Glen Hansard and The Auld Triangle

Many people can rightfully claim ‘The Auld Triangle’ as a ‘signature’ tune, but this version from December 2012 is surely one of the finest.

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If you do a search you YouTube for ‘hansard auld triangle basking‘ you will find a couple dozen versions, including a couple very clean and professionals readings.

But this one remains my personal favorite. It occurred when ‘Glen and the band came into the crowd to end the massive 3 + hour show and sang a Passing Through and The Auld Triangle on Vicar Street in Dublin on 17 December 2012)

It is bedlam. Hansard and the rest are standing in the middle of a massive crowd of clearly rabid fans.

Hansard is no stranger to such scenes:

FLAVORWIRE.COM: The Frames’ Glen Hansard rose to film fame after receiving an Academy Award for Best Original Song in ’07. The honor was given for the tune “Falling Slowly” from Once, a film about a struggling Irish busker who falls in love with a Czech musician (Hansard’s “Falling Slowly” co-writer and co-star, Markéta Irglová).

Just like their big-screen counterparts, Hansard and Irglová found romance and formed a real-life band, The Swell Season, blurring the line between the fiction and reality of Once. Hansard continues to keep the legend alive by recreationally busking just as much as his film character, even as a member of two wildly successful bands.

WATCH: Glen Hansard surprises Dublin busker singing ‘Falling Slowly’

Glen Hansard has given a Dublin busker the surprise of his life and gloriously shared the moment on Instagram for all to enjoy.

Paddy Finnegan was sitting on South King Street in Dublin playing his guitar and singing a sombre rendition of Glen Hansard’s popular tune Falling Slowly.

However, things took a turn for the better when he was thrown a few quid from the Oscar-winning performer himself!

Hansard would be known for his surprise busking also especially for charity and around the Christmas period. Pic: John Rooney/Pacific Press via ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Hansard was strolling through Dublin when he came across Paddy, who stopped mid-song to say: ‘I don’t believe it!’

Finishing out the tune for Hansard, it didn’t take long for the famed singer to share a video of Paddy’s talent to Instagram.


The Frames Live at Whelan’s 25th Anniversary – 30 June 2014

The Song in Question

The auld (old) triangle refers to the large metal triangle which was beaten each morning to waken prisoners in Mountjoy Jail, Dublin. The song is featured in the writer of the song Dominic Behan’s writer brother, Brendan Behan’s ‘The Quare Fellow’. Brendan Behan was once an inmate of Mountjoy Jail.

The song, indeed.

The Auld Triangle” is a song by Dick Shannon, often attributed to Brendan Behan, who made it famous when he included it in his 1954 play The Quare Fellow.

He first performed it publicly in 1952 on the RTÉ radio programme ‘The Ballad Maker’s Saturday Night’, produced by Mícheál Ó hAodha. Behan’s biographer, Michael O’Sullivan, recorded,

‘It has been believed for many years that Brendan wrote that famous prison song but Mícheál Ó hAodha says he never laid claim to authorship. Indeed he asked him to send a copyright to another Dubliner, Dick Shannon.’

When he recorded the song for Brendan Behan Sings Irish Folksongs and Ballads (Spoken Arts 1960), Behan introduced it with these words: ‘This song was written by a person who will never hear it recorded, because he’s not in possession of a gramophone. He’s … he’s … pretty much of a tramp.’ (wikipedia)

THE AULD TRIANGLE

(Click here to listen to ‘The Auld Triangle’)

Oh a hungry feelin’, came o’er me stealin’
And the mice were squealin’ in my prison cell
And the auld triangle went jingle, jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

To begin the mornin’, the screw was bawlin’
Get up ye bowsie and clean up your cell
And the auld triangle went jingle, jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

Now the screw was peepin’, as the lag lay sleepin’
Dreamin’ ’bout his girl Sal
And the auld triangle went jingle, jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

Up in the female prison there are seventy five women
And among them now I wish that I did dwell
Then that auld triangle could go jingle, jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

All along the banks of the Royal Canal

On a fine spring evenin’, the lag lay dreamin’
The seagulls wheelin’ high above the wall
And that auld triangle went jingle, jangle
All along the banks for the Royal Canal

More Verses:

The wind was risin’ and the day declinin’
As I lay pining in my prison cell
And that auld triangle went jingle, jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

On a fine spring evenin’, the lag lay dreamin’
The seagulls wheelin’ high above the wall
And that auld triangle went jingle, jangle
All along the banks for the Royal Canal

The day was dyin’ and the wind was sighin’
As I lay crying in my prison cell
And the auld triangle went jingle, jangle
Along the banks of the Royal Canal

Domnic Behan

ABOUT THE SONG

The auld (old) triangle refers to the large metal triangle which was beaten each morning to waken prisoners in Mountjoy Jail, Dublin.  The song is featured in the writer of the song Dominic Behan’s writer brother, Brendan Behan’s ‘The Quare Fellow’.  Brendan Behan was once an inmate of Mountjoy Jail.

The song here is covered by the late Ronnie Drew (of The Dubliners).  It was also covered by The Dubliners, The Pogues, Bob Dylan and The Band, Eric Burdon, The Oysterband, Bert Jansen, The High Kings, and U2 to name but a few.

The Old Triangle

[ Dick Shannon]

Dick Shannon wrote The Old Triangle, a song about life in Mountjoy Prison in Dublin. Dick’s friend Brendan Brehan first performed it publicly in 1952 on the RTE radio programme ‘The Ballad Maker’s Saturday Night’, produced by Mícheál Ó hAodha. Behan made it famous when he included it in 1954 in his first play, The Quare Fellow. Brendan’s brother Dominic Brehan sang The Old Triangle on his Topic LP Irish Songs (1958) and EP Peelers and Prisoners (1963). Enoch Kent noted on the EP:

“Have you ever been in love me boys or do you know the pain.” Dominic’s love and pain in this record is not for Ireland but for the Irish and the only qualification you require to appreciate the songs is that you must be a human being! When Dominic sings The Old Triangle it is not with the music hall giggle that many have applied to this song. The song originated in Dublin’s infamous Mountjoy Prison. It is honest convict poetry and feeling, in other words human, and that is exactly how he sings it.

The Dubliners sang The Old Triangle on their 1967 album More of the Hard Stuff. This video shows them in the German TV show Liedercircus in 1976:

The Pogues sang The Auld Triangle in 1984 on their album Red Roses for Me.

Swan Arcade sang The Old Triangle in 1990 on their Sygnet Records CD Full Circle.

Bert Jansch sang The Old Triangle on his 2006 album The Black Swan.

Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley sang The Auld Triangle in 2009 on their Noe album Lucy Wan. They noted:

Taken from Brendan Behan’s stage play The Quare Fellow and dedicated to the late, great, Ronnie Drew who we had the pleasure of hanging out with during a USA tour where we wouldn’t have dared sing it!

Jon Boden sang The Auld Triangle as the 29 April 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Lyrics

Jon Boden sings The Auld Triangle

Oh! a hungry feeling, it came o’er me stealing
And the mice they were squealing in my prison cell—

Chorus (after each verse):
And the auld triangle, It went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal.

Now the screw was peeping while the lag was sleeping
And he was dreaming of his gal, Sal,

And to begin the morning, the warders bawling
“Ah, get up you bowsey and clean out your cell!”

Now in the female prison there are seventeen women
And it’s among those women I would like to dwell;

Now the wind was rising and the sun declining
While I lay there pining in my prison cell.

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