A Celtic Heritage (2004) - instrumental renditions of tunes from musical traditions with a Celtic influence

"Marcille Wallis is a fine hammered dulcimer player ... the most distinctive material here is her instrumental arrangements of familiar songs like "Barbara Allen" and "The Rose of Tralee" that emphasize the beauty of the old melodies." Tom Nelligan, Dirty Linen Magazine

"a beautiful collection of traditional Celtic instrumental music ... you will want to listen over and over again." Jean Emma Price, Rambles (Read the entire review at rambles.net)

Note this title is no longer available in physical CD format. It is available through iTunes, Amazon, and through most other popular digital formats, including streaming.

Track Listing

1   Petronella / Da New Rigged Ship – Petronella is the signature tune of a Scottish country dance, also called Petronella. Da New Rigged Ship, from the Shetland Island fiddle tradition, celebrates the rigging out with new sails and mast of a fishing boat. I learned this tune from the playing of Irish group, Altan. (Hammer dulcimer, fiddle (Frances), guitar)  (Click here to listen to this selection on the SoundCloud.)

2   Barbara Allen – There are countless versions of Barbara Allen. Well over three centuries old, its origins are probably somewhere in the British Isles. Versions are found as far afield as Italy and Scandanavia, and, of course, the U.S. According to one source, there are over 98 versions of the tune in Virginia alone! (Hammer dulcimer solo)

3   Rose in the Heather / The Unfortunate Rake / Andy deJarlis’s / Morrison’s – the first two tunes are from the Irish tradition; I chose Rake because Michael is a member of the Shenandoah Valley-based band “The Unfortunate Rakes.” André Desjarlais became a legendary Canadian fiddler; Morrison’s is a popular seisiun tune. (Hammer dulcimer, fiddle (Frances), guitar)

4   Eleanor Plunkett – this piece was written by the most famous of the Irish harper-composers, Turlough O’Carolan, in honor of Eleanor Plunkett of Robertstown, County Meath, Ireland. (Hammer dulcimer, guitar)

5   Miss Admiral Gordon’s Strathspey / O A’ the Airts – Miss Admiral Gordon’s was composed by William Marshall, one of the outstanding Scottish fiddlers of the 18th century. O A’ the Airts is an adaptation of the Marshall melody, written by Robert Burns in honor of his bride-to-be, Jean Armour. “O’ a’ the airts (directions) the wind can blaw, I dearly lo’e the west, For there the bonnie lassie lives, The lass that I lo’e best.” (Hammer dulcimer, harp, fiddle (Frances), guitar)

6   Jerusalem Ridge – what collection celebrating the Celtic heritage in music would be complete without a tune composed by the Father of Bluegrass Music, the legendary Bill Monroe? Thirteen year old bluegrass whiz-kid Matt Miller is featured. (Hammer dulcimer, fiddle (Matt), guitar)

7   The Rose of Tralee – For Andy. William Pembroke Mulchinock, of Tralee, County Kerry, wrote this song for his one true love, Mary O’Connor. Words to the song betray none of the tragedy of their romance: he was a wealthy Protestant, she, a beautiful Catholic peasant. Exiled in India for a period, William returned to Ireland, hoping to claim Mary as his bride, only to find that his beloved “Rose of Tralee” had died of consumption. (Hammer dulcimer, guitar)

8   David Glen’s Jig – David Glen was the most prestigious and influential piping “name” of the late 19th Century. Ann Margaret learned this tune from the playing of Scottish group, Ossian. (Hammer dulcimer, harp, guitar)

9   Jock O’ Hazeldean – the ballad by Sir Walter Scott tells the story of a lass who is arranged to be married to a young chieftain, though she pines for her true love, Jock o’ Hazeldean. Unlike the tragic outcome of the typical ballad, this one happily concludes on her wedding day: “The lady was not seen; She’s o’er the border, and awa wi’ Jock o’ Hazeldean!” (Hammer dulcimer, harp)

10   Lochleven Side / Atholl Highlanders – Lochleven Castle is near Kinross, in Scotland. The Duke of Atholl, chief of Clan Murray, is the only British subject who is allowed to maintain a private army, the old 77th Highland Regiment, also known as the Atholl Highlanders. (Hammer dulcimer, fiddle (Frances))

11   Greensleeves – Legend has it that England’s Henry VIII wrote this ballad for a bored Anne Boleyn. Whether or not that is true, it is certain that the melody existed in the 16th Century and may in fact be much older. (Hammer dulcimer solo)

12   Off to California / Blair Atholl / Mason’s Apron – Off to California, a hornpipe, and Mason’s Apron, a reel, are popular tunes from the Irish tradition. I first heard Blair Atholl played by the late, brilliant Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham; as far as I know, it’s associated with Blair Castle and the Earldom of Atholl. (Hammer dulcimer, fiddle (Frances), guitar)

13   Inis Oirr – or Inisheer, the Eastern Island, is one of the three Aran Islands, which are situated across the mouth of Galway Bay, Ireland. According to legend Galway Bay was once a large lake known as Loch Lurgan which in ancient times eroded its banks, leaving the Aran Islands forever battling against the mighty waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Thomas Walsh composed this beautiful air. (Hammer dulcimer, harp, fiddle (Frances), guitar)

14   Whiskey ‘Fore Breakfast – This joyous tune is in every old-time musician’s repertoire, it seems! I also play mountain dulcimer on this one. (Hammer dulcimer, fiddle (Frances), guitar)

15   When You and I Were Young, Maggie – by North American composer J.A. Butterfield. I’m told that my great-grandfather, Cicero Harris Dillingham, played the fiddle and that this was his favorite tune. Here’s my rendition on the dulcimer, Grandpa, dedicated to you and all of those who are a part of my Celtic Heritage. (Hammer dulcimer, fiddle (Frances))

I’ve called this project A Celtic Heritage for three distinct, yet intertwined, reasons. First, it is the name of my production company. Second, there is my ancestry, which I trace to the Scots-Irish of Southern Appalachia, as well as to Ireland and Scotland. My very name, Wallis, is derived from the Old English word waelisc, or stranger, the term that Anglo-Saxons applied to the fierce Celtic tribes of Wales and the West of England. Third, it’s the heritage of the music. “Celtic” is a distinct style that is almost immediately recognizable upon its first hearing. Many of the tune selections are directly from Ireland or Scotland, yet the echoes of a Celtic past can be heard in the music of other parts of the British Isles, in the New England and Canadian dance tunes, as well as in the Old-Time Appalachian and Bluegrass tunes.

My thanks to Frances Pisacane, Ann Margaret McKillop, Matt Miller, and Michael DeLalla … to Nancy and Lew Ambler … to Mary Pete and Mac Martin, and particularly Alex and Wally … to Donna Chapman, Ann and Cal Lloyd … to Becky Davis … to my mother, Camille Wallis … to Lisa and Marsden Wallis, Adamarie, Robert, and Lindsey … to Jerry Lane … especially to Greg McGrath … and to my heavenly father for the blessings of music, friends and family.

My hammer dulcimer was built by Sam Rizzetta of Inwood, W VA
Michael DeLalla appears courtesy of Falling Mountain Music, Winchester, VA
Recorded by Michael DeLalla at Arrowhead Pond Studio, aka “Mac’s Shack,” Arcadia, FL
Mixed and mastered by Michael DeLalla, Falling Mountain Music, Wincester, VA
Cover photograph by Christopher Murphy, Silver Spring, MD
Graphic Design by Buffalo Graffix, Port Charlotte, FL
Duplication by Oasis CD and Cassette Duplication, Sperryville, VA

Celtic Heritage, LLC
(941) 625-8544
www.celticheritageproductions.com