Fiddle Feet First…
When I get out of bed in the morning, it’s a fiddle player’s feet that hit the floor. It’s always like that, and I like it that way. For me, that’s the great thing about the fiddle and fiddle music – it’s grounding, solid, constant. And it keeps you in touch with family and friends, even when they’re long gone. I hear fiddle music in my head all the time and I enjoy battling the distraction of it. Here’s an odd thing. My earliest memories of the fiddle are taste, smell and colour – not sound! I have a very sharp image in my memory of having my nose and lips stuck in underneath the bridge of my father’s old red fiddle. I was trying to lick the rosin off it. I can still smell it and taste it (if taste is the word!).
One of my early fiddle teachers was Paddy Glackin. When I was about 14 I saw Paddy play with The Bothy Band in The Embassy Ballroom in Derry. My ears were opened. I was hooked. Not long after that, I wormed my way into his fiddle class at the Scoil Éigse in Buncrana, in 1975 and I’ll always remember his answer when I asked him “what’s the best way to practice?” Paddy’s answer was “Listen. Just listen. Keep listening.” Many years later, around 2006, I was interviewing Paddy for a television documentary series called The Raw Bar that I was making with Philip King and Nuala O’Connor and Paddy shared another great insight into fiddle music when he said “You can put the fiddle in the case, but you can’t put the music away”. I hope you enjoy your visit to my website and that you’ll stay in touch – come to a gig, sign up for a class, have a listen.
If in doubt, the answer is ‘fiddle’.