All Comers Tunes for October 5

Julia Plumb offers a “Set of the Month” for October, with commentary! Here’s what she says:

Two reels, popular in Maine: Spootiskerry (G) into Gaspé Reel (D).

Spootiskerry is a newer Shetland tune written by Samuel Ian Rothmar Burns. A long and fascinating discussion at includes this note from Burns: “Spootiskerry – the croft [farm] belonging to my late grand aunts, Bella and Joan Nicolson, situated between the village of Sullom, and the new town of Brae. Originally spelt Spootskerry, but as the years have passed, and “i” or an “a”, and sometimes an “o” have been added… I have named my book Spootiskerry as that was the name I gave my first composition.” (This makes me feel better for never being sure how to spell it!)

The discussion also notes that “spoot” is a razor clam (or the spout of water they make when disturbed) and “skerry” is a term for rocks that are covered by the sea except at low tides – which leads me to wonder if the farm was named for some rocks that spout water up into the air at low tide. But I digress! Read all you like here. The first setting is more or less what folks play around here. Recording here.

Gaspé Reel takes its name from the Gaspé Peninsula, the part of Québec that forms the south shore of the St. Lawrence River and protrudes into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Music and recording here.