*Part of my series on Irish music!*
To follow What’s the craic?, just a tiny selection of some notable Irish fiddlers. * I’ll start with different generations in America:
- Michael Coleman (1891–1945) was born in County Sligo, emigrating to the USA as a young man:
- Liz Carroll (b.1956) (website; wiki; playlist here) was brought up in Chicago. Her playing on Dear Old Erin’s Isle (#3, 16, 17) is exhilarating—here’s more:
- Johnny Doherty (1900–1980) was a traveller active around Donegal:
He’s the subject of the 1972 documentary Fiddler on the road:
I still need greater immersion to appreciate the nuances of the various regional styles. The Donegal style is heard on the splendid Nimbus CD Fiddle sticks:
Among the fiddlers there are
- Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh (b.1959), also known for her singing with Altan. Click here for two reels with Frankie Kennedy on flute (see also with Martin Hayes below);
- Tommy Peoples (1948–2018), among those who passed through the Bothy band. This is part of a great session:
With Matt Malloy on flute:
For more Donegal fiddlers, see here.
- Paddy Canny (1919–2008), in the East Clare style, a graduate of the Tulla Céilí Band.
With Frankie Gavin:
And with Kieran Hanrahan on banjo:
- Paddy’s nephew Martin Hayes (website; wiki) is blessed with a particularly enchanting style, often introspective yet capable of great energy (good appreciation here). I don’t always feel comfortable with guitar in Irish music, but I quite see why he relishes Denis Cahill’s sensitive accompaniment:
In this set they are joined by Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh (whose bow-hold delights me) and Dermot Byrne:
And here he is with the Brooklyn-born Sligo fiddler Tony DeMarco:
Click here for Martin’s album Under the moon as a playlist.
- Kevin Burke (b.1950) (website; wiki), based in London until moving to the States in the late 70s, plays in the Sligo style—here are two complete albums:
* * *
What a wealth of creative wisdom under all those nimble fingers, immersed in the style, each with their own lineages and influences, full of regional and personal variation—like shawm players in north China [Thought you were going to say that—Ed.].
See also Indian and world fiddles, and Some jazz fiddling.
* For introductions to regional styles, see e.g.
Daithí Kearney, Towards a regional understanding of Irish Traditional Music
Caoimhín Mac Aoidh on Regional Irish Fiddle Styles.
For a caveat from Chris Haigh, curiously without audio examples, click here.
For style more generally, Niall Keegan, The parameters of style in Irish Traditional Music.