Starry Nights Of Shetland (or The Breamish)

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is a traditional waltz from Shetland. Other names for the same tunes are "A Starry Night For A Ramble" (a name also used for an unrelated jig) or "A Starry Night In Shetland". It's popular in Northumbria under the name "The Breamish".

    This arrangement for contra dancing is by Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni. I have previously recorded it rather slower and we play it fairly regularly with our group. I thought I had uploaded it here previously, but I can't find it so I'm starting a new thread.

    This new version is more the speed at which it's played in sessions, leaving out Evelyn's second mandolin part -- I thought that part works better when played slow but at the faster tempo makes the arrangement too dense.

    1898 Giuseppe Vinaccia mandolin
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar

  2. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Nice waltz, played very well, Martin. I admire your ability to switch from tremolo to non-tremolo, play the tremolo notes their full value and be in time on the next note.
    I foind the sheet music for melody and chords and played it at about the tempo as your first recording.
  3. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Two good deliveries of a great Shetland tune, M and C.
  4. Frithjof
    Both version with a good tremolo as usual.
  5. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Lost for words tonight, love the tremolo played by both of you.
  6. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, all! I'm not entirely sure why my video is so overexposed -- the webcam sets brightness automatically, so I don't think I can affect it in settings. May have to do with me trying a different camera for my previous video (St Francis & The Birds) where I had to change the brightness setting as it was too dark.

    Christian: I like it at the slower speed, too. Just wanted to try the faster one for variety. Here are a few Youtube examples, covering a pretty wide range of speeds:

    Dick Glasgow
    Kathryn Tickell
    Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham
    Richard Butler

  7. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I have combined Starry Nights of Shetland with The Stronsay Waltz from Orkney. Mandolin, octave and guitar and not a tremolo harmed in the making of this video!

    I previously posted Scalloway Voe with The Stronsay Waltz back in May 2016. The Shetland and Orkney tunes are big favourites in local sessions here.

    I have just acquired new video editing software a couple of days ago, Movavi Video Editor, and am just learning the basics of it, hence the use of the ready-made backgrounds. I think I like it, but time will tell; lots of small differences from the Sony Vegas I have been using.

  8. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    A big Thanks All from me too and a big WOW to John for his video. Flawless playind as usual and fine video editing, John!
  9. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Sounds great with that slow tempo John and interesting to see how you get lift with those exaggerated hesitations.
  10. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Christian and Simon. I think the single notes where Martin and Christian have used tremolo are what you are calling hesitations, Simon. The waltz beat in my head keeps things steady as I play, I hope.
  11. Bren
    I originally knew "Starry Night for a Ramble" from this Bushwhackers' waltz medley from 1980:

    More recently, I have known it from Shetland waltz medleys usually involving Rona's Voe and Isles of Gletness.
  12. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    It’s actually where you play just in front of the beat or just behind it, John. (I think)

    You seem to do it where there is an emotional rise or fall with the different melodic phrasing. It's very subtle, and sometimes you don't do it, But more often than not you do! it highlights the different feelings in the tune without making it obvious. I think sometimes also you play the notes louder or softer and that too can appear to make the timing advance or hang back.
    And you don't often use tremolo either which can you give individual notes more autonomy in their expression, if that makes any sense.
    -it's late now, I'm beginning to ramble...
  13. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Wonderful rendition of this song John, that seems to have caught the eyes of many. All are excellent and enjoyable to listen to.
  14. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Bren, thanks for the link to the Bushwhackers medley. Interesting to hear how different the tunes sound when played by a band I am assuming (from their name and the kangaroo on banjo on the album cover) are Australian. Starry Night for a Ramble sounds so different the way they play it in the medley. I like the linking tune they play between each of the main tunes in the set - possibly one of those progression waltzes where the dancers change partners at the end of each tune?

    Simon, I think that what you hear in my playing is more to do with the fact that I am not using a metronome, so that would account for my possible playing ahead of or behind the beat. I almost always record the melody first then add in the backing. I am aware of varying the volume of phrases or notes, and also playing closer to or further from the bridge to change the textures.

    Ginny, thanks for your kind comments, both here and on the YT channel.
  15. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks for the Bushwhackers link, Bren -- I had forgotten about that band although I actually own a copy of their "Dance Album" which has this track! An Australian friend-of-a-friend introduced me to the Bushwackers back in the 1990s (at various times they spelled it with or without the second H). They are an Australian folk/rock band with a very changeable line-up, clearly heavily influenced by Fairport Convention and with a similarly variable quality in output. Their good stuff is very good indeed (don't ask about the bad stuff) and their best period was from 1977 to 1981 with a sequence of four good albums, including the all-instrumental "Dance Album" in 1980. There's a decent 2CD compilation ("So Far... 1974-1994") which gives a good introduction for those interested.

  16. Frithjof
    Thanks, John, for this fine rendition.
  17. Frankdolin
    Lovely John! You have a great intuition for putting two songs together.
  18. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Frithjof and Frank. Creating sets is always quite a personal thing, Frank, so extra thanks for that.
  19. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    I find this combination of astronomy and licentious dancing interesting, because I didn't understand it for most of my life. My theory is that ordinary people are aware of the night skies only when leaving a public establishment at closing time, zigzagging down the street to the last rhythm they happened to have heard there, which can be a waltz referring to the stars (as in this case) or a tango referring to the moon...

    I am not completely detached from this, though, because I remember the most spectacular Perseid meteor shower I ever saw was after leaving McGann's pub in Doolin, Co Clare, Ireland one August night.
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