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The enchanted fiddle music of Donegal. A remarkable documentary recording of a very unique character and performer. Neil believed that he learned his style of melodic embellishment from the "wee folk", and describes the occasion when this happened. As well as demonstrating a variety of styles of fiddle music, including his "fairy" music, and some samples of "keening" for the dead, Neily gives an "Account of the Present State of Irish Music", with particular reference to today's "Pop" or what he calls "Jungle Music".

1. Talking about Irish Music - 7'19"

2. TIGHEARNA MHUIGHEO (The Lord of Mayo) (talk/ song-tune on fiddle) - 4'54"

3. PLEOID AR AN FHARRAIGE (A Plague on the Sea) (talk/ song-tune) - 1'59"

4. THE RIVER ROE (talk/ song-tune) - 2'34"

5. CAILIN DEAS CRUIDHTE NA MBO (The pretty girl milking her cow) (talk/ song- tune) - 2'06"

6. MISS Mc LEOD'S REEL (talk before about embellishments) - 2'43"

7. THE HARVEST HOME (talk before about exercises, wireless & gramophone) - 2'51"

8. THE MOVING CLOUDS (reel comp 1942) (talk before) - 3'22"

9. THE PIGEON ON THE GATE (talk before about "chording" & IRA soldier) - 6'00"

10. SEAN SA CHEO (John in the Mist) (talk before about pipe-tune) - 2'49"

11. FAREWELL TO THE GREEN HILLS (talk before about bagpipes being inferior to the fiddle & sadness of emigrants leaving home) - 3'47"

12. THE SONG OF THE BOXTY (Potato bread) (talk before) song in Gaelic - 2'00"

13. RATHAD NA MBURCACH (Burke's Street) (talk/ verse of a poteen song in Gaelic/ tune on fiddle) - 1'47"

14. THE LOUGHANURE TUNE (talk before about man crying over his wife's grave, with his two sons away in Scotland and how two boys hear his song and make a dance-lilt out of his sadness/ sings song/ lilts tune/ fiddle) - 2'45"

15. CAOINEAD (KEENING) SONG (talk/ imitation of women's moan/ fiddle) - 2'59"

16. THE BLACKBIRD (talk about song air/ tune incl bird imitations) - 4'06"

Recorded by Peter Kennedy, Dunloe, Co Donegal 23rd August 1953. Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published on Folktrax Cassettes 1977.

NEIL BOYLE (1889-1961) was born 26th. November, 1889 to Paddy Boyle and Nancy Sweeney at Easton, Pennsylvania. He died at Dungloe on the 8th. August, 1961

It was another family of Donegal fiddlers, the Doherty's, who insisted that Peter Kennedy should do everything possible to make a recording of "Neily" because of his quite exceptional style. In the first place, he had learned much from his grandfather, the famous Padraig Mc Sweeney; secondly, because he claimed to have learned from "the little people", and thirdly, John, Michael and Simie Doherty told us that he had written a number of his own compositions, which were now very much sought after by other fiddlers but jealously guarded by Neily himself.

Although he had previously made a number of 78 rpm records for Regal Zonophone and many broadcasts, in the first place Neily refused to record his fiddle-playing. However he finally agreed to talk to the tape-recorder about "The Present State of Irish Music", and learning from the "wee folk", and, in so doing, started to illustrate his talk on the fiddle. In this way Peter succeeded in making this remarkable recording. Because the house had no road access, Peter needed to use nearly half a mile of microphone cable in order to operate his tape machine from the car batteries, using the car horn as a signal. On playback, Neil was pleased with the result and finally gave his permission for publication, assigning his arrangements and recording rights to Folktrax.

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