Traditional Music / By Daniel Neely
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned ITMA’s announcement of a set of newly-discovered private recordings of the great Sligo fiddler Michael Coleman. ITMA’s director Liam O’Connor premiered these recordings on RTÉ’s “The Rolling Wave” program on Sunday and they are breathtaking. Recorded in the Queens home of James “Lad” O’Beirne in 1942, there are four new tracks in total.
Coleman is, of course, brilliant, his playing enhanced by the performance setting: a living room, surrounded by close family and friends. Among these new recordings are two unaccompanied solo tracks, one track with accordion player Tim Fitzpatrick, and finally, one with a 14-year-old Andy McGann. Given McGann’s legendary status in New York, this recording in particular will generate a good bit of interest because it significantly broadens our understanding of McGann’s development and the direct impact Coleman had. The show also featured incredible private recordings with Martin Wynne, Lad O’Beirne and Louis Quinn, each of whom has been hugely influential.