Tune of the Day: The Rakes of Kildare
This old Irish tune goes by various names: “The Old Barndoor”, “The Galbally Farmer”, “Let us leave that as it is”, and others.
The word ‘Rakes’ stems from the Old Icelandic word reikall, meaning “wandering” or “unsettled”. However, in 18th and 19th century usage the term ‘rake’ was used to denote unruly and spirited young gentlemen. Kildare is a County in the Mid-East of Ireland.
The tune appears in many collections of Irish music, but its earliest appearance in print is in the first volume of R.M. Levey's The Dance Music of Ireland (1858), where it is called only “A jig”. Irish music collector Francis O’Neill, however, believes the tune to be much older, and claims it descends from an ancient march melody called “Get Up Early”.
American versions of this tune have been collected in New England and Michigan. In England, it is sometimes used as a tune for Morris dancing.