Sharon Shannon, 52, is certainly one of Eire’s biggest accordion gamers. She attracted worldwide fame with the discharge of her self-titled debut album, Sharon Shannon, in 1991, the primary of over a dozen albums, together with her newest, The Reckoning. Having grown up on a dairy farm outdoors Ruan, Co Clare, she has made Galway metropolis her residence since 1988. Her household is profiled in Comhluadar Ceoil, a TG4 collection about musical households. The episode remains to be accessible on the TG4 Participant.
My mother and father have been music mad. They liked dancing. They handed on their love of music to all 4 of us. My brother Garry took up the live performance flute; my sister Majella the fiddle; and my sister Mary, the banjo. I selected the accordion as a result of my auntie’s husband, a man known as Eamon Mee from Liscannor, Co Clare, was a giant jolly man who used to play a small Hohner button accordion. I liked the sound of it and the look of it. As a small youngster, I used to be completely fascinated by it, particularly the motion of the bellows. However we have been by no means allowed to play it or maintain it or contact it. It was like this little form of magical factor that makes this magical noise, however we couldn’t go close to it. He was most likely afraid we’d broken it. It gave the impression to be one thing that was out of our attain. So after I was 11 and was requested what instrument I’d wish to play, I mentioned: ‘an accordion’.
I discovered with the accordion you are not struggling to discover a observe. With the fiddle or flute, to get a superb tone on the instrument takes lots of onerous work, even to play a single observe or the size. With the accordion, it’s easy: you press a button and transfer the bellows and there is your observe immediately. It’s the identical with the piano – the observe is there. There is not a lot you are able to do to feck it up! So practically immediately, I used to be ready to pick a easy little tune. There’s nice satisfaction out of it as a result of it is so on the spot.
Donegal fiddle participant Tommy Peoples was an enormous affect on me rising up. I listened to his data and tapes continuous. He developed a singular fiddle fashion that was fierce and untamed. Through the years, many people tried to mimic him, however there’s a dimension to Tommy’s music that’s inimitable. There’s one thing terribly particular about his music – one thing divine that even with 1000’s of hours of observe you’ll by no means be capable to faucet into. It positively felt like Tommy’s music was by some means related to one thing otherworldly. To me, he was a bit like Albert Einstein.
Once we have been very younger, the one Irish music that we had at residence on data was céilí band music. With a céilí band, you possibly can’t actually hear the particular person devices and the way particular it’s what every instrument is doing. I bear in mind listening to a compilation tape and listening to Matt Molloy for the primary time. He was enjoying a tune known as The Contradiction, which is a really troublesome tune on the flute. I used to be blown away by how he may very well be so technically sensible. The texture he had for the music. He’s an absolute powerhouse and a hero to so many within the Irish music scene.
Tommy Peoples and Matt Molloy have been each in The Bothy Band. That band was superb. Matt, Tommy and Paddy Keenan, the piper, performed the melody devices within the band. Dónal Lunny used to explain them as being like a three-headed monster. Dónal described the accompanists – himself who performed the bouzouki; Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill who performed a clavinet; and Mícheál Ó Domhnaill who performed the guitar – because the engine behind the three-headed monster. They have been huge.
Rising up within the Eighties, we could not wait for each new Stockton’s Wing file that got here out. We have been dying for it as a result of we realized these data from again to entrance, inside-out. I used to be massively influenced by the melody devices in that band – Kieran Hanrahan’s banjo enjoying and Maurice Lennon on the fiddle. He was such lovely rhythm on the fiddle, such nice swing, after which Paul Roche is a beautiful flute participant. These are three of my favorite musicians of all-time.
There was magic within the air in Galway within the late-Eighties. There was an incredible outdated vibe within the Quay St space. There was Irish music popping out of all of the pubs. De Dannan have been flying it, a band that I have been massively influenced by. We used to go to a pub known as Clogs, a bit shebeen down a laneway, throughout the street from Mick Taylor’s. It was like a secret place, all bales of hay and sawdust. There was no regular stools. They used a board throughout barrels for seats. There was gigs inside. All these nice classes have been taking place in pubs like The Quays and Naughton’s. In addition to all this superb music happening, there was Druid Theatre and these sensible actors coming to city. They may be staying for six weeks to do a play. And the Galway Arts Pageant at the moment was much more Irish music-orientated. There was this implausible pleasure round.
Myself, Sean Smith, Brendan O’Regan and Kevin Haugh began doing gigs collectively in The Quays and Naughton’s. These classes have been epic, mighty craic altogether. They have been casual. Everybody can be standing round. Everybody was a part of it. They’d be roaring after we’d change key into one other tune: “Yahoooo!” They have been completely into it. I bear in mind every set of tunes we used to play, we have been so into it we did not need to cease.
The classes began at 4 o’clock and have been supposed to complete round eight o’clock. I bear in mind one lovely sunny night. The 2 double doorways along with Naughton’s on Cross St have been large open. Folks have been out on the street. The pub was packed. We mentioned, ‘OK, we’ll play another for the street’, however certain we did not need it to finish in any respect. The session was simply taking off, lifting the roof off the place. Different musicians had joined in – Jackie Daly, Martín O’Connor, Steve Cooney, Seamus Begley, Máirín Fahy, Chris Kelly.
We stopped at 4.40 within the morning. There was about 4 cops inside us, laughing. They knew there was no level in attempting to cease it as a result of there was one thing magical happening. The classes in these days have been unstoppable.