Mooncoin - Spinndrift

Spinndrift CD Cover


Sleeve Notes

We are often asked about the heritage of the songs and tunes we play and as we don’t want to bore our audiences silly and simply had no room in the sleeve of our CD’s we have decided to provide our interested readers with some background to our material.

1.   Tune:  Bucimis (or Buchimish to give its correct spelling)

We have now at last been given some information on the background to Bucimis by a Richard Unciano, and he says that basically Buchimish was the favourite dance of young people in the villages around Panagyurishte in the Sredna Gora, and which is been named after a weed widely found in Bulgaria.  So follow the Buchimish  link for more information.  Thanks Richard.

2.   Song +tunes:  She’s like the swallow/The Maids of Mitchelstown/Páistín Fionn 

She’s like the swallow

I found this full version of the song on the net and I must say I have suspected for a long time that huge chunks were missing as there is not much of a plot in the version we do . . .!  Usual story of a young girl deceived in love.  In fact the full version here is very similar to ‘I wish, I wish’ recorded by Blowzabella’s Jo Freya on the album ….
She's like the swallow that flies so high,
She's like the river that never runs dry,
She's like the sunshine on the lee shore,
I love my love and love is no more.
'Twas out in the meadow this fair maid did go,
A-picking the beautiful prim'rose;
The more she plucked, the more she pulled
Until she gathered her apron full.
She climbed on yonder hill above,
To give a rose unto her love.
She gave him one, she gave him three;
She gave her heart for company.
And as they sat on yonder hill
His heart grew hard, so harder still.
He has two hearts instead of one.
She says, "Young man, what have you done?"
(she says:) "When I carried my apron low,
My love followed me through frost and snow.
But now my apron is to my chin-
My love passes by and won't call in."
(he says:) "How foolish, foolish you must be
To think I love no-one but thee.
The world's not made for one alone;
I take delight in ev'ry one."
She took her roses and made a bed
A stoney pillow for her head.
She lay her down, no more did say,
Just let her roses fall away.
She's like the swallow that flies so high,
She's like the river that never runs dry,

She's like the sunshine on the lee shore,
She lost her love and she'll love no more
Collected in Newfoundland – older source maybe British.  Set by Benjamin Britten – 8 folk songs 

The Maids of Mitchelstown

Páistín Fionn 

"Páistín Fionn" by Ethna Carbery [aka Mrs. Seumus MacManus, Anna Johnston] (1866-1902). From: The Four Winds of Eirinn: Poems by Ethna Carbery.  

3.   Tune set:  The Glory Reel/ Ambee Dagheets/The Heathery Cruach

Both the Glory Reel and Heathery Cruach are predominantly northern tunes.  We have a very rude name for the Heathery Cruach amongst ourselves but we’re not going to divulge it.  We’ll just stick to saying that a ‘cruach’ is a what Scottish and Irish people keep their condiments in. 

Ambee Dagheets 

This is a little Armenian number which Paul brought into the band and which he used to play when he was in the band ‘Jack Orien’ – many moons ago now. 

4.   Tune: Lesnoto 

This is another one Paul brought to the band and ethereal is the best word to describe it methinks.  It is Macedonian and its second name is ‘Makedonska Devojce’ (meaning Macedonian girls).  They must be very beautiful, judging by the tune! 

5.   Song:  Sir Maxwell’s Last Goodbye

This is a very old song which I learnt from June Tabor’s ‘Ashes and Diamonds’ album.  The events in the third verse refer to the Battle of Dryfe Sands in 1593.  There had long been a feud between the Maxwell and the Johnstone families.  According to legend John the 8th Lord Maxwell, having become dismounted, had his arm cut off by Will Johnstone whilst raising it to surrender.  Dumfries is regarded as his ‘proper place’ because a Maxwell traditionally held the post of provost.  The song refers to the events of 1608 when a reconciliation meeting was called by Lord John Maxwell with his Johnstone as counterpart.  It all went badly wrong and Maxwell shot Johnstone.  Maxwell was then forced to flee the country and when he returned four years later, was betrayed and executed.  There are several ‘Last Goodnight’ songs and the term merely means a ‘farewell’ song.  There is some poetic licence within the song, as Maxwell’s wife was already dead by the time he fled!  So as you can see, it’s not all about coffee giants or media magnets . . .  

6.   Tune set:  The Skyeman’s Jig/Paddy’s Leather breeches /The Jig of Slurs

Paddy’s Leather breeches

This tune is part of the Highland Bagpipe repertoire – bet you were itching to know that.

Jig of Slurs

"This tune is probably the best known composition of George 'G.S' McLennan, an Aberdeen piper, who as a boy played before Queen Victoria. He is regarded by many as the greatest composer of 'light' music on the Highland bagpipes in the 20th century."

7.   Song:  The North Country Maid 

8.   Tune set:  The Hamburger/Polska från Boda/Macklin’s Waltz 

The Hamburger is nothing to do with those noxious mashed up bits of meat you find wedged between a spongy bread, no, the name is derived from the dance – the Hambo which is a simplified kind of Polska, a popular form of dance in Sweden comprising of swirling and shuffling movements.  Uli and I acquired this tune from a very great Swedish band called ‘Groupa’, when we stilled lived in East Germany and have been playing it for eons.  Again, we didn’t want to lose it from our repertoire, so we put it together with the other tunes.  Paul learnt the ‘Polska från Boda’ from a Swedish fiddle player Ola Bäckstrom (who plays in a band called Swåp) when he went to a fiddle workshop at the Norwich 03 festival.  Uli and I have known Macklin’s Waltz for ages from a band called Zumzeaux (French Canadian).  We found a version of it in the Bill Paley’s Swedish fiddle book, which prompted us to learn it. 

9.   Song:  Le Vin d’Amour 

This is a rather deceptive song if you don’t know its heritage.  It was written by Serge Liorzou who played in a Breton band called ‘Maubuissons’.  The whole band (5 French blokes) stayed on our living-room floor during the Norwich 02 festival and brought their own supplies of Ricard and French sausage with them.  He has written it in archaic French and for those who failed their ‘O’-level French (tsk!), it’s about a young man who is desperate to get married.  You have to appreciate that this is in the days before living in sin, telly, internet etc. 

10.  Slow Air + Reel:  Eleanor Plunkett/Farewell to Ireland

The slow air is another song written by Irish harpist Turlough O’Carolan who lived in the 17th century.  He made his money by writing songs for people – he needed the dosh as he spent most of his time in the pub, by all accounts!  No one knows who Eleanor Plunkett was or whether she was related to William Plunkett previously mentioned.  The second tune is also known by the name ‘Farewell to Eirínn’, obviously around the time there was a mass exodus from Ireland.  Uli always gets told off by Kate at the session for playing this one too fast!  I found this note on the internet: 
Once I saw a Scottish hornpipe with this title in a collection for the highland bagpipes. The structure was roughly similar, so maybe this reel has a predecessor or a close relative in the highland pipes tradition (taken over maybe via Donegal?). That would also explain the mixolydian scale all the way through. 

11.  Song:  The snows they melt the soonest 

This is a Scottish song and I have known this song for years, sung by Dick Gaughan.  We put it into 5/4 time in the middle – inspired by Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’! 

12.  Tune set:  The Musical Priest/The Salamanca/The Lads of Laois

The Musical Priest 

There were some musical priests, but in the 19th and 20th centuries, the church did as much as they could to suppress traditional music by banning crossroads and farmhouse dances and even dances in private homes (miserable spoilsports! – Chris)  

The Salamanca 

Salamanca is a place in Spain and has been a seat of learning since 13th century. The Irish priesthood trained there and there was also a battle fought there by the Duke of Wellington so it is unclear which the tune was named after. 

The Lads of Laois 

Laois is a county which is situated in central – southwest of Ireland and it is pronounced ‘Leesh’.  Hmmm, must try and remember that next time I announce it. 

13.  Song:  The Little Drummer 

This song is not to be confused with the version Rolf Harris did (you know, two little  boys had two little toys . . . )  which is what happened when we were getting the copyright sorted out for the CD!!!  It’s a highly unlikely account of poor boy meets rich girl and they all live happily ever after, following a spot of emotional blackmail.  We often wonder what sort of car they hired to go to Banshaugh. 

14.  Tune:  Oi Tate

We love this tune – especially Uli, he should have been a red-coat at Butlins.  ‘Oi Tate’  is a Jewish tune and the title means ‘Oh Daddy’ which needs to be shouted out at the top of your voice at various junctures during the tune.  Most of the audience do, as they wouldn’t dare not to with Uli as cheer-leader!  And Richard Unciano also tells us that 'Tate' is also the Bulgarian word for 'daddy'.