The great Leitrim fiddle player, Bryan Rooney, was named Musician of the Year in the 2012 TG4 Gradam Ceoil awards. He has lived in London since the late 1960s and is recognised as one of the master fiddlers of his generation. His now classic album, The Godfather, was released in 1999 and was followed in 2002 by Leitrim to London. After a gap of almost a decade, Bryan’s most recent recording, At Complete Ease, an album of duets with John Carty, was released in 2011. The album, which has become a classic, features John’s son, James and Bryan’s brother Mickey, together with Alec Finn, Brian McGrath and Arty McGlynn.
Legendary Galway accordionist, Johnny Minogue has been playing the finest of traditional Irish music in London for decades – famously the ceili band leader in the famous Galtymore Irish dance hall in Cricklewood. A musician with an astonishingly large repertoire of tunes, Johnny – now in his 80s – has enjoyed teaming up with Bryan, Karen Ryan and Peter McAlinden recently to perform at events organised by Inisfree Housing Association.
From Dublin, Jerry O’Reilly s our resident dancing master this year. He was a founder member of Brooks Academy in 1982, where he still teaches a weekly dance class He has taught dancing in Paris to the Association Irlandaise since 1988, at the Willie Clancy Summer School since 1984, at Whitby Festival every year since 2000, and at the North American Convention of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Eireann in Washington, DC. He has also appeared The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Aberdeen and the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival in 2008. In 2011, he performed at The Southbank Centre in London as part of the Cultura Obscura Festival.
Jerry is also a traditional singer of note. He is one of the organisers of the Goilín Traditional Singers Club in Dublin, which has run for 38 years and is considered to be the foremost singing club in Ireland. In 2003 he released his first solo CD, Down from your pulpits, Down from your thrones. He produced Around the Hills of Clare, a double CD of archive recordings from the Jim Carroll and Pat MacKenzie collection, The Spoons Murder and Other Mysteries, a book and CD of the songs of Con “Fada” O’ Drisceóil and Cascades of Song, the CD of the Clare Festival of Traditional Singing. His second solo album, Havoc in Heaven was released in early 2012.
More recently, he has been involved with the Man, Woman and Child ballad project, researching Irish versions of Child’s collection and in December 2015, he was instrumental in re-publishing Early Ballads in Ireland, celebrating the work of Tom Munnelly and Hugh Shields, two of Ireland’s foremost collectors of folksong.
Tom O’Connell, from Athea, West Limerick, began playing the accordion at the age of 12. He was influenced by several of the masters of the accordion during the 1950s, in particular George Ross of the Tulla Céilí band and the great Paddy O’Brien. He attended his first Fleadh Cheoil in 1962 and emigrated to London 1964, where he quickly became part of the thriving Irish music scene in the city. He admired and learned from a number of the great accordionists who lived in the capital, including Martin MacMahon, Paddy Malynn, John Bowe and Raymond Roland. Tom won the Senior All Ireland title in 1981 and has been a stalwart of Irish music sessions in London for almost 50 years.
London’s own Mick O’Connor, All Ireland winner on the tenor banjo in 1971, has been playing since 1967 and is a veteran of the great days of the London Irish music scene of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. In 2013, he was honoured by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, which bestowed its Bardic Award on him for his “exceptional contribution to the promotion of Ireland’s cultural traditions”.
Concert in Association with Irish Elderly Advice Network
Tom O’Connell, Mick O’Connor and Mick Bailey/ Jerry O’Reilly/ Bryan Rooney, Johnny Minogue, Karen Ryan and Peter McAlinden
London Irish Centre (Mac)
Mon 30th Oct – 2pm
£10/ £5 conc.