Playing Irish Music at the Dalriada Connections Concert in Campbeltown, Argyll.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Dick Glasgow .... {aka Ptarmigan}
I play and promote the playing of Traditional Music, on the Causeway Coast of North Antrim, on the island of Ireland.
You'll find details here on the various aspects of my musical life, including my Music Tuition in Primary Schools, the music my wife and I play for Weddings and the music we play in costume for Medieval Events & Films. 
You can also check out my pages on the various Musical Instruments I play, including the FiddleMandolinTenor BanjoTenor GuitarAnglo ConcertinaEnglish Concertina & Hammered Dulcimer
There are a few details too, on some of my more extravegent ventures, like my old Black Nun Folk Club  & the Traditional Music festival I organised for Bushmills: The Causeway Dulcimer Festival

You will also find details of the local weekly Pub Sessions I anchor, at the House of McDonnell, Ballycastle, the Bushmills Inn, Bushmills. 
Feel free to comment on anything you see or read here, or if you want more details, just drop me an eMail
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy browsing & to put you in the mood, here is an example of the music I enjoy playing. 
An Irish Reel, with myself on Fiddle & Co. Antrim musician John Hughes on Uilleann Pipes.


2: My role as a Music Tutor!

Having been blessed with a love of Traditional Music, handed down to me through my Grandfather who was a Piper & Fiddler & my Great Grandfather who was also a Fiddler, I feel I must do my best to pass this interest on, to as many people as possible.
Of course it can be a hard job, when you end up teaching in locations like this one below, Glenariff.

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 The photo above, shows myself & the late Mary Mulholland on Piano plus John Moulden on Bodhran and a group of my students from different backgrounds, performing at a Cross Community concert in Coleraine, Co. Derry, in the late 1990s.
The cross community aspect of my work is very important to me & I teach daily, on a number of instruments, in local Primary Schools of all denominations. 
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I also teach in the evening to adults & with Sabine give talks in schools on the history & development of musical instruments.

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For more information on this work, please check out my School Blogs 

Also, these pages from my own website.

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View a Slideshow of photos of myself & my students.

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At the Northern Lights Fest in Ballycastle, in 1996, I was invited to teach the Banjo/Mandolin class and the following year I was given the role of Music School Director for the festival.
Fiddling on stage in the Diamond, Ballycastle at the Northern Lights Fest.

 Northern Lights Fest, Ballycastle
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Here's a video of me demonstrating the art of the Hammered Dulcimer, an instrument long associated with the Glens of Antrim.

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3: Recordings, Radio, TV & Film Work!

Like many full time musicians, I have a number of strings to my bow.
Put another way, when it comes to Traditional Music, I am quite content to be a jack of all trades ..... & master of none!
A few years ago, I produced two tapes and one CD, promoting the music of this region.
Tape one:  Rathlin Sound
Tape Two:  To the Bridge 
For these tapes, I chose numerous local musicians
to play the variety of North Antrim tunes I selected for this project.
I wrote a number of tunes especially for this project.
'From a Northern Shore'
Traditional Music from the Causeway Coast
by Dick Glasgow

Quote #1 “Dick is a Scot and lives in Co. Antrim. He is a man who's happy and contented in two music traditions, and this is reflected in the tunes he has composed.” by Aidan O'Hara 

Quote #2 "It’s a magnificent CD from the great Scotsman living in Co. Antrim. 
A wonderful mixture between Irish and Scottish traditions."  
by Mich Nielsen

Quote #3 "The tunes are mostly original, with the traditional one here and there. Dick's own evoke memories of fellow musicians, the local scenery and characters." by Thomas Keller

If you would like to judge for yourself, you can listen to many of the tracks from the CD, plus a few more {24 in all}, played on a variety of instruments, at my:
If you have a strong constitution, you can also listen here to a song from the CD, which I wrote in memory of the late Tommy Cecil - a former Ferry Man on Rathlin Island.
 Rathlin Ferry 
A few years back, local North Antrim Rhymer Charlie Gillen approached me & asked if I would like to produce the music for a CD project he was working on. I of course jumped at the opportunity & after gathering up a group of musicians, & using my own online nickname for the title of the group, I arranged a number of pieces of music & sets of tunes, which I felt gently complimented the Rhymes.
 'Whun a' the Kye had Names'
By Charlie Gillen & Ptarmigan

Quote #1 "Musically this album is a little treat, & don't be put off by the "Scottish Traditional Music" in the title, the tunes here have a definite Irish accent."  
"They also point to the wealth of the musical tradition we share across the two communities."  
I composed an atmospheric piece of music, The Mysts of Loughareema, for a CD which celebrated a huge Medieval event which took place at Shanes Castle, an estate I actually worked on as a Beat Keeper, back in the early 1970s.
Anyway, the music was performed by Sabine & I on Hammered Dulcimer, Bowed Psaltery, Clarsach, Viol, Renaisce Flute, Side Drum, Rainmaker, Harmonium & Bombarde.
To celebrate the musical achievements of a number of my young Ballycastle students, I recorded & produced a CD of their playing, which was great fun.
 The Bandits
Local Storyteller Liz Weir generously gave her time to be involved in this project & her stories certainly helped to make the CD a really special memory for the kids.
You can read a review of this wee project by Aidan O'Hara ... Here!
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A few years ago, a film crew arrived in Ballintoy to film a TV advert, promoting Ireland as a holiday destination. The Harbour cafe recieved a face lift, and suddenly found ifself with stained glass windows and a thatched roof.
You can see myself & Dominic McNabb fiddling, to the right of this photograph.

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When the opportunity arrises, I am also delighted to be given an opportunity to promote the music on TV on shows like the BBCs
  Blas Ceoil
I play the Fiddle in these four videos from the Blas Ceoil show, along with two very fine musicians Ciaran Kelly & Ciaran Curran
These were filmed in the Old Pals Bar in Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh.

In these four Blas Ceoil videos, I play Anglo Concertina, Tenor Guitar, Mandolin & Hammered Dulcimer, along with three other usual suspects from our weekly session, Adrian Jefferies, Jerry O'Donnell & Paul McAuley.
This time the show was filmed in The House of McDonnell, Ballycastle Co. Antrim.

I also appeared on BBC 1's 'Country Tracks' 
 The show ended up at one of my weekly sessions in the Springhill Bar, Portrush, where, as well as featuring clips of the musicians & their music, I was interviewed at length by the lovely Ellie Harrison and gave her a brief lesson in the art of playing the Bodhran.

On the new BBC Ulster Scots website there's a recording of an interview,
 I gave in 2004, where I express a few thoughts
on Ulster Scots Music.
A few years back, Colum Sands kindly invited me to play on his long standing radio prog, which gave me an opportunity to promote the sound of the Hammered Dulcimer & remind folks of it's strong connection with Co. Antrim.
For the movie Your Highness, myself, my wife Sabine & friends Sam & Ferris recorded a few tracks of music for the soundtrack. We also appeared briefly in the film itself ... but don't blink!
For a number of years I wrote a weekly column Traditional Notes, for the Ballymoney Times. 
Here are links to two of those articles, which promoted all manner of traditional aspects of both Irish & Scottish culture in North Antrim.
  Nat Magee RIP 
 Bring Back the Hammered Dulcimer 
Our group Scad the Beggars, has just been recorded playing Scottish Traditional Music & Song for a forthcoming series of Santer, a TV series which promotes the Scottish aspects of the culture in Northern Ireland ...... so watch this space!
To conclude this section, here's a video clip of my most famous teaching situation.
This is right at the start of the movie 'The Boys & Girl from County Clare'.
I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to, not only play my Fiddle in this scene, but also to choose the tune for the scene, the jig The Rolling Waves, an old favourite of mine.
Needless to say our playing was dubbed over by the film's soundtrack.