Music of Ireland, Scotland and Beyond

Walking on Air

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Walking On Air takes its name from the magical novel by Michele's father, Pierre Delattre. To him, and the fine musicians and friends who have inspired us, this album is dedicated. Traditional Celtic folk songs passed down through the generations.

  1. Last Winter Was A Hard One Two Irish-American women discuss their husbands, the weather, unemployment and the bosses’ knack for playing one group of immigrants off another. Learned from Joe Hickerson (and composed in 1880 by Jim O’Neill and Jack Conroy, according to scholar-musician Mick Moloney). Michele, lead vocal.
  2. Manuel’s Jig/Skipper Lost His Guernsey/Les Patates/Brûlées à Gerald Thomas Jamie learned these three Newfoundland tunes from Kelly Russell of St. John’s, a great collector of traditional music of the region. The first two jigs come from Rufus Guinchard of the Northern Peninsula. The reel that follows was composed by the great fiddler Émile Benoît, who died in 1992.
  3. Come Boat Me O’er Bonnie Prince Charlie might have been king of Scotland and England.Instead he has inspired countless creative songs, including this anthem attributed to Robert Burns (learned from Jean Redpath). Ross, lead vocal.
  4. Isle of Man This bit of fiction, composed by Don, concerns a place none of us have ever been. Our apologies for any unintended slander. Don, lead vocal.
  5. Paddy’s Lamentation Even less fortunate than the average Irish refugee, the man in this song arrived just in time to fight in the Civil War. We first heard this sung by Paul Brady. Don, lead vocal.
  6. Constitutional Movement This strain of Irish politics seems to have vanished into obscurity, perhaps overwhelmed by violent events. We learned this from the McPeake family of Belfast. Ross, lead vocal.
  7. Heights of Alma This Scottish number with a calypso beat, from the singing of Nic Jones, celebrates mostly forgotten events in the Crimean War. Ross, lead vocal. 8.Schottishe/La Polka du Quartier/La Polka d’Arthon The untitled schottische comes from the playing of Gaston Pouget, from Correze in south central France. Jean Blanchard, of the well-known French group La Bamboche, was our source for the polkas that follow.
  8. Green Grow the Laurels An Irish cousin of “Green Grow the Lilacs” that we learned from the singing of Dolores Keane. Michele, lead vocal.
  9. Paddy on the Railway Irish hands helped lay the rails of Britain and America. We modified this well-known song a bit, and added mention of John Ireland, 19th century archbishop of St. Paul, Minn. Don, lead vocal.
  10. Lament for James Moray Esquire of Abercairney/Captain White The air that begins this medley was composed by the legendary Scottish fiddler, Neil Gow. “Captain White” is a popular jig in Scotland, Ireland and Canada. Jamie borrowed the combination from Johnny Doherty of Donegal.
  11. Broomfield Hill With the aid of a handy witch, a young lady triumphs in the classic wager with a young blade. This version comes from Martin Carthy. Michele, lead vocal.
  12. Capetown A song of peaceful protest. Words by Don, to the tune of “Bean Dubh an Ghleanna” (“Dark Woman of the Glenn”) as sung by our good friend Daithi Sproule. Don, lead vocal. Don Clark: mandolin, cittern, guitar, vocals Michele Delattre: concertina, dulcimer, vocals Jamie Gans: fiddle, viola, whistle, vocals Ross Sutter: guitar, bodhran, bones vocals Special thanks for John Anderson for playing bass on tracks 1, 5, 7, 8 and 9 Marcus Wise plays tabla on "Heights of Alma" Produced by Walking On Air Engineered by Mike Owens Recorded in 1984 at Blackberry Way Studios Minneapolis, Minn. Thanks to Mike, Fred Waltz and Bob Hughes for helping convert the lp to digital form. Cover art by Mary Lofgren Band contact: Don Clark (
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