Thursday, July 16, 2009
The Cat that Kittled in Jamesie's Wig
A marvellous image of fiddle-playing brothers Francie and Mickey Byrne from Kilcar in Donegal. I’ve always loved Donegal fiddle music, the scratchy, cat’s gut rasp of it (seem to be having a Seamus Heaney moment here), and was thrilled on a trip to Donegal a few years ago to put some musicians in Gortahork to the test by asking if they knew ‘The Cat That Kittled in Jamesie’s Wig’, as played on the 1987 Claddagh album The Brass Fiddle by Francie Byrne (I think Mickey had died by then), and yes indeed they did, striking up its yawping descending ninth.
This by way of saying I’m taking off to Glencolumbkille in south-west Donegal for a week to brush up on my Irish and annoy the locals with requests for obscure John Doherty reels.