Photographs from Peter Laban

Photographer Peter Laban has taken photographs at the Willie Clancy Summer School from many years.  He has kindly donated a substantial collection of these images to ITMA.  This is a selection that he choose from the early days of the festival, with some of his own thoughts and memories included.

Martin Rochford
Martin Rochford / Peter Laban
Dicky Deegan / Peter Laban
Dicky Deegan / Peter Laban
Dicky Deegan / Peter Laban

Dicky Deegan / Peter Laban

© Peter Laban

Dicky was living in Tasmania at the time, making a name for himself as a piper. This was his first time over for Willie and he spent a lot of time busking. I sometimes shot a slidefilm at the time, if I was in a colourful mood. This was one such occasion

Bobby Casey and Junior Crehan / Peter Laban
Bobby Casey and Junior Crehan / Peter Laban
Bobby Casey and Junior Crehan / Peter Laban

Bobby Casey and Junior Crehan / Peter Laban

© Peter Laban

During the fiddle recital Bobby and Junior made their way from the green room beside the stage, I followed them, hoping to get a picture or two. Nutan, ever the professional, followed as well as I went. In the room where NPU had their shop the two went through a few tunes to play at the concert. With both Nutan and myself taking pictures Tony Crehan lost patience and kicked us out.

Junior Crehan   / Peter Laban
Junior Crehan / Peter Laban
Junior Crehan   / Peter Laban

Junior Crehan / Peter Laban

© Peter Laban

Martin Rochford ; Junior Crehan / Peter Laban
Martin Rochford ; Junior Crehan / Peter Laban
Martin Rochford ; Junior Crehan / Peter Laban

Martin Rochford ; Junior Crehan / Peter Laban

© Peter Laban

I spotted Martin Rochford going into the Central Hotel, I went in to have a look and to have a chat. Junior Crehan was inside, with some other fiddle players. Martin joined them, played some tunes on Junior's fiddle. I got a few snaps of the two of them but Junior caught the best light.

Michael Downes / Peter Laban
Michael Downes / Peter Laban
Michael Downes / Peter Laban

Michael Downes / Peter Laban

© Peter Laban

Michael was in the back of Clancy's one early afternoon, with two teenage protegés. He urged us to join in. An overhead skylight lit the scene.

Gussie Russell / Peter Laban
Gussie Russell / Peter Laban
Gussie Russell / Peter Laban

Gussie Russell / Peter Laban

© Peter Laban

We were playing a few quiet tunes in the old Tom Malone's one afternoon. Gussie put his head in the door and must have liked what he heard as he came in and played for a while. I managed a few snaps. Gussie was extremely shy, he would find it hard to talk. One time I was playing the pipes in the street, he sat down next to me and each time I played he filled my ear with stories about Johnnny Doran and what not. If the tune was over he'd stop and go quiet until I started playing again.

Tommy Reck / Peter Laban
Tommy Reck / Peter Laban
Tommy Reck / Peter Laban

Tommy Reck / Peter Laban

© Peter Laban

Mick O'Connor brought Tommy to the 1989 WCSS. Tommie hadn't played for a while and was getting back into piping. One of the great pipers of his generation, it was a delight to hear him and meet him. I was just getting to a stage where I was trying to take photographs in a slightly more serious way. This is one taken during a lunchtime piping recital at the (then) tech/vocational school.

ITMA would like to thank Peter Laban for his permission to reproduce his words and images in this blog.

Presented by Treasa Harkin