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David Kincaid | Tabhair Dom Do Lámh

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Folk: Irish Traditional World: Celtic Moods: Instrumental
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Tabhair Dom Do Lámh

by David Kincaid

“Give Me Your Hand” in English, this is one of the best loved Irish airs of all time, composed in the 17th century by the blind harper Ruaidri Dáll Ó Catháin (c.1570-c.1650).
Genre: Folk: Irish Traditional
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1. Tabhair Dom Do Lámh
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Album Notes
“Tabhair dom do Lámh” in Irish, "Give Me Your Hand" is a tune from the early 17th century by Ruaidri Dáll Ó Catháin (c.1570-c.1650). I first heard this tune on an album by the great Irish band Planxty, which they had paired together with another classic “Raggle Taggle Gypsy.” It turns out that there are more recorded versions of this than can be kept track of, and for good reason - it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed. A few years later I stumbled upon another version while visiting the historic town of Gettysburg, PA, hearing another brilliant version while dining at the historic landmark/restaurant there called the Dobbin House. I went into their gift shop later to ask about it, and the showed me the CD, an album called “Celtic Visions.” Now, these sort of albums can often be a bit cheesy, but this one was not, extremely well done and the tune was done with an orchestra and some exceptional traditional musicians, with the whole thing being produced and an orchestral arrangement by John Mock. My version here is based on his orchestration, with my principal instrumentation being sort of a mandolin chamber orchestra.

It was done as a wedding gift for my cousin back in 2008 - I couldn’t attend his wedding in California because I had to be on tour in Europe at the time, so I put together this recording and sent it to he and his bride so they could dance to it at their wedding, which they did. Since then, the few people who’ve heard it all urged me to release it, saying something like this shouldn’t remain in obscurity - my cousin being one of those people. I liked the idea, but didn’t really have any kind of an album format on which to release it. It was suggested that it be released as a single here on CD Baby, which I’d never done, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, and can present it for you now.

This piece, composed perhaps in honor of a lady, is one of the most widely recorded pieces of Irish traditional music. Its composer, Ruaidhrí Dall Ó Catháin (Rory Dall O'Cahan); possibly born c. 1580, Co. Antrim - possibly died 1653 at Eglinton Castle; was an Irish harper and composer. As with many medieval and early modern Irish musicians, Ruaidhrí was blind (hence his nickname, Ruaidhrí Dall = blind Rory). Unlike the vast number of travelling musicians, he was a gentleman by birth, his family being hereditary allies of the O'Neill dynasty. Their territory was Keenaght (barony), now part of County Londonderry in Northern Ireland. Reflecting his origins, Ó Catháin "traveled into Scotland attended by the retinue of a gentle man of large property, and when in Scotland, according to the accounts preserved there also, he seemed to have traveled in the company of noble persons."

Composition of Tabhair dom do Lámh:
"Proud and spirited, he resented anything in the nature of trespass on his dignity. Among his visits to the houses of Scottish nobility, he is said to have called at Eglinton Castle, Ayrshire. Knowing he was a harper, but being unaware of his rank, Lady Eglinton commanded him to play a tune. Taking offense at her peremptory manner, Ó Catháin refused and left the castle. When she found out who her guest was her ladyship sought and effected a speedy reconciliation. This incident furnished a theme for one of the harper's best compositions. Tabhair Damh do Lámh (or Give Me Your Hand). The name has been Latinized into Da Mihi Manum. The fame of the composition and the occasion which gave birth to it reaching the ear of King James the Sixth, induced him to send for the composer. Ó Catháin accordingly attended at the Scottish court and created a sensation." "His performance so delighted the royal circle that King James I familiarly laid his royal hand on the harper's shoulder. When asked by one of the courtiers if he realized the honour thus conferred on him, to their consternation Rory replied: 'A greater than King James has laid his hand on my shoulder.' Who was that man?' cried the King. 'O’Neill, Sire,' proudly answered Rory standing up."

Produced and arranged by David Kincaid

Recorded at Observatorio Studios, NYC, April-August 2008

Remastered at Logan Sound Studio, Staten Island, NY, Feb. 2019

Artwork layout by DK

David Kincaid - Mandolin, Mandola, Octave Mandolin, Bass, Guitar, Tin Whistle and Keyboard



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