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Joe Ryan, Clare Fiddle Player, on Video, 1999–2004

Joe Ryan, Clare Fiddle Player, on Video, 1999–2004

Co Clare fiddle player Joe Ryan (1928–2008), from Inagh, lived for most of his life in Dublin and in Co Meath, and also spent time in London. A regular session player, he was a prizewinner from the early 1950s at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil and the Oireachtas cultural festival, and a member of several ceili bands, notably the Fiach Roe in Clare and the Castle in Dublin. His regular playing companion was fellow-Clareman, fiddle and concertina player John Kelly.

A personal friend of Willie Clancy’s, Joe taught at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, since its inception in 1973. Beginning in 1999 he was one of the older players whom Kerry fiddle player Máire O’Keeffe brought in every year to play for fiddle students at the School and to talk to them about their music and their life in music. For five years Irish Traditional Music Archive staff filmed these musical and oral history occasions, as unobtrusively as possible in the midst of the other ongoing music classes and all the hubbub of the School. A selection of music and talk is presented here from Joe Ryan’s contributions to these unique events.

With thanks to Joe Ryan, to the organisers of the Willie Clancy Summer School, & to Dr Máire O’Keeffe (who presented an illustrated lecture on this aspect of her work to the 2013 WCSS).

NC & TH, 1 August 2013