Joseph Maguire, Fermanagh Singer, 1930s
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Joseph Maguire (1899–1963) was a popular Irish tenor of the mid-twentieth century with a mixed repertory of songs learned from oral tradition in Fermanagh and commercial Irish songs, some of which he had composed himself. He recorded extensively for the Decca Company in New York from 1937 to 1940, mostly as singer but also as a fiddle player and band leader. Maguire’s singing career illustrates the movement of unaccompanied Irish traditional song into an emigrant world of Americanised instrumentally accompanied song – just one of the ways in which Irish traditional song would change in the United States.
Born of a farming and musical family in Ballinamallard, Co Fermanagh, in 1899, Joseph Maguire emigrated to New York in the early 1920s after service with the Dublin Metropolitan Police. He became a successful businessman there in the bar and restaurant trade, and frequently returned to Ireland on holidays.
Maguire began recording as a fiddle player with Frank Quinn of Longford in New York for the Columbia Company in 1927, and continued as a fiddle player on radio into the 1940s. But in the Depression of the 1930s he switched to the Decca Company there as a singer directed at the Irish emigrant market. Twenty of his twenty-six commercial recordings feature him as a vocalist with instrumental backing. He became friendly in New York with the Sligo fiddle player and band leader Paddy Killoran and was backed on record by Killoran ensembles – trios, quartets and orchestras.
With thanks to record donors Ciarán Dalton, Eddie Mongey, Matt Murtagh and Joe Conefrey
|Joseph Maguire, Fermanagh Singer, 1930s|
|Title:||Joseph Maguire, Fermanagh Singer, 1930s|