Banjo Players at the Willie Clancy Summer School, 2012–2014

Banjo Players at the Willie Clancy Summer School, 2012–2014

A recent addition since 2012 to the range of instruments taught at the annual Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, is the tenor banjo, an instrument introduced into the playing of Irish traditional music in the early 20th century. Heard in some numbers on recordings of Irish band musicians in the United States from the 1910s, it came into its own in the music in the 1960s, under the influence especially of the Dublin banjo player Barney McKenna, and it has been enjoying a new burst of popularity in recent years.

As well as now being taught at the School, the banjo has also been featured there at well-attended recitals by the tutors, pupils and others, including accompanists, held in a marquee at the local GAA ground. The organisers of the WCSS have facilitated the Irish Traditional Music Archive in recording these recitals since their inception in 2012, and a selection of the recordings is presented here.

With thanks to the organisers of the WCSS for their facilitation; to Clare banjo player Kieran Hanrahan, organiser of the banjo classes there; and to the featured performers.

NC, BD & TH, 1 June 2015