Saturday, March 17, 2018

Patrick's of the Trade: Uilleann Calendar

Let's use this fine St. Patrick's Day for a necessary tribute to a recently-departed master.
On Wednesday, we lost the acknowledged master of one of the musical instruments of our world.
It just so happens that the instrument in question happens to be sort of the unofficial official instrument of our honoree's native country.
See, there was never, isn't and will likely never be a more adept manipulator of the uilleann pipes of Ireland than our hero, Liam O'Flynn.
He's been on a billion records from Mike Oldfield to Kate Bush to Van Morrison, but it's from his membership in one of the most beloved ensembles in the annals of Irish music that most people know his name. 
This group began in 1972 as kind of a Irish Folk supergroup, and has endured with on-and-off records and tours ever since.
Today's share in tribute to his magnificent career concerns this group -- I blogged them once before -- and was captured at the dawn of their run for Irish Television back in the day.
It's a PAL DVD of a 2011 rebroadcast. It looks and sounds great and features Liam -- looking hilariously out of place like a college music professor amongst the hippies in the band -- crushing away on the pipes and several tin whistles.
National Stadium
Dublin, Ireland
Summer 1972

01 programme intro
02 Three Drunken Maidens/tune
03 tune/When First Into this Country
04 Sweet Thames Flow Softly
05 The Gold Ring 
06 Kitty Gone a-Milking/The Merry Blacksmith
07 Only Our Rivers Run Free
08 Raggle Taggle Gypsy/Tabhair Dom do Lámh
09 Three Drunken Maidens (reprise)

Total time: 25:19

Christy Moore - vocals, guitar
Liam O’Flynn - uilleann pipes, tin whistle
Andy Irvine - mandolin, harmonica
Dónal Lunny - bouzouki, vocals

B&W PAL DVD of a 2011 RTE broadcast
I had been meaning to put this up anyway for today's holiday, so I felt it was simple and appropriate to repurpose it to honor this exemplary Maestro of the uilleann pipes.
I shall return soon with more, but for now I encourage you to pull down this great clip of Planxty and make your St. Patty's experience just a wee bit more authentic. As you do, remember the musicians like Liam O'Flynn, who passed this week at 72, but whose immeasurable and unique contributions help make what good is left of our spiraling world what it is.--J.
4.15.1945 - 3.14.2018