Missed an earlier news item? Visit the news archive.

Cover the Buckle: A Collection of Irish Set Dances for Listening and Dancing by Seán Clohessy, Sean McComiskey, and Kieran Jordan

Featuring: Seán Clohessy, fiddle, Sean McComiskey, button accordion, tin whistle, Kieran Jordan, dance.  With special guests Josh Dukes, bouzouki, guitar, 12-string guitar Matt Mulqueen, piano.

Produced by Kieran Jordan

Cover the Buckle is a new CD of Irish set dances, designed for dance students and dance teachers, as well as tune lovers and tune listeners.

An Irish “set dance” is both a tune and a dance — a musical composition, and a specific set of solo steps designed to match. This CD features well-known set dance tunes, like The Garden of Daisies, The Blackbird, St. Patrick’s Day and more, plus a few unusual selections, bringing a fresh, imaginative approach to this recording of traditional Irish dance music.

With sublime playing from fiddle player Seán Clohessy and accordion player Sean
McComiskey, and creative accompaniment from Josh Dukes and Matt Mulqueen, the tunes on Cover the Buckle are lively and energizing, played at dance-friendly tempos for traditional-style dancing. Each set dance starts with a short intro and includes full AABB parts (for right and left foot repeats of both the step and set). Produced by Boston based Irish dance performer and teacher, Kieran Jordan, the CD also includes Jordan’s original choreography and the sound of her percussive steps on a few tracks as well.

The term “cover the buckle” shows up in many historical descriptions of Irish dance, alluding to the name of a tune, the name of a dance, the name of a particular movement or step, and the overall display of step dancing itself. The buckle in question refers to the shiny silver buckles which adorned the shoes of the 18th and 19th century itinerant dance masters.

A welcome addition to Irish dance and music collections, this CD breathes new life into the old tunes — shattering the sometimes-rote ‘dance class’ approach and offering new possibilities for how Irish set dances feel, and how they might be danced.

Cover the Buckle is available as a digital download or on CD, through CD Baby, Ossian USA, Custy’s Music, and at

Watch video of Seán Clohessy, Sean McComiskey, and Kieran Jordan:

Music on the recording:

1. Mount Phoebus Hunt / The Hunted
2. The Job of Journeywork
3. The Humours of Bandon / Miss Brown’s Fancy
4. O’Carolan’s Draught
5. Jockey To the Fair
6. The Blackbird
7. The Priest and His Boots
8. St. Patrick’s Day
9. Madame Bonaparte
10. Queen of the Faeries / King of the Fairies
11. Maggie Pickins
12. Three Ducks and a Goose
13. The Garden of Daisies
14. The Three Sea Captains
15. The Oslo Waltz / Augusta Waltz

“When I first heard this recording in Kieran Jordan’s house in Boston, I was truly impressed with the musicianship, the precision of the dance steps, and the whole approach to the playing of the set dances, incorporating some very pleasing variations, innovations and a few surprises. A delightfully uplifting CD that never loses interest, and that’s equally good to listen to, as well as to dance to.”
— Michael Tubridy

“Surely there are few albums of set dance music that touch the majesty of Eugene
O’Donnell & Mick Moloney’s Slow Airs and Set Dances, an exquisite album that should be in the collection of any serious traditional music fan. However, dancer Kieran Jordan, button accordion player Sean McComiskey, and fiddler Seán Clohessy, have provided us an album with a similar focus that lovers of that album will welcome. Cover the Buckle is an incredible exploration of set dance that brings focused attention to the intersection of music and dance in a most excellent way.

The two Seans are brilliant musicians individually, but their duet work on Cover the
Buckle is spectacular. They play with great sensitivity to each other when it’s warranted, but their individual styles also shine on several tracks throughout. The flair in their playing is intensified by Jordan’s dancing, which is well executed and gives the album special lift. Indeed, her footwork is outstanding: the precision and inventiveness in her steps comes across as fresh and innovative, and helps make the combination of the three artists working together really something to hear.

Cover the Buckle is a delightful and wonderfully nuanced album. It was made primarily with dancers in mind. Jordan notes her search for the “perfect” set dance recordings and in fact includes a note about how the crew handled intros, tempos, and lengths, to make sure those who want to dance to are oriented to how they have adhered to and strayed from convention. However, the music’s sweetness also makes it an album for listeners. All of it comes together to in such a way that artfully showcases the important connection between the music and the dance. If you’re a dancer, this musico-terpsichorean endeavor is a must have. Folks who love rich, relaxed playing will want this one as well.

Permalink - Posted: March 30, 2017 at 9:29 am