Posted by: ardcru | November 19, 2008

The 1950s legacy

I see from my local newsite at http://www.topix.com/ie/galway that Joe Madden, New York and formerly of Portumna, has packed his accordion for the last time and moved on to the Big Session in the Sky. I was also intrigued by ‘Young Pup’s’ comment about the passing of the Fifties generation. Since 2000 we have lost Sean Maguire, PJoe Hayes, Junior Crehan, Paddy Canny, Vincent Broderick, Johnny Leary and many more.
The time has come for us to have a good look at the influence and legacy of the Irish musicians who came to prominence in the 1950s, to name but a few: Leo Rowsome and Seamus Ennis, Joe Cooley and Paddy O’Brien, Sean Maguire and Paddy O’Keeffe, Willie Clancy, Mrs Crotty – you get my drift.
No doubt the Forties and Thirties had great Irish musicians too. So what is so remarkable about the 1950s musicians?
Radio Eireann, under Seamus Clandillon, broadcast popular traditional music programmes throughout that decade. Also their field workers like Seamus Ennis, Ciaran MacMathuna and Sean Mac Reamoinn explored regional music, uncovering new material and styles and encouraged a deeper appreciation of the genre. The considerable work by the BBC has to be acknowledged here, too.
Music was recovering from the stiffling influence of the Dance Halls Act of the 1930s and the pessimism of World War II. This was followed by the proliferation of the Ceili Bands. Increasing travel – mostly a by-product of economic emigration – exposed Irish musicians and listeners to the great Sessions-in-Exile in London, New York, Chicago, and so on. The playing of Coleman and Morrison was more widely known in Ireland through the increased use of gramophones.
This is just a quick visit to Fifties Irish Traditional Music. As ‘Young Pup’ pointed out, the time has come for us to somehow honour these great musicians.

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