townland of Eadainfagh he was overtaken by a truckload of the dreaded troops. Mistaking his pack for the implements of sabatogue the troops were about to shoot him, and Doherty had to think fast. Protesting he was but a fiddler and peddler, Doherty showed him his tools and the soldiers insisted that they would only believe him if he made something for them on the spot. The tinker had a scrap of tin left in his bag and nervously fashioned a pandai (a milk jug or creamer) out ot it, and he was subsequently released unharmed. He hurried down the road into the nearest house, where in relief he sat and played the whole night, playing several unfamiliar tunes, one of which he dubbed “The Pandai that Saved My Life.”

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