ComhaltasLive #242: Music from the 2004 North American Comhaltas Convention (Full Programme)

In this week’s programme we bring you some of the music recorded when the North American Comhaltas Convention was held in Parsippany, New Jersey in April 2004.

Time Segment
00:00 The 2008 North American Comhaltas Convention will take place from Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th March at the Parsippany Hilton Hotel, New Jersey. The annual Convention is a highlight event on the traditional Irish cultural calendar in the United States and Canada each year. As well as dealing with administration and strategic planning for the future, the Convention draws together musicians, singers and dancers from all over North America. Full details at In this week’s programme we bring you some of the music recorded when the Convention was previously held in Parsippany, New Jersey in April 2004. We begin with a selection of reels from one of the many great music sessions at the Convention, featuring Brian Conway on fiddle, Joannie Madden on concert flute, Felix Dolan on piano (all from the Bronx, New York) and Billy McComiskey from Brooklyn on accordion. The first two reels, often called “Crowley’s”, were recorded by Michael Coleman, the third was a great favourite of Andy McGann, and the final reel is “The Humours of Scarriff”.
03:55 Brian Conway is now joined for a fiddle duet by his niece Maeve Flanagan. They play a selection of reels: “Dowd’s” and “Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie.”
07:37 Now we have a fiddle solo from Maeve Flanagan, who learned her music from Brian Conway, her uncle, and from her mother Rose Conway Flanagan. The three-part jig which Maeve plays is often called “The Siamsa Jig”, having been popularised by the Siamsa Céilí Band from Dundalk who won three All-Irelands in a row from 1967 to 1969. The jig was actually compoased by Mícheál Ó hÉidhin, who called it “They Knockawinna Jig.” Incidentally, Mícheál is Stiúrthóir of the SCT Examination System, the Irish traditional music examinations system run by Comhaltas and launched by President Mary McAleese in December 1998.
09:38 Now we present a solo by Billy McComiskey, the proud owner of the grey Paolo Soprani accordion formerly played by the late Séan McGlynn. Billy had it specially reconstructed with reeds fitted by Martin Connolly, manufacturer of the very popular “Kincora” accordion. Billy plays two reels: “The Man of the House” and “The Rainy Day.”
13.42 In 1949 Mike Rafferty emigrated from his native Ballinaskill, Co. Galway to the USA. He is still playing his distinctive East Galway music. Mike, now living in New Jersey, is joined by his daughter Mary on button accordion and her husband, Donal Clancy (son of legendary Liam Clancy) on bouzouki as they play two jigs: “The Lilting Banshee” and a jig which Mike learned nearly sixty years ago from his father.
16.42 Another outstanding musician who emigrated from East Galway in the late 1950s is button accordion player Joe Madden. Here Joe is joined by his famous daughter Joannie on concert flute while Felix Dolan provides accompaniament on keyboard. Their first reel was composed by the legendary Paddy Kelly from East Galway, the second is “Miss Thornton”, and the third was a very popular reel with the Tulla Céilí Band.

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20 Feb, 2008
Created By
Willie Fogarty
Performers/Subjects Instruments
Brian Conway Fiddle
Joannie Madden Flute
Felix Dolan Piano
Billy McComiskey Button Accordion
Maeve Flanagan Fiddle
Mike Rafferty Flute
Mary Rafferty Clancy Button Accordion
Donal Clancy Bouzouki
Joe Madden Button Accordion

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Programme: ComhaltasLive #242: Music from previous North American Comhaltas Conventions

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