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Oíche Cois Tine – Two Nights Beside The Fire: A Window Into The Rich Literary World of Dr. Douglas Hyde, and A Musical Voyage to Irish Newfoundland

PORTAL_CEILIDuring the 1980s the Philadelphia Ceili Group hosted a cultural evenings series under the title “Oíche Cois Tine”, Gaelic for “Night Beside the Fire”. These events celebrated a wide range of Irish culture: music and dance performances by prominent Irish and Irish-American artists, demonstrations of uniquely Irish musical instruments such as the uilleann pipes, and lectures on topics such as Irish literature, history, travel, and the Irish-American experience. This week we added two new recordings of academic lectures from this series to the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection of Villanova University’s Digital Library. These items, freely available for streaming and download, highlight the amazing breadth of materials on Irish history and culture present in the Ceili Group collection and augment in sound the huge array of Irish textual and visual materials in other areas of the Digital Library.

“Irish Songs and Singers of Newfoundland”, 1982.

This lecture from the Spring of 1982 features the renowned folklorist and scholar Dr. Kenneth Goldstein, presenting on his adventures visiting with musicians and archiving Irish folk music in Newfoundland, Canada. Kenny Goldstein was a hugely influential figure in Irish folk music, having collected and published thousands of folksongs across several continents. He was also instrumental to the success of the Philadelphia Ceili Group’s activities in past decades, as attested to in this tribute to him from the 1996 Festival Program.

If you want to hear some incredible stories and some unique takes on some well-known Irish tunes, have a listen to Dr. Goldstein’s fascinating exploration of the music of a lesser-known corner of the Irish diaspora.

“The Importance of Douglas Hyde to the Irish Literary Renaissance”, March 12, 1982.

This lecture from 1982 features an extended discussion by the late Dr. Lester I. Conner, a Professor of English at Chestnut Hill
College from 1962-1990, on the unique contributions of Douglas Hyde to the Gaelic revival of the late-nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. His contributions, according to Dr. Conner, to the reestablishment of the Irish language as a living tongue,
the formation of a de-anglicized Irish identity, Irish nationalism, and especially the Irish literary renaissance, cannot be overestimated. Dr. Conner illuminates the literary world of Douglas Hyde with spark and enthusiasm, and brings to life the voices of famous contemporaries such as Lady Gregory and W. B. Yeats in an engaging presentation packed with quotes and anecdotes.

This new addition to the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection is also a perfect entry point to the study of Dr. Hyde’s influence in the scores of primary documents available throughout the Digital Library. If you’re interested in exploring further, try this list of documents concerning Douglas Hyde.

 

Stay tuned for more links to recordings from the Oíche Cois Tine series!


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New PCG Set by Irish Music Pioneers Michael Tubridy and James Keane

PORTAL_CEILI1For aficionados and scholars of Irish traditional music, and all who’d like to know more or just take a moment to enjoy some incredible music, here is the latest set to be included in the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection of the Digital Library at Falvey Memorial Library, Villanova University:

“Michael Tubridy and James Keane”, October 12, 2013.

This is a two hour performance put on at the Irish Center at the Commodore Barry Club in Philadelphia, on October 12, 2013, by Michael Tubridy (flute) and James Keane (button accordion), two pioneers of 20th century Irish traditional music. Having played together and apart for decades in several of the most influential groups in Irish music, including The Castle Ceili Band, Fingal, and The Chieftains, Tubridy and Keane rejoined each other after 50 years to enjoy some tunes and reminisce about the early days of the Irish traditional music renaissance of the 1960’s and ’70’s.

This humorous introduction by Michael Tubridy to the tune “McKenna’s Reel” (aka “Lucky in Love”) is a perfect entry point:

10 The Humours Of Ballyconnell – The Sailor on the Rock – Lucky in Love (McKenna’s Reel)

Enjoy!


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Sean-nós singing in the Digital Library

Philadelphia Ceili GroupSean-nós (Irish for “the old way”) is a traditional style of unaccompanied singing native to Ireland. The Philadelphia Ceili Group audio collection in the Villanova University Digital Library contains a wealth of information and beautifully performed examples of this interesting and unique element of Irish culture.

Here is an introductory explanation of the craft by Irish musician and musicologist Mick Moloney, from an Irish Songs Workshop at the 3rd Annual Irish Traditional Music, Song and Dance Festival, held in Philadelphia in September 1977:

http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:305692

Mick Moloney, Johnny Moynihan, and Andy O’Brien are just a few of the prominent Irish artists who can be heard on recordings in the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection singing songs in the Sean-nós style. Try searching the Digital Library by subject on the term Sean-nós, and you will find a wealth of significant tracks available for streaming.

For a real treat, check out this incredible concert-length performance by traditional Irish singer Paddy Phelan, recorded at an event sponsored by the Philadelphia Ceili Group on March 6, 1992:

http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:347704

Enjoy!


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New Ceili Group Collection: Uilleann Pipes Workshop

The uilleann pipes are an incredible piece of Irish heritage. This unique wind instrument, a close cousin of the Scottish bagpipes but powered by a bellows rather than the breath, makes a distinctive and awesome sound that to many is the essence of Irish music. The uilleann pipes also have colored the fabric of Irish-American cultural history, as the modern pipes were developed here in southeast PA in the late nineteenth century by Irish immigrants the Taylor brothers. pipes

The Philadelphia Ceili Group archive contains some incredible recordings of modern-day pipers explaining the history, technique and construction of the instrument and playing traditional piping tunes. Check out expert pipers Tim Britton and Al Purcell as they entertain and educate in this new digital library collection:

Uilleann Pipes Workshop, recorded live in Philadelphia at the 1979 Philadelphia Ceili Group Music and Dance Festival.

Enjoy!


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Irish Cultural Series Lecture Events in the Digital Library

In addition to the hours and hours of great Irish traditional music recordings in the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection, it has recently become apparent that PORTAL_CEILIthe collection also includes some incredibly compelling audio documents of cultural lecture events from years past by top scholars in Irish Studies. Check out these recordings from 1979 events sponsored by the Ceili Group:

 

 

“The Irish in Philadelphia”, a lecture by Dr. Dennis J. Clark.

 

“Passing the Time in Ballymenone”, a lecture by Dr. Henry Glassie.

 

“Irish Literary Tradition”, a lecture by Dr. Thomas Kinsella.

 

“Celtic Epic Poems, Heroic Cycles”, a lecture by Dr. Ann T. Matonis.

 

More to come as digitization progresses!


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A Challenge to Irish Music Aficionados

Calling all Irish music enthusiasts, here is a challenge for you!

PORTAL_CEILIThe archive of traditional Irish music in the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection in Villanova University’s Digital Library is growing steadily, now featuring over 200 recordings of Irish jigs, reels, and other tunes from performances at the annual Philadelphia Ceili Group Traditional Irish Music and Dance Festival.

Growing alongside this list is….the list of unidentified titles. Listen to this excerpt of a 1977 performance by the group DeDanann, in which the title is obscured:

“We’re going to start with two jigs, the first is called ‘The Munster Buttermilk’, and the second is called….” (Huh?!)

Kudos to anyone who can discern the title of the second jig!

Even better, if you are able to listen to that jig and identify the tune by ear, here is a further challenge for you….

Check out this search of the Digital Library.

All of these recordings contain pieces unidentified by their performers. Can you help to name these tunes?

Please send any information to stephen.spatz@villanova.edu. Thank you!


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Last Modified: March 20, 2014