Three years ago, I began hosting a session at Lillie’s, an “Irish Victorian” bar on 17th Street in New York City, named after the legendary actress and socialite Lillie Langtry. It’s a fantastic place and savage for tunes – nice atmosphere, a superb staff and curious patrons who always seem to show up for the music. It also draws great players, including the people featured on these tracks. This music isn’t the work of a band; rather, I asked a few friends I really like having tunes with to do a “thing” with me in the studio, just for the craic. The project’s title – Ochtapos – began as an English language joke cracked at my friend Scott Spencer’s dissertation defense, but it evolved into a malevolent, Irish language foil that has appeared in many of the humorous emails I send out promoting the session. These tracks are free to download – please have a listen and enjoy.
1. Jigs: Young Francis Mooney / Eddie Moloney’s / The Maid on the Green (3:18)
Daniel Neely (mandolin), Caitlin Finley (fiddle), Máirtín de Cógaín (bodhran), Dave Fahy (guitar), Ivan Goff (flute)
Named after Chief Francis O’Neill’s first-born grandson, Young Francis Mooney is a nice minor key jig that O’Neill included in two of his publications, Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies (1903) and Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems (1907). The touches in this particular recording come from the version Jerry O’Sullivan recorded with Seamus Connolly on Jerry’s album The Gift. It’s not a particularly common tune, although some have suggested it’s a variant of the fairly widespread “Lanigan’s Ball.” Eddie Moloney’s was among the tunes Patrick Ourceau gave the Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra when we were looking for tunes to put on our album Since Maggie Dooley Learned the Hooley Hooley. There are a few versions of this one floating around (and a few others also known as “Eddie Moloney’s”), but Patrick tells me he got this one off a private recording of Eddie Moloney himself playing it. Although the WSHSO didn’t end up recording it, I thought it fit well with Maid on the Green, the third tune here and the first on Mike Rafferty and Willie Kelly’s CD The New Broom (which is where I picked it up).
2. Reels: The Coachman’s Whip / Jack Roe’s / The Sandmount (3:46)
Daniel Neely (tenor banjo), Caitlin Finley (fiddle), Máirtín de Cógaín (bodhran), Dave Fahy (guitar), Martin O’Connell (box)
The first tune in this set is The Coachman’s Whip, a composition of the late Galway flute player Vincent Broderick, that Caitlin suggested we try – thanks to Ivan, who actually got it from Broderick, for making sure we had it right. The second is Jack Roe’s; I learned it from Tes Slominski, a wonderful fiddle player with a special affinity for Sliabh Luachra music. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a name for it, but Tom Dunne, a NYC-based fiddle and accordion player originally from Wexford, not only knew the title but could tell me that the tune’s source was Sean Maguire’s father, Johnny. The final tune in the set is The Sandmount, a tune with great drive that the Ballinakill Céilí Band recorded in 1938 and that Dublin’s infamous Castle Céilí Band was known for playing in the 1960s. I got it one day at Lillie’s from the Castle’s own James Keane, who confirmed the title with Castle co-founder Mick O’Connor.
Daniel Neely is the leader of the Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra. In addition to organizing this project and leading the Lillie’s session, he has worked extensively on several of NYC’s Irish Arts Center’s music projects and is the artistic director of the Augusta Irish/Celtic Week in Elkins, West Virginia.
Caitlin Finley is a fiddler from Philadelphia. She studied with Brendan Callahan and Brian Conway. Now living in New York, Caitlin has firmly established herself in Irish music circles around the city.
Máirtín de Cógáin is a singer, dancer, story-teller and bodhrán player from Cork (now in Minnesota) who tours with both his own eponymous Project and the Fuchsia Band, and moonlights as a playwright and actor with the Be Your Own Banana Theatre Company. More info at www.MairtinMusic.com
Dave Fahy is a singer and guitar player from Galway. A long time New York resident, he is one of the City’s finest backers and is a member of the well-known jig-punk band The Prodigals.
Ivan Goff is a flute player and uilleann piper from Dublin. He has performed with artists including Míchéal Ó Raghallaigh, Tony DeMarco, and Iarla Ó Lionáird, the bands Dervish, Danú, Téada, Lúnasa, and Thé Green Fields of America, and was a featured performer in Riverdance.
Martin O’Connell is an accordion player from Kerry now living in New York. He founded the award winning céilí band The Triogue in 2009, and has produced and directed a variety of stage shows in Ireland and internationally, including Rhythms of Ireland which has toured Australia and Europe.
Produced by Daniel T. Neely.
Recorded and mixed by Brian Forbes at The Gallery Recording Studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Mastered by Glenn Barratt at MorningStar Studios in East Norriton, Pennsylvania.
Art and Layout: Daniel Neely.
Dan’s playing a Campanella mandolin.
These recordings are (p) © 2012 Daniel T. Neely and are free to download, share and remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.