Eventually I’d like to gather all my tunes and produce a book, but in the meantime there’s no point in leaving them to languish in a dark, dusty corner. I’ve got quite a mixture, from standard traditional-style tunes to more the more unusual! I’ll post a new tune each month (occasionally with an audio track too) and would be delighted if you would like to play them. All I ask is that you acknowledge me through the usual PRS channels if you use them commercially.
I love Scandinavian music, even though I haven’t really learned to play it in the right accent…yet…and when we kept pigs one summer, a polska for the piglets seemed to be fitting.
The piglets were called Bubble and Squeak, and in one sense they were a bit of an experiment – if I couldn’t face the thought of eating them then I ought to be a vegetarian. They grew into big pigs who liked nothing better than to lean against you for a good scratch, and they tasted fantastic!
If you have the means of playing more than one note at once, then play lots of drones alongside the tune.
Here it is (click on the name and then again on the page that comes up – still trying to fix this anomaly!) Piglet Polska
It’s back! Having been hijacked by the Scots Music Group’s new Inspire 2 project and various other activities, I’ve finally managed to get my act together.
I wrote this month’s tune for my good friend and fabulous harp player Anne Postic, who I’ve known since we met during a Scots-Breton exchange in the 1990s. The tune was a wedding present, and a group of us were delighted to be able to play it to her and her husband Ludo at their wedding reception. It’s a medium-speed jig.
Lady Jane of Cook County (pdf file)
This tune is named for my great, great grandmother Jane Northcott who, after an eventful life in England, emigrated to Cook County, Illinois in her mid-sixties. She had an illegitimate son (my ancestor Charles) with a local Somerset lawyer, then married, moved to London and had five more children (including twins who died in their first year) before her husband died aged 32. I’ve named her Lady Jane, and although we can’t know what kind of people our ancestors were, I imagine her as having great courage and have written her a gritty kind of tune.
She emigrated to live with her three sons in Town of Lake, Cook County (now part of Chicago). Two of her three sons (William and Arthur Mitchell) worked in the very early car industry – they appear on the 1900 census as “car repairers”. If anyone knows any of their ancestors, do get in touch!
In honour of the forthcoming trip to Spain with folk from the Scots Music Group, this month’s tune is Red Snapper, which is in the style of a Spanish muneira (jig). There seem to be two different spellings of “muneira” (muneira/muinera) out there…does anyone know which is correct? Perhaps “muinera” has the “i” before the “n” to compensate for the lack of a “~” above the “n” on non-Spanish keyboards.
Anyway, enough of that, here’s the tune! Red Snapper
Hugh Finlay’s Legacy is the final tune in a suite commissioned by the Celts in the Cotswolds Festival. The tune was deliberately left unnamed, and the right to name it was auctioned at the festival. The festival was run by the irrepressible Keith & Sue Finlay, and the tune was named by Keith’s brother Ian in honour of their father, who had first encouraged Keith to learn the fiddle. I play it as a reel for dancing.
For a pdf file of the tune, click hugh finlays legacy