Cavers of Kirkcudbright

I first fell in love with this tune when it was played by Anna Massie and Mairearad Green in the set ‘Bells’ on their very first album (called Anna and Mairearad ) of 2009 (who are very well worth seeing if you can catch them down south). We tried to learn it from listening, but couldn’t quite catch it. And then this year, heard the same tune again on Alastair Fraser’s and Natalie Haas’s new album, Ports of Call, in a set called ‘Megan and Jarrod‘. At this point, I wanted to know more… and so I emailed Anna Massie about Bells, thinking it was her tune. Anna sweetly emailed me right back (admitting that she wished it was hers) explaining that ‘Bells’ was based on Cavers of Kirdcudbright written by Mike Vass for his university flatmate. Mike Vass has this great tune on his website and we immediately set about trying to learn to play it. Although for fiddlers, it is a little tricky (being in F) but well worth the effort. Often played fast, really it is beautiful slow, just as Anna and Mairearad play it.

Thanks to Colin Fletcher of Owl Light Trio, I’ve added some chords (although a little simpler than his) and all mistakes (several no doubt) are mine.

It’s a real top star of a tune, but learn it slowly. The rhythm and the fingering are not easy, but the tune repays patience a millionfold.

Where to hear it:

Anna Massie and Mairearad Green
Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas (at  3:37 min)
Emoji plays a guitar (and others)
Excellent teenage band from Ireland (please let me know if you come across a name for this group that includes Tiarnán O’Conaill (mandolin) and Breandán O’Conaill (concertina))
Noah at the Cherwell Arts Evening (nice and slow)

pdf to download here.



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