Sheehan's Reel | Bowing Down Home

About this tune

Sheehan’s Reel is played by fiddlers all across Prince Edward Island, but is somewhat more in favor east of Charlottetown. From all appearances, it has been in circulation on PEI for generations.

Island fiddlers from all regions have found this tune an ideal vehicle for carrying the judiciously placed bowing accents that enliven dancers. Of special note: “Young Peter” Chaisson’s elegant rendition, Elliott Wight’s highly syncopated approach, and the special excitement apparent in the Eddy Arsenault version, in which his daughter Hélène Arsenault Bergeron can be heard step-dancing and “whooping” in the background.

Sheehan’s Reel appears in print – perhaps for the first time under this title – in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland (1903); it subsequently was published under the title Lord Wellington in Allan’s Irish Fiddler (c. 1920). In the 1930s, Irish fiddle greats Michael Coleman and James Morrison recorded the tune as Wellington and Lord Wellington, respectively. It has been recorded countless times since then, generally under the title Sheehan’s Reel, by musicians from the Irish and various North American traditions.

Notation for this tune as played by “Young Peter” Chaisson is in Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island.

 

Tune Selections

Arsenault, Eddy - Duke of Gordon's Birthday / Sheehan's Reel / Georgina Campbell Accompanied by: Grady Poe, gtr; Ken Perlman, bjo
Evangeline Coast / East Prince
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Chaisson, Peter - 'Young' - Duke of Gordon's Birthday / Sheehan's Reel / Heather on the Hill / Poppy Leaf / College Hornpipe Accompanied by: Kevin Chaisson, gtr
Northeast Kings
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Crane, Cynthia Jay (piano) - Fay's Hornpipe / Sheehan's Reel Accompanied by Roland Jay, fiddle
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Jay, Roland - Sheehan's Reel Accompanied by: Cynthia Jay Crane, pno
Eastern Queens
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Kearney, Joe - Sheehan's Reel Accompanied by: unacc
South Kings
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Koughan, Bill - Sheehan's Reel / Paddy on the Turnpike Accompanied by: Arlene Koughan Powers, pno; Shirley Koughan MacDonald, dancing steps
Eastern Queens
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MacDonald, Francis - Sheehan's Reel / Pigeon on the Gate, G-Setting / Paddy on the Turnpike Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
Northeast Kings
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MacPhee, George - Sheehan's Reel Accompanied by: unacc
Northeast Kings
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Sheehan, Charlie - Sheehan's Reel Accompanied by: unacc
Northeast Kings
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Toole, Stephen - Sheehan's Reel Accompanied by: Margaret Ross MacKinnon, pno
Western Queens
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Wight, Elliott - Sheehan's Reel Accompanied by: Judy Lowe, pno; Norman LeClair, gtr
Eastern Queens
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