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Kieran Jordan

Cover the Buckle
A Collection of Irish Set Dances for Listening and Dancing

Seán Clohessy, fiddle
Sean McComiskey, button accordion, tin whistle
Kieran Jordan, dance

With special guests
Josh Dukes, bouzouki, guitar, 12-string guitar
Matt Mulqueen, piano

Produced by Kieran Jordan

In 2014, I asked Sean McComiskey and Seán Clohessy — two friends whose music, for years, has lifted my feet and my spirits — to work with me on a new CD of set dance music, designed for dance students and dance teachers, as well as tune learners and tune listeners. The guys agreed, and Cover the Buckle was born.

The term “cover the buckle” shows up in many historical descriptions of Irish dance, alluding to the name of a tune, the name of a dance, the name of a particular movement or step, and the overall display of step dancing itself. The buckle in question refers to the shiny silver buckles which adorned the shoes of the 18th and 19th century itinerant dance masters.

An Irish “set dance” is both a tune and a dance — a musical composition, and a specific set of solo steps designed to match. This CD features well-known solo set dance tunes, like "The Garden of Daisies," "The Blackbird," "St. Patrick's Day," and more, plus a few unusual ones and personal favorites. The tunes are lively and energizing, played at dance-friendly tempos for traditional style step dancing. Each tune starts with a short intro and includes full AABB parts (for right and left foot repeats of the dancing). My own new choreography and percussive steps can be heard on a few tracks as well. With sublime playing from Seán Clohessy and Sean McComiskey and creative accompaniment from Josh Dukes and Matt Mulqueen, this CD breathes new life into the old tunes — shattering the sometimes-static ‘dance class’ approach and offering new possibilities for how these tunes feel, and how they might be danced.

Music on the recording:

1. Mount Phoebus Hunt / The Hunted
2. The Job of Journeywork
3. The Humours of Bandon / Miss Brown’s Fancy
4. O’Carolan’s Draught
5. Jockey To the Fair
6. The Blackbird
7. The Priest and His Boots
8. St. Patrick’s Day
9. Madame Bonaparte
10. Queen of the Faeries / King of the Fairies
11. Maggie Pickins
12. Three Ducks and a Goose
13. The Garden of Daisies
14. The Three Sea Captains
15. The Oslo Waltz / Augusta Waltz