Far Side of the Glen

Fiddle Music from South West Donegal

This is not the “flashy” playing so often heard today; each note is given its chance to express itself properly – the music talks to you, as it should. No excessive speed, no attempts at fusion with other styles, just good, honest Donegal fiddling as we used to hear it years ago…
John Waltham, The Living Tradition Magazine, UK

The tradition of two fiddles and the uniformity of just one instrument is an aesthetic that south
west Donegal musicians’ ears are very familiar with. Archive recordings of two fiddles such as
brothers Francie and Mickey Byrne are breathtaking and show a delicate and subtle style with a
sweeping bow that is typical of the area. The late James Byrne was a huge influence on the music
of the locality over the last 40 – 50 years and James was a mentor and teacher to both of us with
Derek enjoying several years under his inspirational tutelage. James’ style has been a significant
influence on us in our musical development.

We hope we have portrayed a sample of the fiddle music style and repertoire of south west
Donegal, it is the music we have grown up with, the music we continue to play and the music we
enjoy most. The recording features just two fiddles and was recorded in a cottage just outside
Carrick, Co. Donegal, Ireland.

The inspiration for the title, The Far Side of the Glen, comes from both of us living on either side
of Glengesh Pass, between Ardara and Carrick. This would have been one of the main routes of
access between Glenties and Glencolmcille where over the years many great musicians travelled.


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