Trowie Burn (Da)

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X:1 % T:Trowie Burn, Da S:John Stickle (1875-1957, Lerwick) M:2/4 L:1/8 Q:"Slow and expressive" N:Q=64 B:Pat Shuldham Shaw - "A Shetland Fiddler and His Repertoire: John Stickle 1875-1957" B:Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, vol. 9, No. 3, Dec. 1962, p. 141. Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G (3G-GA (3Bed|(3BAG (3A-Ac|{Bc}BA AG/A/|{Bc}(3B-BA G<E| (3G-GA (3Bed|(3BAG (3Bcd|eE {Bc}(3B-BA |G<E E2:| (3g-ga (3baf|\ M:3/4 L:1/8 (3g-gd B<G (3A-Ac|\ M:2/4 L:1/8 {Bc}BA AG/A/|{Bc}(2B-BA G<E| (3g-ga (3baf|\ M:3/4 L:1/8 {gf}(3g-gd B<G (3Bcd|\ M:2/4 L:1/8 EE {Bc}(3B-BA|G<E E2| (3g-ga (3baf|\ M:3/4 L:1/8 (3g-gd B<G (3A-Ac|\ M:2/4 L:1/8 {Bc}BA AG/A/|{Bc}(3B-BA G<E| (3G-GA (3Bed|(3BAG (3Bcd|eE {Bc}(3B-BA|G<E E2||



TROWIE BURN, DA. AKA - "Steerin’ Sooans." Shetland, Slow Air (2/4, 3/4). E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Trowie Burn is a small stream in the Parish of Tingwall, having its source on the Hill near Loch of the Muirs, and runs north east until it enters Burn of Fitch. "This beautiful air is attributed to Friedemann Stickle, the legendary Unst fiddler. The 'Trows' are Shetland's Faeries or little folk. 'Dey come oot in mass aboot da end of November and go back again aboot da fower an' twentyith night, what dey ca' Up-Helly-A'. From a tape recording of the late Fraser Hughson of Aith" [1]. The collector Pat Shuldham-Shaw had the tune from Friedemann's grandson, John Stickle, in 1947. His great-grandfather, also named Friedemann, was a seaman for the German Merchant Marine who was shipwrecked off the Shetlands and stayed after he was rescued. Local lore has it that the elder Freidamann, a fiddler, either played so constantly or was so disliked that the rest of his crew, fed up, threw him overboard. Some feel there is a similarity with the English song “Lyke-Wake Dirge.” Shuldham-Shaw also heard the tune played in Lerwick, Shetland, by a young fiddler who called the tune “Steerin’ Sooans" (Stirring Sowens) and maintained it had been composed by someone other than Friedemann, an assertion vehemently denied by the Stickles, who said the ‘Auld Freddie’ used to play it sometimes when his wife was preparing sowens (known also as flummery in England), a dish made from the husks of oats. Not only did ‘Auld Freddie’ compose it, maintained John Stickle, but “Da Trowie Burn” was the original name [2].

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Anderson (Ringing Strings), 1983; p. 49. Pat Shuldham Shaw ("A Shetland Fiddler and His Repertoire: John Stickle 1875-1957", Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society), vol. 9, No. 3, Dec. 1962; p. 141.

Recorded sources: - Blix Street Records G2-10033, Boys of the Lough - "Midwinter Night's Dream" (1996). Compass Records, The String Sisters - "Live" (2009). Great Meadow Music GMM 2003, “Rodney Miller’s Airdance” (2000). Philo 1031, Boys of the Lough – “Lochaber No More.” Topic 12TS442, Brass Monkey - "See How it Runs" (1986). Whistler’s Music, Sarah Bauhan – “Chasing the New Moon” (1991). Barde - "Barde."



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  1. Anderson, Ringing Strings, 1983)
  2. Pat Shuldham Shaw, "A Shetland Fiddler and His Repertoire: John Stickle 1875-1957", Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, vol. 9, No. 3, Dec. 1962, p. 141