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“The Cool One,” Krunchie Killeen’s New Version Of A Traditional Irish Song

Krunchie Killeen with cool guitar

Krunchie Killeen in Sun-glasses and Woolly Cap

Krunchie Killeen in Sun-glasses and Woolly Cap

Krunchie Killeen, wearing white peaked hat and James Joyce style glasses, singing

Krunchie Killeen impersonating James Joyce at the Feis of 1904

Krunchie Killeen Releases, On Spotify and Other Digital Channels, “The Cool One”, His Swinging Version Of “The Coolun,” A Traditional Irish Song

“Have you seen the Cool One” is a true translation in today’s idiom of the seventeenth century poet’s line”
— Krunchie Killeen
DUBLIN 11, DUBLIN, IRELAND, September 9, 2020 / -- “The Cool One”, Krunchie Killeen’s new version (now released on Spotify and the other digital channels) of the Irish-language song “An Chúil Fhionn”,by Muiris O Duagáin (1641) extols the attractions of an elegant and beautiful young woman. Samuel Ferguson (1810 to 1886) gave his English translation the name, “The Coolun”, (now often spelt “Coolin”), by which the tune has been known for a few hundred years. Krunchie’s title comes nearer to the original Irish title, actually recalling the meaning of the original.

According to folklore, a song of this title first appeared in the 14th century as a protest song against the English law (in the “Statutes of Kilkenny,” 1366) forbidding (with many other Irish customs) a hair-style popular with young Irish men. “Have you seen the Cool One (‘Cúil Fhionn’)” in that original version would have meant, “Have you seen the handsome young man with the banned cool hair-style?” The words of that protest song are long forgotten, and it is not even certain that the present tune is the same.

Muiris Ó Duagáin’s 17th century “Cool One,” however, was not a young man, but an elegant young girl. Krunchie’s words “Have you seen the Cool One” is a true translation in today’s idiom of that seventeenth century poet’s line, “An bhfaca tú an Chúil Fhionn,” a reference to a particularly beautiful and elegant young woman.

In Krunchie’s view, the tune should be played with a bit of a swing, to reflect the confident, but graceful, swagger of the poet’s muse. Krunchie’s new arrangement gives the tune this swing, and his words, with modern brevity, reflect the sentiment of the original, though much longer, poem.

According to Wikipedia,
“The Coolin, or The Coolun, is an Irish air often characterised as one of the most beautiful in the traditional repertoire.”

This tune was very popular with 18th century harpists, who played it with many baroque elaborations. It is now popular with pipers, flute players and fiddlers as a “slow air”, and as a result it is often played unduly slow, and, consequently sad, and somewhat funereal. Krunchie revives it as a lively appreciation of a cool young woman.

Krunchie’s words are:

“Have you seen the Cool One,
As she moved among the people,
Turning every head with her beauty
And spreading sunshine around with her beaming smile?

She is like a swan in her movement;
She is like a lily in her beauty,
And she holds my heart in enchantment,
And I care for nothing, but to be her devoted slave.

Sir Samuel Ferguson’s translation was, of course, more verbose. His first two (of six) stanzas were as follows:

Oh, have you seen the Coolun,
Walking down by the cuckoo’s street,
With the dew of the meadow shining
On her milk-white twinkling feet?
My love she is, and my colleen óg 5
And she dwells in Bal’nagar;
And she bears the palm of beauty bright
From the fairest that in Erin are.

In Bal’nagar is the Coolun:
Like the berry on the bough her cheek; 10
Bright beauty dwells forever
On her fair neck and ringlets sleek;
Oh, sweeter is her mouth’s soft music
Than the lark or thrush at dawn,
Or the blackbird in the greenwood singing 15
Farewell to the setting sun.

Krunchie’s rendering of the song is found on Spotify at:

Other recent releases by Krunchie are:
“Storm Nellie,” after the recent storm “Ellen,” a name often called “Nellie” in Ireland, his version of a traditional Irish song about a storm of the name:

“I Wonder,” a poem by his friend Sean O’Connor, from the latter’s book, “Taking a Risk With Love,” to which Krunchie put music:

Krunchie has released a total of 36 songs on Spotify so far this year, having learned the technique of digital releases at the beginning of the year, and, so, put the Covid lockdown to good use.

A selection of photos of Krunchie can be viewed and downloaded from:

Krunchie uses “Glossneen” as his record label. The range of recordings so far issued under the “Glosneen” label can be found here:

A selection of his Album Art is found on Pinterest at:

Krunchie Killeen is a retired Civil Servant who lives in Glasnevin, Dublin, Ireland.

His biography can be viewed on:

Further information: Krunchie Killeen, +353 87 908 5149;

Krunchie Killeen
+353 87 908 5149
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The Cool One album on YouTube