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Carolan's Concerto - from Complete Book of Irish & Celtic 5-String Banjo

Posted by Tom Hanway, written by Turlough O'Carolan


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- Play count: 675

Size: 3,712kb, uploaded 6/29/2014 4:50:42 AM
Genre: Fiddle/Celtic/Irish / Playing Style: Other

This classic piece by the blind harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) is perfect for Celtic Fingerstyle banjo. It's a popular session tune, played with reverence for the last of the Irish harper-composers. Backing on nylon-string guitar is Gabriel Donohue (Athenry) and on bodhran is Robbie Walsh (Dublin - 2008 All-Ireland Fleadh Champion). Notice the crisp metallic tone of the banjo, which was achieved by using a steel violin mute on the bridge - but not pushed down as much as on 'Carolan's Draught' - giving the banjo a harp-like quality recalling the clairseach. The "clairseach" or Irish harp was tuned diatonically and had metal wire for strings, usually made of brass, silver, gold or a silver-gold alloy. With gratitude to Mel Bay for letting me upload this here, another sample from my first book/CD, Complete Book of Irish & Celtic 5-String Banjo - find it here:

4 comments on “Carolan's Concerto - from Complete Book of Irish & Celtic 5-String Banjo”

rickhayes Says:
Sunday, June 29, 2014 @11:02:57 AM

Just terrific playing.

Debs Says:
Sunday, June 29, 2014 @12:04:23 PM

Delightful - an absolute pleasure to listen to. Thank you too for explaining a little of the history of the song and its composer, and of the way you achieved this beautiful sound.

Tom Hanway Says:
Sunday, June 29, 2014 @10:22:22 PM

*Blush* Ah, thanks for listening and commenting. Honestly, it's not my best playing, and there are a few clams, but the idea was to get the spirit of the tune across for a learning CD, and we had 67 more tunes to get done, so I didn't obsess over little glitches, and we used the take. I play it a lot better today, a whole lot cleaner, and I've added ornamentation to it that I picked up at sessions. I might just tab that out, and put it up in my photos! Yeah, I think I'll do that!

banjukebox Says:
Thursday, July 3, 2014 @11:07:38 AM

My favorite Carolan tune. I definitely need to relearn it.

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