McDonnell's Traditional Irish Music Slow Session

On Line Slow & Steady Sessions Original

McDonnell’s Slow & steady Sessions Online



Many beginner Irish traditional players would like to participate in slow & steady sessions but there are none available close to where they live. In an effort to fill this gap we have made available recordings of some of our previous slow and steady sessions so musicians can play along.  There are several resources on this website including sheet musicrecordings of the tunes played slowly and Slow & Steady Session Playlist to help you learn to play the tunes before joining a session. We hope playing along with these recordings allows you to experience the fun of playing in a traditional Irish session. Click on  below to join the session online or click    to download the file to your computer or phone.

All sessions were recorded with an H4 Zoom recorder placed on a table usually near the middle of the room. There was relatively little or no post-recording manipulation of the files. What was played is what you hear.  It is impossible to list all the musicians that played and helped with the sessions and we are grateful to all of them. But two musicians really stand out, we gratefully acknowledge the assistance of  the late Kathleen Harte and Colin MacLeod. The quality of our sessions was greatly improved by their participation, talent, musical knowledge and weekly support.

Beginner Sessions

These sessions were created for musicians who only recently started to learn their instruments but can play a few tunes.  They were also designed to assist people who learned an instrument when they were young and who now want to learn Irish tunes so they can join in other traditional Irish sessions. In our beginner slow & steady session we play single tunes relatively slowly. Some tunes start slowly but we gradually speed them up to help players improve their skills so they can join faster more traditional Irish sessions.

1. McDonnell’s Online Slow Session No. 1 tunes: Fanny Power, Come by the Hills (Buachaill on Eirne), South Wind, Roddy McCauley, Marie’s Wedding and Maggie in the Wood.

 2. McDonnell’s Online Slow Session No.2 tunes: Kesh Jig, Murphy’s Polka, Inisheer, Spootishkerry, Butterfly and West Clare Jig.

3. McDonnell’s Online Slow Session No.3 tunes: Off to California, Boys of Bluehill, Silver Spear, Lucy Farr Barn Dance, Out on the Ocean (Portroe Jig) and 100 Pipers.


Intermediate Sessions

These sessions catered to musicians who have been playing for a few years and were keen to join an Irish session.  The speed of the sessions typically fell somewhere between beginners and the fast pace of most Traditional Irish sessions.  Some say the speed of playing at our intermediate sessions was similar to a session you might join in Clare or Galway. As in most traditional Irish sessions today, we play sets that link two or three tunes together.

1. McDonnell’s Online Intermediate Session No. 1 Sets

1. Merrily Kiss the Quaker
2. Primrose Lass
3. Sweeney’s Polka, Murphy’s Polka and Hannah’s Polka
4. The Blackthorn Stick and Rakes of Kildare
5. Fr Kelly’s Reel (Rossmore Jetty)

2. McDonnell’s Online Intermediate Session No. 2  Sets:

1. Off to California and Boys of Bluehill
2. Maggie in the Wood, Britches Full of Stitches and Forty Pound Float
3. The Silver Spear and Shannon Breeze
4. Ward’s Jig and Blarney Pilgrim
5. King of the Fairies and The Rights of Man
6. Miss McLeod’s Reel and Merry Blacksmith
7. West Clare Jig and Dingle Regatta
8. Cooley’s Reel and Drowsy Maggie