C: Fleadh Nua

‘Banks of the Shannon’ launch at Fleadh Nua marks 100 years since birth of famed musician

An iconic album first recorded almost 50 years ago has been re-released at the Fleadh Nua in Ennis to mark 100 years since the birth of one of its stars, famed accordion player, Paddy O’Brien, who joined equally renowned musicians, Séamus Connolly and Dr Charlie Lennon in this celebrated recording.

The Banks of the Shannon was first released almost 50 years ago in 1973, and it immediately became a collector’s item, with all three musicians delivering what Ardstiúrthóir of Comhaltas Ceolteoirí Éirean described as a “jewel of a performance.”

Paddy O’Brien was an influential and highly-regarded composer and button accordion player from Tipperary, and some of his brilliant compositions are featured on this EP. He is joined by the famed Séamus Connolly from Clare, who, the album notes tell us was destined from a young age to become one of the greats of fiddle music, rising to the top in the company of maestros, and going on to become Artist in residence at Boston College.

The third in the trio is the renowned Dr Charlie Lennon, long a standard bearer in the tradition and a marvellous fiddler player, though the Kiltyclogher man plays piano on this recording and does so with typical aplomb and flair.

“These three celebrated musicians came together in 1973 under the stewardship of Séamus Mac Mathúna and delivered a jewel of performance which has captured the attention of the Irish traditional music fraternity at home and abroad,” Comhaltas said at the launch of the remastered CD at the Fleadh Nua this week.

Eibhlín Óg O’Brien, Paddy’s daughter, and an acclaimed musician and scholar in her own right, spear-headed the re-mastering and rebirth of the well-loved album.

The chemistry between the three master musicians is evident and the music is tremendously good, powerful and exciting, and the remastering has balanced out some minor issues in the original.

Ó Murchú says that “Séamus Mac Mathúna, that indomitable, scholarly and passionate connoisseur of Irish culture, in his own dedicated and gentle way guided the original ‘Banks of the Shannon’ to a safe shore.” Now, he notes, Éibhlín Óg O’Brien has  ‘faithfully steered its re-issue”.

The Banks of the Shannon is not just a collector’s item but a benchmark of authenticity and will be hugely sought after by aspiring musicians and connoisseurs alike.

A poem by Dr Charlie Lennon – who studied theoretical physics as well as music  – captures some of the atmosphere of the studio when the EP was recorded.

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The CD is available from Cois na hAbhna and from Custy’s music shop, both in Ennis, Co Clare.

For a taste of the delights in store here’s the three maestros with a classy rendition of two reels, Mayor Harrison’s Fedora / Johnny Cronin’s Reel

And more:

Also WATCH: Séamus Connolly and friends – The Musicmakers

 

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