This slim 52-page volume contains 30 traditional fiddle tunes, plus 2 by Irish harpist Turlough O’Carolan and 1 by Bill Bay, presented simply in both standard notation and mandolin tablature. Among them are popular jigs, reels, hornpipes, waltzes, and slip jigs, offering an excellent introduction to the style for experienced mandolinists, or a fine tune builder for students of the instrument.
Many of these tunes are fairly simple to play, while others will prove quite challenging. One should note that this is not an instructional book, but rather a collection of tunes without comment from the author. Fingerings are not included as the tablature makes that rather obvious.
The author should be familiar to fans of contemporary bluegrass and grassicana music. Norris is a founding member of The Barefoot Movement, with whom he performs and records regularly. He also teaches mandolin near his home in Raleigh, NC.
Like all the Mel Bay books in this series, Celtic Gems is offered both in a print edition, and an ebook, and audio files that accompany all these tunes can be found online. The link to the audio files is included on the title page. Amazon also offers a Kindle version.
The book is available for purchase from Mel Bay dealers worldwide, which includes nearly every music retailer in existence, whether brick and mortar or online, and directly from the publisher’s web site. The Mel Bay site also contains a list of tunes and a sample page.
Celtic Gems should be a valuable addition to any mandolinists bookshelf.