A revised edition of an iconic book on the Donegal fiddle tradition has just been published.
‘Between the Jigs and the Reels’ by Caoimhín MacAoidh was first released to critical acclaim in the late 1970s.
The Donegal fiddle tradition is one of the most distinctive regional styles in the diverse idiom of Irish traditional music.
While its unique sound is almost immediately recognisable, those who have passed it on and those who play it today are among the most important and influential musicians in the tradition.
Many who played a critical role in passing it on are less well known and, for a very long time, the Donegal fiddle tradition was ignored, misunderstood and disregarded.
Happily, today, throughout the world, many of its past and present performers are acclaimed and recognised as making an invaluable contribution to Irish traditional music.
Much of this is thanks to Mr MacAoidh’s original Between the Jigs and the Reels.
One of the reasons for bringing out the new edition is that the first one has been out of print for a number of years.
As a result, the demand for copies was so intense that some were being traded online for as much as €600!
As soon as the first edition was completed, MacAoidh continued to gather more information on Donegal fiddlers and continued with his on-going research.
There was a plethora of new material discovered and the work was looking to be in the order of twice the original edition size if it was printed.
As a result, he approached Waltons who were delighted with the proposal to do a full revisited edition.
In this significantly enhanced and revised edition of his acclaimed Between the Jigs and the Reels, Caoimhín MacAoidh has worked exhaustively to add to the original publication’s information and insights on the tradition, its history and its players.
Fuelled by his passion for Donegal fiddle playing, and drawing on an intimate knowledge of the music, MacAoidh pays tribute to both historical and contemporary figures who have played a part in maintaining and growing this great tradition.
Between the Jigs and the Reels Revisited provides us with an informed, lively and entertaining perspective on the giants and lesser-known figures in this dynamic cultural landscape and brings the story of the Donegal fiddle tradition and its practitioners right up to the 21st century.
Mr Mac Aoidh has been studying, researching and playing the music of the Donegal fiddle tradition for nearly half a century.
Initially inspired by the playing of John Doherty and Néillidh Ó Baoighill, he had the fortune to be guided in his explorations by Tom Glackin, Proinsias Ó Maonaigh and Danny O’Donnell.
He had the good fortune to meet and play with those he considered his heroes.
Early in his journey, Caoimhín came to the realisation that it is not only the stellar performers who are of importance in bearing the tradition across generations, but also the many local players who played it with respect and passion.
House dance fiddlers, such as Jim Doherty of Legnahoorey, typically had absolute gems of local tunes.
Caoimhín has served the tradition as broadcaster, performer, teacher, chronicler as well as author and in this, his major work, he continues to document this cultural treasure.
There soon will also be an accompanying tune collection issued which will include 110 transcriptions and two CDs.
The CDs will contain the playing of each of the tunes with performances by Caoimhin Mac Aoidh, Daire Gallagher, Danny Meehan and Martin McGinley.
Between the Jigs and the Reels Revisited can be purchased by logging on to www.waltons.ie