Link to Living Tradition Homepage





MICKEY DOHERTY - Garvan Hill – The Fiddle Music Of Mickey Doherty

MICKEY DOHERTY - Garvan Hill – The Fiddle Music Of Mickey Doherty
Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éireann CBE005

Mickey Simi Doherty (1894-1970) is the brother of John Doherty, part of a family of travelling musicians and tinsmiths from Donegal. Although not known as widely as John, Mickey was no less of a fiddler, as this fine triple CD release demonstrates.

The collection has been released as the result of a joint project between the National Folklore Collection in Dublin and Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí, the latter of whom do important work in the preservation and promotion of Donegal music. It is a fine example of the care taken by such organisations to ensure that these precious recordings are made available for future generations of fiddlers and enthusiasts.

The recordings (comprising 3 hours and some 43 tracks) were made by the Irish Folklore Commision in 1949 in the Croaghs area of Donegal, and have been painstakingly restored from the original discs. Although obviously not up to modern recording standards, they are remarkably well preserved, and clearly portray the repertoire and style of an important figure in Irish music history.

All the various tune forms you would expect from a Donegal musician are present – jigs, reels, hornpipes, highlands, airs and marches – along with descriptive pieces such as The Hound After The Hare, tunes for dances particular to the area like Maggie Picken’s, and even a story recounted by Mickey. Throughout, he displays complete mastery of his instrument - his use of rhythm (very important for dancing) and his inventiveness in the use of variation and ornamentation being very much in evidence.

The sleevenotes on the tunes by Rab Cherry and Dermot McLaughlin are extensive, and point out technical aspects of Mickey’s playing as well as giving historical and anecdotal backgrounds. Alongside is a fascinating biography which gives much information on Mickey’s life and the recording process. This is clearly a project very close to the heart of those involved in its production. It is far from an old dusty collection. It is a vital link to the Donegal traditions of today and an important anthology to be treasured.

Fiona Heywood

Secure On-line mailorder service
Many CDs we review are available from The Listening Post.
Check to see if this CD is available.

The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 123 of The Living Tradition magazine.