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

Posted by Tom Hanway, written by Turlough O'Carolan


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- Play count: 2034

Size: 1,202kb, uploaded 2/20/2008 8:10:35 AM
Genre: Fiddle/Celtic/Irish / Playing Style: Other

This classic piece by the blind harper Carolan (1670-1738) translates easily to 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 bodhrán 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, giving the G-tuned 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:

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

Nelson Says:
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 @2:50:00 PM

Well, we all owe Mel a hugh thank you for letting you share these tunes with us here at the hangout.  Love them. 

Tom Hanway Says:
Thursday, February 21, 2008 @8:35:40 AM

Wow, thank you Nelson.  Ya know, I'm just listening to it myself after ten years... and well, I gave it a Scruggs ending - a brush with the index and middle fingers.  It works, so, hey, why not?

Banjophobic Says:
Friday, February 22, 2008 @10:31:00 AM

I enjoyed that very much-great playing Tom.

Tom Hanway Says:
Friday, February 22, 2008 @12:51:27 PM

Hey, thank you John.  Who knew that Carolan (or Turlough O'Carolan) was one of the great 5-string banjo composers from the late 17th-early 18th century?  This tune really works on the five-driver.

Happy2ride Says:
Monday, June 23, 2008 @10:46:20 AM

Excellent tune and very crisp playing, really enjoyed it.


Tom Hanway Says:
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 @4:14:16 AM

Thanks folks, I still play this at irish sessions, usually when it's quiet, and it's standard fare.

Laurence Diehl Says:
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 @9:44:26 PM

That's a beaut, and about the best muted banjo tone I have heard - ever! Violin mute eh? - I might just have to try that!

Bullard Says:
Thursday, August 14, 2014 @4:14:43 PM

Tom this is great stuff! I really love the O'Carolan stuff and it works great on banjo. I have a bunch of his music that I would like to do…as you mentioned to ma a while back, I think it deserves the full Baroque treatment…this is great!

JanetB Says:
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 @2:32:28 PM

Beautiful music! Have you heard of a CD by Joemy Wilson called Young Turlough and the his Harp? Really oriented for kids, but just as fun for me. It demonstrates how O'Carolan's music makes the perfect accompaniment for stories.

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