It's in the Air
No Saturday Supplement this morning, largely because there wasn't a whole lot that caught my eye on t'internet this week... But also because this is St. Patrick's Day... and I couldn't let it go without dipping my toe in the emerald-tinted water...
I could have gone down the Celtic spirituality route... but one item that I did come across yesterday on the net thanks to my colleague Robin, was this wonderful rendition of "Danny Boy..."
That's certainly my favourite version of the song... as it treats it with the lack of respect it deserves... It's a dreadful piece of sentimental oirishness origninally written by an English lawyer...
The tune at least is authentically Irish, supposedly being one of many folk tunes collected by Jane Ross from Limavady in County Londonderry in the mid 19th century, although she never recorded the title leading to its ascription as A Londonderry or Derry Air - only in Northern Ireland could the name of a tune be politically devisive... There are also suggestions that she actually got the time signature wrong, which explains why it sounds quite unlike most other traditional Irish tunes.
Despite the fact that it is actually quite difficult to sing well because of the required range (although many of those who sing Danny Boy have their vocal chords well lubricated by Guinness... improving their perception of their singing if not their actual performance), it has also been a popular tune for hymn settings, notably "I Cannot Tell" by William Young Fullerton.
But to raise the tone slightly let me also offer you my friend Kristyn Getty's "What Grace is Mine" which is also set to this tune... it runs into her husband Keith's pension-plan "In Christ alone..."
Enjoy... and God bless you this Paddy's day.