Tom Ward’s Downfall/The Ireland We Knew

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This track is from our 2006 CD, Concert Tour of North America 2006.

‘Tom Ward’s Downfall’ has been part of ‘core’ traditional repertoire since the legendary South Sligo fiddler Michael Coleman recorded it in April1922. Much has been written about the legacy of the Irish immigrant musicians to North America who included Coleman, James Morrison, Paddy Killoran, Tom Morrisson,Patsy Tuohy,John McKenna,P.J.Conlon and so many more,and it is testimony to their era and the crucial ’78 r.p.m.recordings,that we still pay these tunes and tune selections today over eighty years later.

The second reel was composed by Ed Reavy (1898-1988), the fiddler and composer who emigrated from Cavan to the U.S. in 1912 and settled in Philadelphia. Like many of the great musicians of the time,he played not only as a solo performer but also in various dance bands. These immigrant bands played a variety of music, which included hornpipes, for the Irish immigrant population in dance halls in the major American cities. Reavy’s compositions have been, and still are, amongst the most popular tunes in traditional repertoire.Indeed it is perhaps very appropriate that the last known recording of Michael Coleman made in 1944, a year before he died, includes Ed Reavy’s composition ‘Lad O’Beirne’s Hornpipe’, which he named after the great fiddler. The reel is included in Where The Shannon Rises,the book of one hundred and twenty-seven compositions of Ed Reavy.Reavy was anxious to ensure that the title of his tunes said something about his own values: his personal feelings about Ireland and about the people he loved.He also wanted to share some of his own life experiences with his friends – to give them something else to reflect on as they sat down to hear his tunes played. Included in Where the Shannon Rises are Ed Reavy’s personal anecdotes on each tune and this is what the composer himself wrote in relation to ‘The Ireland We Knew’: ‘Much has come and gone in Ireland since the early days of this century. Nothing remains the same in a world that has since entered its most advanced technological age. But poets dream their dreams, and the heart of every Irishman longs for the Ireland he once knew.’ The reel has been recorded by the Irish band Téada on their Inné AmárachCD.

5 December 2006
Tom Ward’s Downfall/The Ireland We Knew
Concert Tour of North America 2006
Performers/Subjects Instruments
Daire McGeown Banjo
Damien Mullane Bazouki
Ed Reavy Composer

© Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann

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