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Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?

Joe Offer 27 Oct 10 - 08:58 PM
katlaughing 27 Oct 10 - 11:07 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 28 Oct 10 - 04:21 AM
Zen 28 Oct 10 - 04:35 AM
Fred McCormick 28 Oct 10 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 28 Oct 10 - 05:16 AM
Manitas_at_home 28 Oct 10 - 05:42 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 10 - 11:22 AM
Liberty Boy 28 Oct 10 - 12:10 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 10 - 02:06 PM
katlaughing 28 Oct 10 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 28 Oct 10 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,^&* 28 Oct 10 - 04:16 PM
Mo the caller 29 Oct 10 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Chris Brady 29 Oct 10 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,Chris Brady 29 Oct 10 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Robbie in Portland Oregon 17 Dec 10 - 02:19 PM
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Subject: What's the Brush Dance?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 08:58 PM

In the Kerry ai o thread, there was mention of Máirtín de Cógáin, a man from Cork now apparently living in Minnesota. I met Mairtin when he was on a concert tour with Jimmy Crowley. He said nice things about Mudcat, so naturally I liked him. And hey, he put on a great performance.

So, on his Website, Máirtín de Cógáin makes a big deal about having made a world record by leading 167 people in the Brush Dance at a Celtic festival in Jackson, Mississippi (Video here - click) [this is NOT the Jackson, Mississippi, I once knew]. Oh, and here's a closer view (click). Almost looks like a Morris Dance.

So, anyhow, what can somebody tell us about the Brush Dance?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 11:07 PM

Looks like great, fun exercise and a great way to get the sweeping up done, Joe!


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 04:21 AM

It';s a bit of a party piece. I have seen it done mostly by young people (my son took a workshop when he was twelve, five years ago, some of his friends are more into dancing and are fierce good at it). It seems like one of these things that was pretty much gone that, over the past ten years ors , has suddenly become popular. It's danced to reels and is a solo dance although you do get people to do it simultaneously.


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: Zen
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 04:35 AM

A very old fella did a lovely impromptu and highly energetic brush dance at a session I was at in Clifden, Connemara last year.


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 05:11 AM

Joe, try googling broom dance. I've never come across it in Ireland, which probably means I've been looking in the wrong places. But it used to be fairly common in England at one time, as a solo dance and without the vaccuum cleaner (tut tut).

The last person I heard of who did it as part of his local tradition was a guy called Ken, who died about ten years ago. he used to perform it in the Miners Arms in Priestweston in Shropshire.


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 05:16 AM

As I said Fred, the brush dance has picked up greatly in Ireland in recent years. I never saw it at al until maybe fifteen years ago, these days I see it all the time (well, regularly anyway). It has come in with the whole Seán Nos dancing revival.



Local girl doing brush dance, friend of my son's by the way


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 05:42 AM

I've seen both the English and Irish versions. The Irish makes more use of stepping but the English version tend to be a bit more athletic.


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 11:22 AM

As Peter said, it has re-appeared in West Clare over the last 15 years. It was very popular here up to the middle of the 20th century, but it almost died out.
One of the only older generation of dancers who danced it here regularly was the lovely (late) Joan Looney, a Kerrywoman who married in to the area.
Other than that, young concertina player Edel Fox dances it.
We recorded octogenarian singer Martin Reidy describing it as it was danced in the twenties and thirties - he lilted the tune he said it was danced to; he called it 'The Yellow Wattle' - he also said the tune 'The Yellow Goat' was used, but this may be the same tune with a different name - not sure; maybe a muscician out there might know (Peter?)
The Irish Travellers also had it, but we never found anybody who could dance it among them.
One Traveller jokingly (I think) associated it with the custom of 'Jumping the Broom'; the practice of an unmarried couple embarking on a life together by stepping over a broom (or some such ceremony). This latter was particularly associated with the navvies who worked on the railways and canals in Britain in the 19th century. Unmarried couples living together in my old homeplace, Liverpool are still said to be "living over the brush".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: Liberty Boy
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 12:10 PM

Jim, I think Martin was probably talking about An Gabharaín Buí (The Little Yellow Goat)which is a dance that Dan Furey and James Keane from Labasheeda used do. As far as know its danced with two crossed sticks and is a little like a scottish sword dance. But, there are similarities with the brush dance which may have evolved from it.


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 02:06 PM

"Jim, I think Martin was probably talking about An Gabharaín Buí (The Little Yellow Goat)"
I think you are right as far as the title of the dance goes Jerry - Martin spoke about and described both the broom and the stick dances, remembered from his youth; I'm probably confusing the two.
The broom dance was also described and played to us on the whistle by Stevie O'Halloran of Knocknahila - not too far from where Martin lived.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 03:33 PM

This is all so interesting and I really enjoyed the videos.

Joe, a funny for you, though...I though it all started with Bert just about 5.17 minutes into that video.*bg* (meaning no disrespect to real brush dancers/traditions.)


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 03:51 PM

By the way, the 'world record' Joe mentions, 167 brush dancers in Mississippi, pales in comparison to the event in aid of the charity Goal hosted by a school in Galway that brought between 350-400 brushdancers to Eyre square in Galway city some time last year (I don't remember the exact details but read it in the paper at the time).


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: GUEST,^&*
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 04:16 PM

Report on that record...


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 29 Oct 10 - 05:10 AM

I've only heard it called 'broom dance'. When we go to an Irish Set Dance ceili (in Manchester) there is often an interval spot of solo dancing, either girls doing fancy stepping or men doing the broom dance. Starting with a broom on the ground and dancing round it, then raising one end higher and higher to dance over it. The Welsh also have this tradition. There is an English dance 'Bacca Pipes', danced round and over long churchwarden clay pipes crossed on the ground, and of course the Scottish Sword dance over crossed swords.


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: GUEST,Chris Brady
Date: 29 Oct 10 - 06:58 AM

The 'Yellow Haired Goat' or 'An Gabharín Buí' is an Irish traditional crossed-stick dance. It used to be known throughout County Clare. It is referenced in Breandán Breathnach's book 'Folk Music and Dances of Ireland.' In the 1990s Dan Furey was the last one who knew it, and he taught it to his neighbours twins Emer and Ciara McCarthy of Lakyle, Co. Clare. In the film Dan plays for the girls. This is the only known recording of the dance. Notation can be found at:

See:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du8CXlJ2KYQ

http://chrisbrady.itgo.com/yhgoat/yhgoat.htm

The Irish brush or English broom dance is something entirely different. There are loads of clips of the Irish brush dance on YouTube.

Chris B.


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: GUEST,Chris Brady
Date: 29 Oct 10 - 08:02 AM

I refer you to the definitive article on the subject of dancing on or over things:

http://chrisbrady.itgo.com/dance/stepdance/trad_step_dancing.htm


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Subject: RE: Máirtín de Cógáin: What's the Brush Dance?
From: GUEST,Robbie in Portland Oregon
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 02:19 PM

In 1995 i was in Galway City for a music festival. Late one evening during a shut in at a local pub a kid from a nearby Irish-speaking penninsula drunkenly began doing the dance which seems to be described here. As everyone was shouting with enthusiasm in Irish i couldnt understand what it was called. One woman said it was a sword dance. The kid was 16 and he and his mates only spoke Irish and they looked like provincial farm boys to me. What he danced involved the quadrant steps of a sword dance then hed do flips and leg sweeps and hand stands similar to a breakdancer, but hed hold poses and it was so ferocious and clearly martial that i thought it was a cultural holdover from a warlike past. Like the broom dance, he'd lift one end then perform steps around it. Hed use his feet and knees even twirling the stick around his neck and waist, but not his hands. The pride the old timers had in this lad was evident from their tears and emotion. Ill never forget it til the day i die. This was clearly an old and local tradition, not some import like a morris dance.


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