RESTRINGING THE STONE FIDDLE: A performance of Paddy Tunney’s classic song memoir, a marriage of stories, songs, music and dance.

Letterkenny, 10 July 2024

The Tunney Song Tradition Trust, in association with the Regional Cultural Centre and Ceol na Coille, will launch a new edition of Paddy Tunney’s The Stone Fiddle on 10 July 2024 in the Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny (8pm). This recital, a performative reading of the text, will feature members of Paddy Tunney’s extended family and invited guest performers.

 Paddy’s memoir contains over 60 songs but, as Bill Meek wrote in The Irish Times, back when it first appeared, ‘Paddy Tunney’s book is much more than a collection of songs … only infrequently can a study be said to reveal a culture from within. When such an event occurs, the result can be electrifying, and such is the effect of The Stone Fiddle, undoubtedly a of piece literature, and yet so directed by the oral tradition that the pages dance with a degree of life denied to most literary works.’  Now, after many years out of print, Paddy’s children and grandchildren, working through the Tunney Song Tradition Trust, are making this 1970s’ classic available to a new generation of singers and lovers of the Irish song tradition.

 The new edition features several additions including photographs, maps, a full index and an introduction by Dr John Tunney, which provides many insights into the origins of the book, what his father included and why. The text is unchanged and is as fresh as when first published in 1979. To read The Stone Fiddle is to enter into Paddy’s sense of himself, his very consciousness, to step into a lost world that survived only in his memory and imagination.