5 More Irish Fiddle Players You Need To Hear

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5 More Irish Fiddle Players You Need To Hear

1/31/2017 by Jeff Ksiazek

There are so many influential and talented Irish fiddle players -- it was really hard choosing musicians for our first list! For this sequel of sorts, let's take a listen to five more Irish fiddle players: Lucy Farr, Bobby Casey, Julia Clifford, Paddy Canny, and Johnny Doherty.

Lucy Farr (1911 - 2003)

Lucy Farr (née Kirwin) was born in Baile na Kil, East Galway to a musical family. Her father played the melodeon and flute and an aunt played fiddle. The Kirwan home, along with the home of the Moloney family, was a gathering place for music making and set dancing in the area. She immigrated to London in 1936 and worked as a nurse. Lucy began making music again in the 1950s and participated in the London Irish music throughout the 1970s, keeping her East Galway style of active and alive all the while. You can listen to archival recordings of Lucy Farr's playing and some interviews as part of the Reg Hall English, Irish & Scottish Folk Music & Customs Collection at the British Library Sounds site.

Bobby Casey (1926 - 2000)

Bobby Casey was born near Miltown Malbay, County Clare in 1926. Bobby learned much of his music from Junior Creehan, who in turn had been taught by Casey's father. Casey also immigrated to London in 1952 and was an active member of that city's Irish music scene. He recorded several commercial recordings.

Julia Clifford (1914 - 1997)

Julia Clifford (née Murphy) was born in County Kerry in the region known as Sliabh Luachra. She and her brother, Denis, were taught their music by master Sliabh Luachra fiddler Padraig O'Keeffe. An All-Ireland fiddle champion, Julia Clifford made several recordings with her brother, as well as with her husband John Clifford and son, Billy Clifford. She is considered a primary exponent of the Sliabh Luachra fiddle style.

Paddy Canny (1919 - 2008)

Paddy Canny, born in County Clare, was a founding member of the Tulla Céilí Band. Learning much of his much from his father and blind fiddler Pat McNamara, Canny's style is considered an influential example of the east Clare style. He won the All-Ireland Fiddle championship in 1953, as well as céilí band titles with the Tulla in 1957 and 1960.

Johnny Doherty (1900 - 1980)

Johnny Doherty was born in Adara, County Donegal to a well-known family of Irish Travellers. His brother, Mickey, was also a noted fiddle player.

Perhaps the most notable feature of his playing style was the power of his tone and forcefulness of his playing. In his excellent sleeve notes on “The Floating Bow” (1996), Alun Evans commented:  "The controlled attack in his playing could at times amount to a sustained assault and it made for vibrant, dramatic music." "Donegal Fiddle Players" from Fiddling Around the World.

Check out the documentary Fiddler on the Road for more information about Johnny Doherty.

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