REPERTOIRE

 

The USFO perform a wide range of material, including reels, jigs and strathspeys, popular in the ‘kitchen music’ tradition, fifing and piping tunes, accordion and flute band marches, some well known, others specific to local bands. In integrating fiddle and marching band rhythms, the USFO produce a sound that is distinctive and innovative, but which demonstrates the close relationships that always existed between the march and the dance in a society where the fifers were often fiddlers or tin whistle players as well, and where the rhythms beaten out on Lambeg drums could be as easily tapped out on the kitchen table.

 

Traditional and contemporary songs are performed, both in Ulster-Scots and in English. The songs of Rabbie Burns are particular favourites, as they were in Ulster when they were first published, but the USFO also perform their own material..

 

The Orchestra also draws on the heritage of Scots-Irish emigrants in North America, from civil war marching tunes, to Appalachian fiddle styles, to the songs of Stephen Foster.

 

Click Button to hear audio track - Roughcut from the Byre

 

FOWKGATES AND USFO DISCOGRAPHY

 

A CLATTER O FOWK: Various Artists.

 

 

Performers:

 

McNeillstown Pipe Band (County Antrim). As well as being a Grade 1 competition band they incorporate other instruments and dancers in stage performances.

 

Appalachian Strings. Based in County Down, this band brings traditional Appalachian music back to its roots.
Its members are: George McAdam, Maxine Eadie, Wilson Davies, David Howarth and Ian McAllister.

 

Elizabeth McLeister. Traditional Scots and Irish singer from Cullybackey.

 

Wheen O Folk. Multi-instrumentalist Willie Drennan and bagpiper Stephen Reynolds have formed Wheen O Folk and are often joined by various other performers. On this recording they are accompanied by Crawford Bell on keyboards and guitar.

 

Roy Arbuckle. Singer/guitarist/songwriter from Londonderry. Also plays with 'Different Drums' and 'Calgach'.

 

Bob Speers. Singer/guitarist/songwriter from Cullybackey.

 

Laura Sinnerton. Traditional unaccompanied singer from Ballymena.

 

Natty Shaw. Reciter of Ulster-Scots poems from Broughshane.

 

Other Musicians: Trevor Owens – accordion, Eleesha Drennan – fiddle, Stephen Matier – percussion.

 

Tracks

 

1. Lord Lovat’s Lament (trad) – McNeillstown Pipe Band: slow air and march.

 

2. Whinney Knowes (trad) – Elizabeth McLeister: unaccompanied song.

 


3. Will Ye Go Lassie Go – Bob Speers & Willie Drennan: Adapted from an 18th century song entitled ‘Braes of Balqhidder’. The tune goes back further and was originally known as ‘The Three Carls of Buchan’

 

4. Dr. Ross’s 50th Welcome to the Argyllshire Gathering (written by D. McLeod) – McNeillstown Pipe Band.

 

5. Rowan Tree (trad) – Laura Sinnerton: unaccompanied song.

 

6. My Darlings in Tennnessee (written and arranged by Roy Arbuckle) – Roy Arbuckle accompanied by Trevor Owens: song.

 

7. Margaret’s Waltz (trad) – Appalachian Strings.

 

8. Bagpipe and Lambeg Medley: Bonnie Shore of Antrim, Flett from Flotta, Keel Row, Braes of Tullymet, Dark Island, Jig of Slurs (All tunes traditional except ‘Bonnie Shore of Antrim’ by Willie Drennan) – Wheen o Folk.

 

9. Tam Archer (written and arranged by Bob Speers) – Bob Speers.

 

10. Pheasant Cock (trad) – Elizabeth McLeister: unaccompanied song.

 

11. Wullie’s Motor Car (written by John Clifford) – Natty Shaw: recitation.

 

12. Scotch Medley: Mairi’s Wedding/Lord Lovat’s Lament/My Love is But a Lassie Yet (trad) – Wille Drennan, Eleesha Drennan, Trevor Owens, Stephen Matier and Crawford Bell.

 

13. The Four Marys (trad) – Laura Sinnerton: unaccompanied song.

 

14. Caledonian Heartbeat (written and arranged by Roy Arbuckle) – Roy Arbuckle: song.

 

15. March Medley: Molly Darling, Silver Threads Amongst the Gold, The Old Rustic Bridge, The Minstrel Boy (trad) – McNeillstown Pipe Band.

 

16. Ower the Water (written and arranged by Willie Drennan) – Willie Drennan, Eleesha Drennan & Crawford Bell: slow air.

 

 

FAE OOT O SLEMISH: Willie Drennan and John Scott Trotter: 2000.

 

 

Performers:

 

Willie Drennan is a storyteller and traditional musician. He has returned to his native County Antrim in 1997 after living for a period in Canada. On this recording he recites, and plays fiddle, tin whistle, bodhran and wee Lambeg.

 

John Scott Trotter is an exceptionally versatile and accomplished musician. John spent his early years in Scotland and now lives in Londonderry. He has a passion for the music of both Scotland and Ulster. On this recording he plays fiddle, accordion, bagpipes and trumpet.

 

Tracks

 

1. Hector McLennan: traditional bagpipe march.

 

2. Fae Oot O Slemish (words by Willie Drennan, bagpipe music by John Trotter) recitation.and air.

 

3. Mairch Ayont tha Myths (music by Willie Drennan): air.

 

4. Jock o Hazeldene air from traditional Scottish border ballad.

 

5. Fifer’s Medley: Gold in Every Pocket, Bugle Hornpipe, One Hundred Pipers
A medley of traditional tunes that are normally played on fifes in County Antrim when accomapnying the thunderous roar of the Lambeg drums. Thanks to Lawrence Gillen of Ballymarlow Fifing and Drumming Association for the names of tunes.

 

6. Gallowa Hills/Greba Lasses
The first tune is the air of a well known song from Galloway in southern Scotland where the ancestors of many people in Ulster today would have come from.

 

Oh the Gallowa Hills are covered wae broom
Wae heather bells in bonnie bloom
Wie heather bells and rivers aa
An A’ll gang oot ower the hills tae Gallowa

The second tune is the air of a song from Greyabbey, County Down, also known as ‘Wha Saw the 42nd’.

 

Wha saw the Greba lasses
Wha saw them gang awa
Wha seen the Greba lasses
Mairchin doon the Herd Breid Ra

 

7. Tam at the Somme
The spoken words are from a song written by Willie Drennan many years ago after coming across an old newspaper article referring to the village of Craigywarren in County Antrim. It stated that on July 1st, 1916, all the young men of the village between the age of 16 and 21 were killed on that day at the Battle of the Somme. Thousands of young men from all over Ireland were killed at the Somme.

 

Tam lay thonner blastit aa mangilt near death
A was howlin him as he whuspered wae his final breth
Tell them bak in Craigywarren, says he, A’, aff tae meet tha Lord
Up thonner A’ll be waitin – tell them they hae mae word.

 

8. Comin Thro the Rye
Traditional air of a song by Rabbie Burns.

 

9. Rowan Tree
Written by Lady Nairn. A very popular tune and song in Ulster.

 

10. Soldiers Joy
A very old traditional tune of the British Isles. In this piece two separate fiddle styles are demonstrated – Ulster-Scots and Appalachian. Thousands of Ulster-Scots settled in the Appalachian Mountain Range of the USA in the 18th century where they developed the Appalachian fiddle music.

11. Fingal’s Weeping
Traditional air depicting the lamenting of Fingal on the Scottish island of Staffa over the loss of his Ulster sweetheart.

 

12. Bonnie Doon
Traditional air to the song by Rabbie Burns.

 

13. For Aa That
Another famous song by Rabbie Burns.

The honest man tho e’er so poor
Is king o men for aa that.

 

14. Muckin’ Out tha Byre (traditonal jigs): Muckin’ o Geordie’s Byre/Stool o Repentance

 

15. Wullie Archer
Air to traditional Ulster song.

My name is Wullie Archer and as you will understand
My home and habitation lie close to the Bann.

(The River Bann rises in the Mourne Mountains, flows through Lough Neagh and reaches the Atlantic just north of Coleraine.)

 

PLANET ULSTER: USFO: 2002

 

 

Performers

 

John Trotter (big heidyin) – fiddle, accordion, bagpipes and vocals.
Willie Drennan (wee heidyin) – fiddle, whistles, flutes, drums and vocals.
Laura Sinnerton – viola, fiddle and vocals.
Robert Watt – bagpipes, whistles, low whistles.
Eleesha Drennan – fiddle.
James Christie jnr.– fiddle.

 

Tracks

 

1. Open the Door
Popular County Antrim fifing tune for Lambeg drumming. It is in the unique Ulster slow march setting. (Thanks to Bertie Templeton for tune)

 

2. Ballycarry Fair
The same tune as ‘Green Grow the Rashes O’ by Rabbie Burns. Ulster-Scots poet James Orr (1770-1816) ‘The Bard of Ballycarry’ used this air for his song which celebrated the party mood of his village’s fair day. The chorus is sung at the end of the tune.

 

3. Hi Uncle Sam
Words by County Tyrone poet Rev. WF Marshall (1888-1959). This powerful song gives insight into the important role played by the Scotch-Irish in the setting up of the USA. The poem is put to music and sung by Bob Speers.
Hillbilly Reel (music by John Trotter).

 

4. Bonnie Kellswater
Versions of this song have been recorded by folk artists throughout the world. This old Ulster-Scots version is beautifully sung by Laura Sinnerton, whose family have lived in the vicinity of the Kellswater River for many generations.

 

5. Dancin’ Tae the Fiddle/Curse o Macha
Words and music by Willie Drennan. Although the words are in the Ulster-Scots tongue, the music has an Appalachian flavour. As in ‘Hillbilly Reel’, this demonstrates the kinship felt by Ulster people for the Appalachian culture.

 

6. Parcel o Rogues
This air was used by Rabbie Burns for his very powerful political anthem ‘Such a Parcel o Rogues in a Nation’. Those familiar with this song will find it difficult to disassociate themselves from the strong imagery and political message. Nonetheless, this tune stands out on its own as a masterful creation.

 

7. Jig Medley: The Frost is All Over/Saddle the Pony
These jigs are usually amongst the first learned by fiddlers in Ulster and are well known throughout Ireland. Lilting by Bob Speers and John Trotter adds another dimension.

 

8. Jolly Lambeggar
Traditionally the fife is the only instrument that can accompany the roar of the huge Lambeg drum. It is unlikely that you will hear this combination of wee lambeg, highland
Bagpipes and trombone anywhere else. The tune played is ‘Jolly Beggarman’

 

9. Lea Rig
Another song from Rabbie Burns sung by Bob Speers and John Trotter. The Lea Rig was a row left uncultivated by farmers for harvesting purposes. When the barley or corn would grow, the Lea Rig became an ideal venue for courting couples. This is perhaps better known in parts of Ulster as ‘The Lily O’.

 

10. Bonnie Doon
Yet another song by Burns. This should not be surprising as the works of Burns were well known in Ulster during the poet’s lifetime (1759-1796) and have been revered throughout the generations ever since. Perhaps no-one could capture the essence of Burns better than Laura Sinnerton does in this version of one of his more popular love songs.

 

11. Billy, Geordie, Sam, Hughie and Wee Tam (Titanic Song).
The building of the Titanic in Belfast was greatly celebrated and the sinking greatly mourned. Words and music by Willie Drennan.

 

12. Retreat Marches: 42nd Highlanders/Battle of the Somme
Scottish bagpipes have been exceptionally popular in Ulster since World War 1, perhaps just as popular as in Scotland itself. In this set of tunes, Robert Watt plays his Lowland Pipes which are more compatible with fiddles.

 

13. Londonderry Air
The world famous tune got its name as it was first notated by Jane Ross of Limavady in County Londonderry. It is of course the tune of famous Irish love song ‘Danny Boy’. It is also commonly used in Ulster for the hymns ‘O Happy Home’, ‘I Cannot Tell’ and ‘Lord of the Church’.

 

14. Skriegh o Day
This poem tells of what Willie Drennan imagined was going on outside when he was kept awake by the full moon, until he was interrupted by the sound and smell of the sizzling pan. Words by Willie Drennan, music by Willie Drennan & John Trotter.

 

15. Ulsterman’s Fareweel Tae Whuskey
This beautiful air probably has some connection with Neil Gow’s ‘Farewell to Whiskey’ it is also a common fifing tune in mid-Antrim, but this version we got from County Down based band ‘Appalachian Strings’).

 

16. Reel Medley: De’il Among the Tailors/Mason’s Apron
These two reels of Scottish origin are very popular in Ulster. De’il Among the Tailors is more or less the same tune as the Appalachian ‘Devil’s Dream’.

 

 

ENDANGERED SPECIES: USFO: 2003.

 

Performers

 

John Trotter: Fiddle, Fife, Highland Bagpipes, Vocals.
Valerie Quinn: Accordion
James Christie: Fiddle.
Eleesha Drennan: Fiddle.
Gareth Fulton: Flute, Tin Whistle, Fife, Vocals.
Klara Nelson
: Vocals.
Anita Lowry: Fiddle.
Davy Sloan: Vocals, Guitar.
Bob Speers: Vocals, Guitar.
Jackie Flavelle: Double Bass, Vocals.
Sammy Quinn: Drums.
Paddy McAuley
: Tin Whistle, Drums, Vocals.
Willie Drennan: Fiddle, Tin Whistle, Drums, Banjolin, Vocals.

 

Tracks

 

1. Endangered Species
The title track is a reference to the belief that Ulster-Scots cultural traditions and the individuals who represent this distinct identity, are indeed endangered due to a lack of recognition and respect from the appropriate authorities. It seems that in todays world of globalisation/commercialisation, there is need for homogenisation of cultures and control of culture.
The independent spirit of the Ulster-Scots people clearly interferes with the plans of the Powers That Be. It is hoped that other minority cultures and individuals of independent mind will identify with the sentiments of this piece of music. The lack of interest and respect for our distinct cultural heritages is surely a factor in today’s growing indifference to family and community values, and indeed to the lack of necessary concern for the sustainability of our local environment. In this context, we are all part of an endangered species. This piece of music is in three parts: a) slow air, b) defiant march, c) celebratory reel – celebrating that we are still alive and going strong. Music by Willie Drennan..

 

2. Gallowa Hills
Throughout history people have been migrating back and forth between Ulster and the Galloway region of southern Scotland. The verses chosen from this old traditional song reflect the affinity that many Ulster folk have with that part of Scotland.

 

3. The Girl I Left Behind Me
This old tune has been very popular throughout the British Isles since the 18th century and it is equally popular in North America. This is an excellent example of an Ulster-American crossover tune and is demonstrated on both fiddles, and Lambeg and fife.

 

4. Betsy Gray
Betsy Gray was one of the many victims of the United Irishmen Rebellion of 1798. This rebellion was instigated by Ulster Presbyterians and as in the American and French Revolutions, it was seen by its proponents as a conflict against the oppression of the aristocracy. Words and music by Bob Speers.

 

5. Annie Laurie
One of the most beautiful of all Scottish love songs, this traditional air is very popular in Ulster.

 

6. Fifers Medley Nummer Twa: i) Yin Bottle Mair
ii) Jackson’s Return also called Jack’s Return.
iii) Battle of Garvagh also called ‘Curse of Gowrie’
‘Lass of Gowrie
or ‘Kate faa Gowrie’.
These old tunes were commonly played on fifes as far back as the mid-nineteenth century and remain popular with Ulster fiddlers.

 

7. I’ll Tell Me Ma
Very popular Belfast street song.

 

8. Ay Sowl Heth Ay
It is believed that in the 5th century AD , St. Patrick spent 5 or 6 years as a slave on Slemish Mountain, County Antrim, before escaping and later returning as a missionary. This song, in the Ulster-Scots tongue of County Antrim, was written in the belief that Patrick’s spiritual growth was a direct result of his time spent in the tranquility of Slemish. Words and music by Willie Drennan.

 

9. Flower o County Down
Better known as ‘The Star of County Down’ – the Irish-Americanised version has become very popular. This older version uses a language more familiar to the people of County Down. Sung by John Trotter.

 

10. Marching Medley: i) Rosetree ii) Gladston’s Wake iii) South Down Militia

(trad)
With an estimated 600 marching bands in Northern Ireland, march tunes are understandably very common. Many tunes, such as the ones in this selection, appear on the set lists of the various genres of marching bands, and are also common in the ‘kitchen culture’ when played on fiddles, accordions etc.

 

11. Bonnie Woodgreen
The sacrifice of thousands of young Ulstermen in the two world wars, remains an important issue in the Ulster-Scots psyche. This song speaks of a young man from the Ballymena area, who, like many of his friends, went off to France in World War 1, never to return. The song is sung by Davy Sloan, who wishes to thank Davy Hanna of ‘The Smithfields’ for the words. It has been previously recorded by Joe Millar of ‘The Irish Rovers’.

 

12. Tae the Proota
The words recited in this piece are from James Orr, Bard of Ballycarry (1777-1816), who often wrote in the broad Ulster-Scots tongue of his native east Antrim. ‘Proota’ is Ulster-Scots for potato. Music by Willie Drennan.

 

13. The Lament
This was written by Robert Burns at a time when he was seperated from his sweetheart, Jean Armour. Originally, Burns set this to an air called ‘Scots Queen’. The tune use by the Folk Orchestra, however, ws composed by Willie Drennan.

 

14. Twa Chunes Fae Burns: Willie Brew’d a Peck o Malt/Macpherson’s Farewell
Traditional tunes from the 18th century are still played in Ulster and Scotland today, thanks largely to the work of Rabbie Burns (1759-1796). He collected hundreds of old airs, set songs to them, and recorded them with the Scots Musical Museum. During his lifetime, the works of Burns were well known in Ulster and his songs, poems and airs have been popular ever since.
To the second tune, we’ve added the words of the chorus of Burns’ song. McPherson was a fiddler who was condemned to death by hanging. Before being hanged, he defiantly played his fiddle and danced beneath the gallows tree. We particularly like this image.

 

15. One Hundred Pipers (trad)This tune is played in the normal timing of the Lambeg and fifing tradition but in this case it is the Highland bagpipes that provide the melody for the Lambegs and other drums.

16. Auld Lang Syne
This song is sung all over the world on New Years Eve and there is a perception that this is what the song is about. In Scotland and Ulster, however, and I’m sure other places, it has been traditionally sung at all kinds of anniversaries and social occasions. The song is really about the celeration of friendship and remembering good times spent amongst friends. The lead singer is Klara Nelson.
BRINGIN IT THEGITHER: USFO: 2004.
1. Missin Links: 2.59 i) Flooers o Edinburgh ii) Wind that Shakes the Barley iii) Corn Rigs
A set of reels with origins in Scotland that have long been popular in Ulster, throughout the British Isles and in North America.

2. Willie Nicholl’s Polka: 1.49
We adapted this tune for bagpipes from the playing of John Kennedy on his CD "The Girls Along the Road". Like ‘Jock’ Kennedy, Willie Nicholl was a renowned character, singer, tin-whistler and fifer from the Cullybackey area of County Antrim.

The tune was played for a local dance known as ‘Heel and Toe’ which was danced along with the once very popular square dances, such as ‘caledonians’, ‘quadrilles’ and ‘lancers’.
The featured piper is Ian Burrows.

3. Fare Ye Well Enniskillen: 4.10
This is the original version of a well known song which tells of a young lady’s admiration for a soldier of the Enniskillen Dragoons. Sung by John Trotter.

4. Wee Maggie Picken: 1.51
There are many versions of this light-hearted children’s song, and indeed it has obvious connections with ‘Katie Bairdie’ as sung in Scotland and England.

This song was recorded at Balnamore Primary School, County Antrim, on the occasion of Willie Drennan and John Trotter working with P6 and P7 classes of the school. Thanks to Mark Thompson for the idea and some original verses.

5. Dark Island/Athol Highlanders: 4.04
Okay, both these tunes have now been recorded almost as many times as ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘Scotland the Brave’ – but we’ve decided to include these on this recording due to endless requests to do so. It’s all to do with the way John Trotter plays them on his accordion.
6. A Man’s a Man For Aa That: 3.44
Rabbie Burns (1759-1796) wrote many brilliant songs and poems advocating social reform and equal opportunity for all people – and this one remains strangely relevant to this very day. You may find this version a wee bit unusual, especially as it fits in with the traditional timing of Lambeg and fife music. ‘Chanting’ of poetry is no new idea and has probably been performed at various times throughout the British Isles. Who invented rap anyway?
7. Killiecrankie: 2.11
Another gem from Burns cleverly expressing the futility of massive loss of life at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1698. The Highland army of Viscount Claverhouse won the day but Claverhouse himself was killed. Sung by John Trotter.
8. Gold in Every Pocket: 2.39
A popular County. Antrim fifing tune but presented much slower and gentler than normally heard.
The full name is ‘Gold in Every Pocket – But Mine Own’!
9. Ca the Yowes: 1.44
Again, another song from Burns. No surprise as even duringhis lifetime, the works of Burns were known and loved in Ulster – almost to the same extent as they were in his native Ayrshire. Sung here in the unaccompanied style by Fiona Trotter.
10. Killaloe: 2.08
This is possibly one of the most popular tunes in Ulster today. Refers to Killaloe, County Clare, but has been made popular in Northern Ireland by military bands, particularly the Royal Irish Rangers and the Ulster Defence Regiment. Nowadays, it is played by all sorts of marching bands, ensembles and folk bands. Whether heard on the street or on stage, Ulster crowds always know when to give a hooch at the appropriate breaks in the tune.
11. Muttonburn Stream: 1.46
Another unaccompanied song, sung by Billy Teare. It was written by Billy’s grandfather, William Hume of Ballycarry, County Antrim and has previously been recorded by Richard Hayward and Bobby Hanvey.
12. Willie Gillilan: 5.17
Written and sung by Cullybackey songwriter, Bob Speers. The tale of bold covenanter, Willie Gilliland, has previously been told in poetic form by Sir Samuel Ferguson and John Erskine (Ullans magazine Nummer 4).

13. William Orr’s Farewell: 3.12
The story of William Orr of Farranshane is unfortunately not well known and the principles he stood for often misunderstood.
William Orr was an active promoter of the United Irishmen Society which had been formed in Belfast in 1791 by Ulster Presbyterians to demand political and religious freedom for all people – following on from the ideals of the American and French revolutions.

By 1796, the government in Dublin had become increasingly concerned about the growing movement in Ulster. They decided that someone needed to be put to death to be made an example of. William Orr, the farmer from near Antrim town, was the man chosen.


He was arrested in September 1796 and sent to Carrickfergus Gaol on a contrived charge of treason, and a year later, was executed – much against the advice of the local authorities and to the horror of Ulster Presbyterians. As his coffin slowly made its way through the country roads of East Antrim on its way to burial at Templepatrick, thousands lined the route to mourn. "Remember Orr" became the local battle cry and his execution, undoubtedly, was a major factor in the violent revolt of June 1798.


This piece of music, written by Willie Drennan, attempts to capture the emotions of William Orr’s lst defiant moments. He walked on to the gallows with his head held high singing the 23rd Psalm and quoting scriptures.


With the noose around his neck, his last words were:

I am no traitor, I die a persecuted man for a persecuted country. Great Jehovah receive my soul. I die in the true faith of a Presbyterian.

He was aged 31 and left a wife and five children.

14. Blue Bonnets Over the Border: 3.35
A unique adaptation of this well known piping tune bringing in tin whistles, bass and the drumming style of the Ballyrashane Flute Band. Piper – Ian Burrows.

16. Mr. Lignite Man: 3.44
Lignite coal has been discovered to the east of the town of Ballymoney in County Antrim.

In 2003 an Australian based company gave the people of the area promises of fancy compensation packages in exchange for flattening vast acres of farmland, houses, churches; the destruction of the natural environment and the pollution of the surrounding area.

This song was recorded at Balnamore Primary School on Wednesday, June 25th, 2003 and on Friday June 27th, the lignite company announced the temporary suspension of their plans. While the power of song should never be underestimated, it is more likely the suspension was due to the common sense hostility of local people. Unfortunately, ther threat of destruction sometime in the future still remains.

16. Nae Lambeg Dunners/Heights of Alma: 3.06
On summer evenings parts of rural Ulster resonate with the sound of massive Lambeg drums roaring off in the distance. Willie Drennan grew up haring the sound of Lambegs and fifes, he then travelled abroad for several years before emigrating to Canada.

In this poem, Willie relates how similar the sights, sounds and smells of summer nights in Canada were to those of rural Ulster – with one exception.

The ‘Tullygarley, Glebe and Kellswater’ mentioned in the poem are townlands which have their own distinctive Lambeg rhythms. Several years ago, he returned to his native County Antrim and often contributes to the sound of music on summer evenings.

The accompanying fife tune, ‘Heights of Alma’ relates to the Crimean War of 1853-55. many of the fife tunes played today stem from the mid-nineteenth century when Lambegs and fifes were probably even more popular and widespread than they are today.

17. Hard Times: 5.44
This is one of the many songs written by famous 19th century American songwriter Stephen Foster.

Foster’s grandparents on both sides of his family had emigrated to America from Ulster, and he lived most of his life amongst the Scotch-Irish communities of Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Other well known songs of Foster include: ‘Oh Susannah’, ‘My Old Kentucky Home’, ‘Camptown Races’, ‘Old Folks at Home’ and’I Dream of Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair’.

‘Hard Times’ is sung by Caroline Drennan.

 

18. Gran Time Cummin: 3.26
Sung by ‘Low Country Boys’ (Mark Thompson, Ivan McFerran, Gibson Young and Graham Thompson).

In 1859, a massive evangelical revival began in the village of Kells near Ballymena. Thousands of people were converted to Christianity as the revival reached fever pitch and spread throughout Ulster. Coincidentally, a similar revival was taking place in the southern states of America.

Recently, Ballymena historian Jack Adams found the words of this old gospel song scribbled out in a bible belonging to Jeremiah Meneely who was present at the original ‘wee meeting’ in the Kells schoolhouse.

Somehow the words got into the hands of Ballymena exile Elish Agnew in Edinburgh, who sent them back to her brother in Ballymena, who passed it on to USFO and so here now you have it.

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