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An acetate disc that contains Michael Coleman recordings.

Unheard Michael Coleman Recordings

Michael Coleman (1891–1945) is regarded by many as the most influential Irish traditional musician of the 20thcentury. In New York in 1921, Coleman produced the first of over 40 commercial 78 rpm discs encompassing over 80 tracks of fiddle playing which have left an indelible mark on Irish traditional music. One hundred years after his first recording, Coleman’s influence on the tradition, in both a direct and an indirect way, can still be heard.

Michael Coleman/James 'Lad' O'Beirne (Acetate Disc)

“Unlike the commercial recordings, these domestic private recordings offer a more intimate listening experience. They were made in the home of Lad O’Beirne as opposed to a formal studio setting.”

Liam O'Connor, 2021

“Hearing the opening few bars of Crowley’s struck an emotional chord for me. Here was a listening ear into an intimate musical performance by perhaps the most extraordinary fiddle player of all time, playing for his peer, close-friend and fellow Sligo master, Lad O’Beirne. Our face-masks hid wide smiles and our clumsy plastic gloves were used to wipe away the odd tear of joy!”

Liam O'Connor, 2021

Crowley's reel ; The Bunch of Keys, reel / Michael Coleman, fiddle

Crowley's Reels medley / Michael Coleman, fiddle ; Eileen O'Shea, piano

Cover: A Tribute to Michael Coleman / Joe Burke, Andy McGann and Felix Doran

“I am delighted to support any and all efforts proposed by you and Joe Burke to preserve, restore, and propagate to the Irish traditional music community in Ireland and throughout the world my father's music and that of my great-uncle Michael Coleman. The sad fact is that time is not on our side, and whatever measures remain possible must not be delayed.”

James O'Beirne

O'Dowd's Favourite, reel / Michael Coleman, fiddle ; Andy McGann, fiddle ; James 'Lad' O'Beirne, piano

The Duke of Leinster, reel / Michael Coleman, fiddle ; Tim Fitzpatrick, accordion

Liam O'Connor, Joe Burke & Anne Conroy Burke, October 2020
RTÉ Acetate transport cases used by ITMA
James 'Lad' O'Beirne, left, and Vincent Harrison

Jackson's Reel / Michael Coleman, fiddle (Acetate Disc)

Jackson's Reel ; The Dublin Reel / Michael Coleman, fiddle ; [unidentified performer], piano

“It has been 45 years since I was standing in Lad O'Beirne's living room in New York, on a visit to him with Andy McGann. Lad gave me a gift of two acetates of his own recordings of Michael Coleman, Andy McGann, Lad O`Beirne himself and possibly Timmy Fitzpatrick playing the accordion. I have treasured these recordings all these years. The release of these highly rare recordings is a dream come true for me and I am very happy to be a part of it. Special thanks to Liam O`Connor and his team for their care and dedication in making this possible and a priority. Thanks also to Lad`s son James O'Beirne for his permission.”

Joe Burke, 2021