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Derek Bell and Kevin Conneff of the Chieftains musical group discuss Irish folk music

BROADCAST: Dec. 8, 1976 | DURATION: 00:29:48


Interviewing Derek Bell and Kevin Conneff two members of the Chieftains musical group specializing in Irish folk music.


Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.


Jim Unrath The time in Chicago is 10 A.M and we welcome you now to the Studs Terkel program heard on WFMT each weekday from 10 A.M. 'til 11, and Thursday nights at 10:30. Here's Studs.

Studs Terkel Well, thank you, Jim. You know, one of the most exciting groups performing in the western world today is The Chieftains. The Chieftains, a group of Irish singers, instrumentalists primarily. And what's interesting to me is that it's traditional music of Ireland, north and south, incidentally. Traditional music, and yet the draw is that of a pop group, and two of the members of The Chieftains are here this morning and we'll hear some of the music they're performing tonight at the Arie Crown Theater, eight o'clock and it's quite a remarkable evening, too, in store, because hearing the recordings of them, you get the idea. So we'll be hearing some of the music of The Chieftains as well as some of the comments of Derek Bell who is a harpist and something of a leprechaun, too, under the mushroom he was born. Derek --

Derek Bell I'm not a leprechaun, I'm a gnome!

Studs Terkel You're a gnome. And Kevin Conneff, who plays the bodhran, which is --

Kevin Conneff Bodhran, yeah.

Studs Terkel Percussionist --

Kevin Conneff As well as the goatskin

Studs Terkel drum. And is also one of the singers of the group. So in a moment, some of the music of The Chieftains, the history, with the instruments and the meaning of some of the songs. Mostly, the sound after we hear from Jim Unrath and this message. Now, what have we here, we have three tunes, don't we, in one?

Kevin Conneff That's right. All under the title "Away With Me," yeah. The overall title is "Away With Ye," rather, and the first one is, "Ask Me Father Derek," that includes tympan, maybe say something about

Studs Terkel the tympan. What's the tympan?

Derek Bell The tympan is a mysterious instrument--

Studs Terkel That's Derek Bell talking.

Derek Bell That was used in Irish music for many centuries and it was a stringed instrument which was a very near cousin of the harp and also a very near cousin of the fiddle at certain times in its history, and I wanted to bring back the sound of metal strings into Irish music without resorting to --

Studs Terkel You play, you play the tympan.

Derek Bell Yes.

Studs Terkel You do that as well as the harp.

Derek Bell That was why I myself brought it back. Yes.

Studs Terkel You want to do what, you say?

Derek Bell I wanted to bring back the sound of metal strings into Irish music without resorting to banjos and bouzoukis and mandolins and instruments which are indigenous to foreign music and so I revived the harp that's struck with metal strings, the old medieval Irish harp on one hand and I tried to revive the tympan. It was an instrument of the lyre and psaltery and dulcimer family which was played different ways at different times in its history. It was played with the fingers sliding off the string or with a nail or a plectrum plucking the string, and it was played with a struck hammer and also with a bow at certain periods of its history just in the same way as the psaltery was in Europe and so I had a box, shoved strings in the top of it, and did just that with it.

Studs Terkel Where was -- Let's go back to --

Derek Bell I ought to explain to you that the instrument disappeared shortly before the harp and there are no excellent examples of it around. And that means that the instrument either genuinely disappeared or it evolved into something else.

Studs Terkel How long ago was that?

Derek Bell My opinion is that it evolved. It was about the 15, 1600's.

Studs Terkel So it's disappeared, so what you've done, Derek, if I follow, is this true, Kevin, what Derek has done is you have almost brought back after a couple of centuries, this instrument.

Derek Bell Yes. In the case of the metal harp, also, as well. But the point is that having brought the thing back, my opinion is that the instrument evolved into a dulcimer, because the dulcimer is in fact still played in folk circles in Ireland, and I don't believe it just disappeared and was put under a shelf and just no longer existed. I think it evolved somewhere else but there's another musicologist in Dublin who thinks it became a psaltery such as the northern European psaltery. So I have three northern European psalteries made to my own specifications so that when we want that kind of sound we can use it.

Studs Terkel You know, Derek --

Derek Bell A s opposed to Exactly, yes. I'm going to have to perhaps move on -- Thank

Kevin Conneff

Derek Bell Exactly,

Studs Terkel

Derek Bell opposed to hammered -- He's well-equipped, Derek. yes. I'm going to have to perhaps move on -- Thank you very much, Kevin, I'll see you afterwards about that.

Studs Terkel And ask Derek how this came about. You said something about the dulcimer evolved, and you know, of course, you know that in Appalachian America --

Derek Bell Yes, I know

Studs Terkel

Derek Bell your three-stringed -- The dulcimer. Appalachian dulcimer , and I believe the tympan in its original state was possibly something very like it, because it started long before the time of St. Patrick. With only three strings, that's in the medieval literature.

Studs Terkel What interests me is this matter of continuity that here, in the region of Appalachia, a very rich American source of British, Irish, Scottish music, many migrants came from Ireland and Scotland years ago, and so as you talk about what happened the dulcimer it might have been one of those crazy pieces of continuity, you know, in which here it is, played here and yet it may have been 'way, 'way back to that, those centuries you're talking about.

Derek Bell Yes, but in America it's impossible to trace any evolution between the Appalachian dulcimer and the hammered one, they're two different families, whereas in Ireland there was, and in Europe there was an evolution because the psaltery and the hammered dulcimer were once exactly the same instrument and they were only called by those different names if they were played in the different ways.

Studs Terkel You are the harp, you are the harpist, and the harp, I suppose if there's one instrument that might be described as a national instrument there is no one, the harp would be closest, wouldn't it?

Derek Bell The harp is the national instrument in Ireland and Wales and Paraguay.

Studs Terkel Why Paraguay?

Derek Bell Well, because the Irish missionaries in the 16th century brought out the Irish harp and taught the Indians to play it, and the Indians make their own harps, and it's now their natural instrument. Or so some scholars believe and others disagree, but that's what I think must have happened.

Studs Terkel One of the, one of the hallmarks of The Chieftains and Paddy Moloney is one of your sparkplugs in the rangers, he's not here this morning, but one of your hallmarks is the background, I think [unintelligible] background of Derek Bell, you're all in a sense scholars, aren't you?

Kevin Conneff Well, I sure like the thought of being a scholar.

Derek Bell I don't know whether we all are or not, but there are enough scholars around to help anybody who isn't.

Kevin Conneff The second piece that was played there, the one after the tympan piece, was called [Irish], which is, in fact, that's the Irish word 'twisting the hay rope' and it's very often sung sung in Ireland.

Studs Terkel Is that a courting song?

Kevin Conneff It's a very funny song in that it tells the story of this amorous young man who is chasing this young woman and he becomes a little too amorous in the kitchen--

Derek Bell Oh great stuff!

Kevin Conneff And she decides the best step to get rid of him is to suggest, she's suggests that he twist a hay rope. And as the hero gets longer, he gets nearer and nearer the door, 'til finally it's so long he's outside the door, and she slams the door after him.

Studs Terkel Are there lyrics -- By the way, Kevin Conneff, you are the vocalist of the group.

Kevin Conneff Yeah, this makes me feel more wanted, apart from playing the bodhran.

Studs Terkel What is a

Kevin Conneff bodhran? The bodhran is a goatskin drum, and again it's a very, very old instrument. I think the same instrument is common to several countries.

Studs Terkel Is there a lyric to the twisting of the rope?

Kevin Conneff There is, unfortunately, I'm not that familiar with that.

Studs Terkel So that's the second song and the third is "Old Hag, You've Killed Me."

Kevin Conneff Yeah, we leave that open to speculation. The title.

Studs Terkel That could be the guy twisting the rope, the door slammed on him, perhaps he was lucky, because had he not had the door slammed, in court had he succeeded, he might live together for years and years and years and finally he says, "Old hag, you've killed me."

Kevin Conneff Maybe, yeah.

Derek Bell I think it's a very common situation somehow.

Studs Terkel Before we hear another one, there's another combination of songs, and ask you about the arrangements for the next one, before that, the instrumentation of The Chieftains. There are seven of you.

Kevin Conneff There's seven. Derek plays harp and tympan, and --

Derek Bell We use the oboe for special effects, such as imitating the bombarde in a Breton music or for some special.

Studs Terkel You say Breton music.

Derek Bell Yes, we have a Breton selection on the fifth record and the oboe does the part of the bombarde in certain parts.

Studs Terkel Now, here again you see, we come to history, and you said Breton.

Derek Bell Well, sometimes we pay a visit to another Celtic country and just do a selection of its music just for variety. We don't stick absolutely exclusively to Irish music.

Studs Terkel You just said something, another Celtic country, so Brittany is Celtic.

Derek Bell Yes, Brittany is Celtic, as is Cornwall --

Kevin Conneff In the past few years, there's been a lot of traveling between Ireland and Brittany, and groups from Brittany coming to Ireland.

Derek Bell There's a tremendous revival going on in both Ireland and Brittany, still. But Manx and the Isle of Man, that is, and Cornwall and Scotland, Wales are considered Celtic as well.

Kevin Conneff Yeah, there's a link there.

Studs Terkel Then what The Chieftains are doing, aside from being exciting musically, is also connecting the various Celtic countries and cultures musically. That's why, that's why I suppose these arrangements are so exciting because they're combinations of tunes, too, aren't they?

Kevin Conneff Yeah, well, like, basically, generally speaking, all the tunes played are really Irish tunes,

Studs Terkel all right, but they have -- Paddy has arranged some Scottish tunes. Now who are the instruments? So there's Derek and the stringed instruments, harp and -- And you and the percussive, as well as singing

Derek Bell

Kevin Conneff

Studs Terkel

Kevin Conneff

Derek Bell

Kevin Conneff

Studs Terkel -- Two fiddles. There's two fiddles. Two fiddles. Coming like -- Going round the circle . Just remembering it from the way we sit on stage. And Paddy Moloney plays the pipes.

Kevin Conneff He plays the pipes and whistle.

Studs Terkel These are the uillean pipes .

Derek Bell Yes.

Studs Terkel I was wondering how to describe them, they're squeezed under the elbow.

Kevin Conneff That's right, that's what the word 'uillean' means, is elbow, and instead of like Czechoslovakian pipes or the Scottish war pipes, where you blow, you actually blow.

Studs Terkel These are not --

Kevin Conneff It doesn't bellows, there's bellows under the arm.

Derek Bell We should say, I think, that people, some people double on other instruments, for instance, Sean Keane doubles on the tin whistle and Paddy himself does, and Michael plays concertina and tin whistle and flute.

Kevin Conneff Yeah.

Studs Terkel So there's a variety of instruments there.

Derek Bell So there is a certain possibility that way.

Kevin Conneff Great leverage.

Studs Terkel That's another combination, now.

Kevin Conneff Right.

Studs Terkel This is one -- I suppose this is Gaelic, isn't it?

Kevin Conneff [Irish].

Studs Terkel Meaning what? The first --

Kevin Conneff The first Tuesday

Studs Terkel of Autumn. And "Green Grow the Rushes."

Kevin Conneff "Green Grow the Rushes, Oh," which was the title of, the title of a song, I think, which is common both in Scotland and, and incidentally we're talking about Irish people coming over to America in the early days. Scholars at home, people like Seamus Ennis and Ewan MacColl in Britain claim that the term 'gringo,' which Mexicans use about foreigners, came from that era when apparently people from Scotland and Ireland who sing the song, "Green grow the rushes, oh." They were identified as gringos.

Studs Terkel That's very funny. You know --

Derek Bell That's very interesting.

Studs Terkel Green grow, also, there was a play called "Green Grow the Lilacs," by Lynn Riggs, that became the basis of the musical "Oklahoma."

Kevin Conneff Yeah.

Studs Terkel And "Green Grow the Lilacs," dealing with the Southwest as it did, seems to buttress what Seamus Ennis and Ewan MacColl said.

Derek Bell You can tell it's

Studs Terkel

Kevin Conneff the same tune. Green grow. Gringo is the term they were identified as gringo.

Studs Terkel So could we hear the tune? How would you describe this combination of songs? How would you describe this, Derek?

Derek Bell Well, it's a contrast in combination. The first one is a little bit slow, and the next moves along a bit.

Kevin Conneff If this is, this includes concertina, it's a Michael Tubridy thing, concertina.

Studs Terkel I noticed in the notes, this is sort of a lament. The first one a sort of a lament. This tune involves a history and life of early Ireland. The boy is bringing home by boat a sack of fermented malt to make some poitin. What's poitin?

Kevin Conneff Poitin. Poitin.

Derek Bell It's a rather illicit drink.

Kevin Conneff An illicit drink, which probably at this time is --

Studs Terkel And the kid doing it drowned off the coast of Donegal, so it's a tragic song of which we hear, from which we go to "Green Grow the Rushes, Oh." You know, it's funny here that last was "Green Grow the Rushes, Oh" I always had the impression that was a Robert Burns song.

Kevin Conneff Well, he possibly used the title but that wouldn't be the first time like an old song has been, has been used.

Studs Terkel You know, we hear the concertina. Now, the concertina also, that's almost universal, isn't it?

Derek Bell Well, what Michael plays is what's called the Anglo concertina and it's got button keys. It's a little small sort of hexagonal-shaped box with buttons on each side and you get the black notes on one side and the white notes on the other, and well, he must be a genius to sort that one out.

Studs Terkel Kevin, about yourself. Oh, no, I asked Derek Bell. Where are you from?

Derek Bell Me?

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Derek Bell I'm from the good part of Ireland, the nice quiet part, Belfast. And they're all from Dublin, where it's noisy.

Kevin Conneff We're all Dubliners, except Derek, who's from Belfast.

Derek Bell And Michael's really Kilrushian.

Kevin Conneff Michael's from Kilrush in County Clare.

Studs Terkel This is Michael [sic] Fay.

Kevin Conneff No, Michael Tubridy, who is playing concertina in those last pieces.

Studs Terkel By the way, you originally played in Belfast, haven't you?

Derek Bell Three concerts up in the north in the last tour in Londonderry or Derry, as they call it, Belfast and Downpatrick.

Kevin Conneff Which was my my first, I'm new to The Chieftains and this is, that was my first tour with them.

Studs Terkel But the reaction, here is Belfast and of course, our first reaction is violence and terrorism and bombings and death and battles. Yet you play in Belfast to the audience that is both Catholic and Protestant.

Kevin Conneff Oh, yes, it's a cross-section.

Studs Terkel And you get a tremendous reception.

Kevin Conneff Tremendous reception for the simple reason, too, that there's very little entertainment going to the north because of the dire situation there, you know.

Derek Bell It's true to say that there's more than is generally thought--

Kevin Conneff Yeah, that's true.

Derek Bell But it's few and far between by the standards of other --

Kevin Conneff I don't think there's any concerts like us as there was before the Troubles.

Derek Bell No, nothing like it.

Kevin Conneff So there's people just flocked the concerts and the reception is really --

Studs Terkel Well, it also indicates the madness of, the madness of the violence, is that here is Irish music played, you know, the historical and brilliantly arranged by Paddy Moloney or your spark plug and as your group, and yet Protestants, Catholics there and delighting in this music, you see, which --

Derek Bell Well, the music has over the last few years become completely universal in appeal. We not only get Irish audiences, but we get classical audiences and light music fans, and rock fans, and so forth. It cuts across all the barriers.

Kevin Conneff To look at an audience anywhere where we play. This is the amazing thing, you'll have really obviously rock fans, you know, you can tell youngsters from like 10 and you'll have people of 80 years of age at the same concert.

Studs Terkel Why do you think it is that The Chieftains, this is interesting, have caught on in this manner, attracting audiences who have a variety of musical interests? Why is it?

Kevin Conneff Irish music was always there and was always tremendous music.

Studs Terkel I don't think it's the Irish music alone that's doing it, there's something else.

Derek Bell There is something else. The fact that the Irish music is there and there's a tremendous wealth of it is fine. There is such in many countries. What you have to do is you have to choose the most immortal and the most men, the greatest genius and the melodies, you have to pick out the right tunes and then you have to present them in a way that that has a logical shape and means something when it's heard. You can't just play one tune and repeat it over and over again. And you can't submit it to some kind of symphonic development or you just destroy it. You've got to find some other way of giving it a shape and I think it's because we can do that that we can show them music to other people --

Kevin Conneff The world is getting smaller in every way, including musically, like when I was a kid you never hear Indian music, and now like everyone knows of people like Ravi Shankar and so on.

Studs Terkel Also, this is true, I know what Derek says is true also, you have instrumentalists who are quite marvelous, too. And by -- This is interesting, you choose --

Derek Bell Although that we would have anyway. I mean that would be that in the country in any case whether whether it was getting [across it or not?].

Studs Terkel The other thing that Derek said, Kevin, and that's choosing the very best that is, genius, of the genius of that people. Choosing the very best and that is universal.

Kevin Conneff Well, Paddy Moloney is the piper with the group. He is, he arranges, he chooses the material and arranges it in the session.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Kevin Conneff Yeah.

Studs Terkel Since you talk about that, Paddy, who can't be at this morning 'cause he's involved in another matter.

Kevin Conneff Yeah .

Studs Terkel An extracurricular matter. Will he be there tonight, though?

Derek Bell I think he's going off with a blonde or something.

Studs Terkel Well, he'll be there tonight at 8 o'clock at Arie Crown Theater.

Kevin Conneff We'll all be there.

Studs Terkel You'll all be there.

Derek Bell At least physically, anyway.

Studs Terkel Now, a piece of music history. "Brian Boru's March." This from your earlier album -- By the way, this first album, the album we're playing the work from, called "Bonaparte's Retreat." We're going to hear that quite remarkable piece that goes about 15 minutes --

Derek Bell Yes, that's the sixth LP.

Studs Terkel Before that, Ireland the publishers of this album, if people can be called publishers of music, "Bonaparte's Retreat," The Chieftains. But an earlier album, "Brian Boru's March," who was Brian Boru?

Derek Bell He was an ancient king.

Kevin Conneff He was at the famous battle of Clontarf, where he was kneeling, praying for inspiration and help, because things weren't going too well and in fact, while he was doing that, he was killed. I forget the exact date of the battle.

Derek Bell It would have been about the sixth century, I suppose, something like that.

Kevin Conneff This is a lovely piece, "Brian Boru's March."

Studs Terkel We'll hear that, and then perhaps --

Kevin Conneff This is from a very early album. This is --

Studs Terkel And that after that Derek and Kevin, Kevin Conneff, you might even offer an a cappella tune or so, an air.

Kevin Conneff We'll see about that.

Derek Bell I'd like to correct, I just remembered he was the 10th century, because in 952 he had the harp put on the Irish coat of arms for the first time.

Studs Terkel Well, he's responsible for the harp.

Derek Bell He's responsible for it going on the coat of arms as the national instrument. I thought I'd say that in case somebody phones up to say about the sixth century, it was in fact the 10th.

Studs Terkel Now, we're going to hear what, pipes on this one? Primarily? On "Brian Boru"?

Derek Bell You will hear some pipes, you'll hear everything except the harp, probably.

Studs Terkel Somehow as we hear the pipes, and then they're marching off, you know.

Kevin Conneff It's a beautiful tune, yeah.

Studs Terkel But also it evokes sort of a picture, you know, visually, you remember these old tapestries --

Kevin Conneff Sure, it's very

Studs Terkel evocative. And something you see, like marchers.

Kevin Conneff Celtic army on the march.

Derek Bell There is a tradition amongst harpers that they always play it, starting off very quietly and getting louder and louder, into the center of the piece and then disappearing again. And something like that was seen in the instrumentation there.

Studs Terkel Talking to Derek Bell and Kevin Conneff, two members of The Chieftains who are performing tonight at Arie Crown Theater, 8 o'clock and to be, and as you can gather, performance musically, but also history is, history of centuries evoked through the genius of a people and Derek's point seems to me is a key one, that in every culture there is the greatest, the best, the genius of a people that is chosen from, and thus becomes universal because you have all listeners, and this is what Paddy Moloney has done in colleagues in choosing the very best. So we'll resume the conversation and also we'll get to hear that great collage in a moment, later, "Bonaparte's Retreat," after we hear from Jim Unrath and a message we'll resume conversation with Kevin Bell and -- No, Derek Bell, Derek Bell and Kevin Conneff.

Jim Unrath This is the Studs Terkel program over WFMT A.M. and F.M. in Chicago. At Arcadia you can play Santa without getting into [casts?].

Studs Terkel And there are two members of The Chieftains and it's Derek Bell and Kevin Conneff. I was thinking, you know, we come to the, now we come to the great piece. This is about 15 minutes and this is called "Bonaparte's Retreat," title of the album, and this might be called almost a mini-history of Ireland. Suppose I read some of the notes and interpolate as we're going. This is "Bonaparte's Retreat," and these are the notes. "The amazing, this amazing collage commences with a lament for the apparent total destruction of Gaelic civilization represented by the flight of the wild geese." Who are the wild geese?

Kevin Conneff Well, they were mercenaries; sometimes they are thought of as idealistic soldiers rather than mercenaries, but I think there is a little of both involved.

Derek Bell Yes, there always is, otherwise you wouldn't be bothered.

Studs Terkel But these are the young Irish kids, really, who went off --

Kevin Conneff They went off to join

Studs Terkel

Kevin Conneff -- Other wars. Yeah, and not only Napoleon, but mostly the French army.

Studs Terkel As mercenary, just to live.

Kevin Conneff Yeah. Yeah.

Studs Terkel But in Napoleon's case there was the hope that is, fighting the British would free them. This was the hope.

Kevin Conneff Yeah, it was a hope, yeah, in

Studs Terkel Ireland, then the -- So "The wild geese, the chieftains of Gaelic Ireland and their followers, who after 1601 were forced to leave Ireland forever and take service in European armies, especially that of France. These are the," so originally the wild geese were soldiers, originally.

Kevin Conneff Well, there were soldiers at home, but had to clear out.

Studs Terkel "This slow air" begins then, slowly, isn't it? This is sort of a lament. "The slow air"--

Derek Bell Yes, it begins in the pipes.

Studs Terkel In the pipes, "an image of the sails" and here again the picture, sails dwindling from Ireland's shores. "The defeat of a people, which was [forever?] in the form of wild geese to become a strand in the history of Napoleon." Because here the association of Napoleon, it was a wrong association, but the association of Napoleon with Irish freedom.

Kevin Conneff Yeah, well, Napoleon was a great character in Irish folklore, like there was an awful lot of, there was quite a few songs written about Napoleon and two of them are included here, at least pieces from them, "The Green Linnet" and "The Bonny Bunch of Roses." And I think the same songs in fact are found in Scotland as well.

Studs Terkel Now "The Green Linnet," this a metaphorical --

Kevin Conneff This is a name for Napoleon that folklorists, ballad writers have.

Studs Terkel But the linnet is a bird, is it not?

Kevin Conneff Yeah.

Studs Terkel And, but "The Green Linnet" is also kind of a sad love song, too.

Kevin Conneff It is, yeah. There'll be some of it sung on this, this is, on this album by Dolores Keane who came in and sang it on the album. I have the job of doing it on live performances on stage, I do the

Studs Terkel singing -- You'll be doing it possibly tonight.

Kevin Conneff On stage. Oh, I will be doing it tonight.

Studs Terkel You will be tonight. And so this is a slow lament, "The Green Linnet," the Irish song that Dolores Keane that you, you Kevin sing tonight.

Kevin Conneff Right.

Studs Terkel And then after the song comes "The Bonnie Bunch of Roses." Now this is a familiar song, "Bonnie Bunch of Roses."

Kevin Conneff Yeah. Yeah.

Derek Bell It's done in a rather unfamiliar way, there was a variation with the fiddlers playing short passages from it over the bodhran.

Kevin Conneff Yeah.

Studs Terkel But "Bonnie Bunch of Roses," though, has another metaphor.

Kevin Conneff Oh, the "Bonnie Bunch of Roses" was England, Scotland, and Ireland and it was thought that Napoleon had his eye, so to speak, on capturing England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Studs Terkel And that was the "Bonnie Bunch of

Kevin Conneff Roses." And that was the "Bonnie Bunch of Roses."

Derek Bell I think he had his eye on them.

Studs Terkel And so there's a song again that's sung, and you sing it tonight and Dolores Keane on this album, and now we come to the fall of Paris, the downfall of Paris. And here the Marseillaise comes in and out, doesn't it?

Kevin Conneff Yeah, this is all, the arrangement is done by Paddy and he's taken little like, the entire song isn't sung, it's just a verse, two verses of "The Green Linnet" and one of the "Bonnie Bunch," but the whole thing forms a great picture of the whole, the whole escapade.

Studs Terkel And the retreat we're talking about, obviously, is the retreat from Moscow, isn't it?

Kevin Conneff Yes, that's right.

Studs Terkel And this is the end of Napoleon and the end of what --

Derek Bell It says here the dream disappears for us.

Studs Terkel And also again the Irish association, the dream of their --

Derek Bell There is one thing we [unintelligible]. There's a portrait of his wife and it is well in the form of Madame Bonaparte. And there's also an extract of our concerto by his court harpist, who was Charles Bochsa.

Kevin Conneff It's a beautiful piece.

Derek Bell It's just an insert, an introductory piece of material to the "March."

Studs Terkel And also you get the impression of the court, too, court music.

Derek Bell Well, that was the reason for putting it in, to give a picture of the court.

Studs Terkel Here then, is for the next 14 minutes and 34 seconds, "Bonaparte's Retreat," beginning with a lament, going in to "The Marseillaise," into marches, into almost victories, the voice of "Bonnie Bunch of Roses," the lyrics of it, "The Green Linnet," Napoleon's defeat, and the end of a dream. "Bonaparte's Retreat," described, by the way, I think very happily as a collage, a musical collage of a variety of pieces that make a piece of history, too.

Derek Bell Yes, I think it's the most complex collection that we've yet made.

Studs Terkel I understand seeing The Chieftains at work is terribly exciting, seeing the instrumentalists at work, and the activity onstage.

Derek Bell Well, I think it always adds, it keeps your attention if you, if you only hear and your eyes can wander.

Studs Terkel That's tonight, and you'll be doing the, the --

Kevin Conneff The vocals.

Studs Terkel You will.

Kevin Conneff Yeah. Tonight. That's why I'm a little bit nervous.

Derek Bell I feel the table's shaking.

Studs Terkel Eight o'clock tonight at the Arie Crown Theater. The Chieftains. And perhaps end with something wild and crazy, that's, that's, what, what --

Kevin Conneff We carry slides.

Studs Terkel "Round the house and mind the dresser"! Perhaps a word about that.

Kevin Conneff Well, on the album this is this is done in the studio in London and Paddy had the idea to get the atmosphere of a hooley, like a party going on. So he invited a few dancers along to get the sound of the feet dancing, and considerably more than he invited came along.

Derek Bell Yes.

Kevin Conneff There was barely room to move, but it was a great, great atmosphere all together in the studio. You can hear the clacking of the feet on this.

Derek Bell And all the shouting and all --

Studs Terkel Just mind the dresser, just don't bump into things.

Kevin Conneff Exactly. It's just --

Studs Terkel I wonder if this isn't a throwback, too, it was accidental you had this big crowd in a narrow space. This was also maybe a part of life, too, small place you live in a small home.

Kevin Conneff Well, the hooleys would have been held in small Irish kitchens.

Derek Bell And also a certain amount of the poitin might have been consumed and you might not see the dresser, knock all the [unintelligible] off, all the cups and saucers.

Studs Terkel Well, that's Derek Bell and Kevin Conneff, my two guests, members of The Chieftains and so we sort of dance off 'round the house and mind the dresser. Chieftains tonight at Arie Crown Theater at eight. Thank you very much.

Kevin Conneff Thank you very much.

Studs Terkel That's The Chieftains. Oh, by the way, as we left here, some guy was around taking pictures, and my two colleagues left, and so we lifted the microphones and now I got to stand up in a chair to talk into the mike. That's our program for this morning and after we hear from Jim Unrath say I, talking high into this mike, we'll speak of tomorrow's guests, also musical.

Jim Unrath A gift from Rizzoli lasts far past Christmas Day and choosing a gift there is nearly as enjoyable as receiving one, because Rizzoli International Bookstore and Gallery has such an impressive selection of books of all kinds. From the most widely-read current books to extremely specialized volumes, Rizzoli is not just for adults. If you'd like a rewarding gift for a child, Rizzoli has excellent choices for children of every age and reading level, even foreign language children's books. Yet Rizzoli is more than books; you'll find a wide selection of records as well, classical and popular and folk music albums, both domestic and imported. And of course Rizzoli makes long-distance gift-giving simple, with full facilities for gift wrapping and mailing. The Rizzoli Christmas catalog is now available, highlighting elegant gift book selections from their huge stock. And if you haven't received your copy yet, request one when you stop in. Rizzoli International Bookstore and Gallery, open seven days a week on the third level at Water Tower Place, shop by phone, request a catalog by phone at 642-3500. And now way up from on high, here again is Studs.

Studs Terkel Well, tomorrow, live will be two old colleagues who, by the way, haven't been together for years and it's a reunion.