Skip to Content Skip to Navigation
Join the email list!

Chris Smith: Words & Music

Slip-jigs: Na Ceannabhain Bhana/Hardiman the Fiddler/Drops of Brandy

(Chris Smith (banjo), Randal Bays (fiddle), Roger Landes (bouzouki))
2005-09-08
Three slip-jigs. The first is also the melody for a children’s song, “The Little Fair Cannavans,” collected and later translated by Séamus Ennis, and is a fairly common session tune.

“Hardiman the Fiddler,” (A/K/A “Hardy Man the Fiddler”) appears in O Neill’s 1850 as #1117 and in The Northern Fiddler, and may commemorate the historian James Hardiman, author of Irish Minstrelsy (1831). It’s been recorded by Willie Clancy, Leo Rowsome, and by Francie and Mickey Byrne, but I think I got it from the Chieftains.

“Drops of Brandy” (A/K/A “Cummilum,” “Drink of Brandy,” “A Drop of Whiskey,” “New Drops of Brandy,” and “Oh, Mary Take My Advice”) is a very widely-distributed tune, found in Scottish, English, and Irish collections, some dating back to the 17th century. O Neill’s 1001 has it as #448, and his 1913 Irish Minstrels and Musicians says there was a related dance; it’s still associated with step- and ceili-dance. I got it from the playing of Paddy Keenan.