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MP3 FiddleSticks - Playing Favorites

Celtic eclectic family band, traditionally based with jazz, bluegrass, and folk meanderings, playing love-songs, dance-reels, cool music, and all-round fun.

18 MP3 Songs
WORLD: Celtic, KIDS/FAMILY: Kid Friendly

FiddleSticks is a family musical group that performs folk songs and traditional tunes from the Celtic lands, from England, and from America. The band is made up of three teenaged sisters, Rebecca, Kathryn, and Elizabeth Davis, and their father, Mark. Featured instruments include fiddle, flutes, cello, bodhran (Irish drum), guitar and vocals.

On this collection we play favorites; that is, we have recorded for you some of the music we most enjoy. Maybe some of these tunes will become your favorites, too. May the ballads and airs transport you, and may the jigs and reels energize you and bring you to your feet dancing!

We have come upon these favorites accidentally, or rather, "organically" -- not in any formalized process, but by collecting and learning music that speaks to us, to our hearts. Our whole FiddleSticks experience is a very organic thing. We are an organic grouping, a family! What could be more natural than that? Our music evolves as we perform it, and our band and family evolve as we work through the challenges of family life, and the additional challenge of performing with a band. We are a work in progress, so this album is a still-frame in our musical evolution. Folk music, as a rule, is flexible -- so we have taken liberties with the arrangements, words, melodies and moods of the music we play. Again, it is a growing, changing, and organic process. Some of the music we learned from friends, favorite bands, or ancient books -- other tunes were composed by Elizabeth and Kathryn. We hope the joy we have in performing together comes across in this recording.

Folk music, especially Celtic music, seems to be part of the air we breathe in our home and family. Maybe there''s something literally in our blood, genetic material inherited from the Scots and Irishmen and Welshmen perched on our family tree. Certainly we owe much of our love for this music to a more recent and immediate source: Kira, mother and wife of the band members, who was a truly musical soul and left a glittering legacy of music to her family upon her untimely death in 1997. Her voice and her Celtic harp are greatly missed in the FiddleSticks ensemble, but her life and presence are missed in our family a thousand times more. Like our previous recording, The FiddleSticks Sampler, this collection is dedicated to her memory; it is her vision and momentum that we are following and that pulls us forward. Kira''s life was a blessing and a miracle, and an example to us and to all who knew her.


1. Cranking Out/Mutts Favorite/Lively Steps (Jerry Holland ©1997-SOCAN). We learned these rousing dance reels from their composer and our teacher, Jerry Holland, of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Fiddle, pennywhistle, cello, guitar, bodhran

2 . Mary Do It Again (Scottish trad.)/ Cross Roads (Scottish trad.)/ Jig in A (Scottish trad.). In October 1998 Kathryn took first place in the Anne Arundel Maryland Scottish Fair and Fiddle Competition; the featured performer at the Fair was Bonnie Rideout, who brought Kathryn on stage with her and taught her these tunes.

Fiddle, recorder, cello, guitar, bodhran

3. The Star of County Down-If You Could Hie to Kolob (Irish trad.)/The Rights of Man (Scots/Irish trad.). This old tune from Ireland was collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in an arrangement of folk tunes, and then recently made popular as a Mormon hymn. The swing feel of this version of the Rights of Man was inspired by Eileen Ivers and her electric jazz violin.

Fiddle, recorder, cello, guitar

4. Black is the Color of My True Love''s Hair (Scottish/American trad.). This old song is from Scotland, by way of the American Appalachians. We learned the Scottish version from the Celtic-swing band Easy Club, and later John Jacob Niles'' version presented itself. This song fuses many styles.

Fiddle, voice, flute, recorder, cello, guitar

5. The Mist Covered Mountains of Home (Scottish trad.)/ Are Ye Sleeping Maggie? (Scottish trad.)/ Sleepy Maggie (Scottish trad.). This Scottish trio includes a tune we learned from our dear friend and champion Scottish harpist Sue Richards, and two "Maggie" tunes.

Fiddle, recorder, cello, guitar, bodhran

6. Colonel McBain (Irish trad.)/ Miss Patterson (Irish trad.)/ Man of the House (Irish trad.)/ Pretty Blue Seagull (Irish trad.). These four reels were gleaned from Captain Francis O''Neill''s authoritative 1903 Irish tune collection.

Fiddle, bass

7. Glen Rinnes (Irish Trad.)/ Silver Water Tower (Kathryn Davis). We found the strathspey Glen Rinnes in a reprint of James Kerr''s "Collection of Merry Melodies." After our friends the Bigneys won a silver water tower trophy from Garrison Keillor, Kathryn wrote the second tune in this set as a congratulation.

Fiddle, bodhran

8. Shule Aroon (Irish trad.). Irish love songs do tend to end badly. This ballad is typical, as the young man has gone overseas to war, and his lonely love laments at home that she may never see him again. The Gaelic chorus translates: "Come, come, come my love/ Quickly come to me/ Come to the door, away we''ll flee/ And safe forever may my darling be."

Fiddle, voice, recorder, cello, guitar

9. Anne Arundel Fair (Elizabeth Davis)/ The Noisy Kitchen (Kathryn Davis). At the Anne Arundel Fiddle Competition Kathryn played a new tune in strathspey form that Elizabeth had recently written; when Kathryn won the competition Liz named the tune in memory of the Fair. Liz''s tune won again in the regional PTA Reflections composition competition in Utah. The second tune got its name one afternoon just after Kathryn had composed it and was trying to concentrate and write it down, while lots of boisterously distracting cooking and cleaning was going on in the kitchen nearby.

Fiddle, cello, bodhran

10. Grandma Great''s (Kathryn Davis)/ Drowsy Maggie (Irish trad.)/ Sam''s Unnamed Reel (Sam Bigney)/ Becca''s Reel (Kathryn Davis). Ina Louise Coleman Page lived vibrantly for all her 92 years; when she died suddenly in February 1998, Kathryn wrote this lament in her memory. Drowsy Maggie is a favorite dance tune, the third of three "Maggie" tunes on this album. Sam Bigney and Kathryn wrote the last pair of reels for a joint performance that never happened, but the tunes have become standards for us.

Fiddle, recorder, cello, bodhran

11. Down in This Valley Wide (Irish Trad.). We acquired this mysterious song of love and independence from Connie McKenna of Celtoire, a Maryland Celtic folk band with whom Kira performed and recorded.

Fiddle, voice, recorder, cello, guitar, bodhran

12. Ashokan Farewell (Jay Ungar ©1983 by Swinging Door Music-BMI). Jay Ungar wrote this lament in 1982 at the end of the Ashokan music camp; it has been associated with the Civil War since Ken Burns used it as the theme of his PBS television special.

Fiddle, flute, cello, guitar

13. Boo Baby''s Lullaby (Jerry Holland ©1997-SOCAN). Master Cape Breton fiddler and teacher Jerry Holland came to our house to play this sweet tune for Kira not long after he wrote it to welcome his first grandbaby.

Fiddle, bass

14. Who May Yon Strange One Be? (Welsh trad.). Kira uncovered this haunting tune about the silkie folk of the Celtic islands (enchanted seals who appear as women to unsuspecting seafarers) in a dusty old book in a neglected corner of the BYU music library. She often performed it, and taught it to Rebecca for a concert at the Renaissance Faire in Maryland. The original song has only one verse and one chorus, so Rebecca improvised a few new verses.


15. Remembering Hiroko (Kathryn Davis). Kathryn''s Suzuki master class teacher Hiroko Primrose died last year; Kathryn compiled this tune from traditional elements in her honor.


16. Bedlam (English trad.). In this mysterious English song, a young woman loses her heart and her mind when her true love is sent away. At last he returns to rescue her... or does he?

Fiddle, voice, recorder, cello, guitar, bodhran, bass, dulcimer

17. General Cooley''s (trad.) This driving tune was featured on the soundtrack for the film Last of the Mohicans, but is actually a traditional reel.

Fiddle, cello, bass, dulcimer

Total playing time: 61:36

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