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Louis Quinn, 1904–1991

Louisquinn
Louis Quinn / Unidentified photographer

Louis E. Quinn came to New York from south Armagh in 1931. In a 1977 interview with musician and scholar Mick Moloney, Quinn provided an interesting look back at his life in New York: “I started to play traditional music immediately, during the Depression, as a means of getting something to keep alive, to eat with.” He formed a close friendship with Lad O’Beirne, who joined him in late 1933 at a recording session by “Louis E. Quinn and his Shamrock Minstrels.” They only made three discs, but the band was busy with dance gigs for county associations and other functions and on live radio broadcasts. Louis married in 1945 and raised a musical family of seven children.   

Along with his close friend, James Lad O'Beirne, Louis was a vital link to the older players from the 'Golden Age' of recording. His involvement in Irish traditional music in New York spaned a period of six decades up to his passing in March 1991 and he was a driving force behind the amalgamation of various traditional music Associations with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in the early 1970s. What sets him apart from his contemporaries were firstly the regularity of his visits home to Ireland but also the rich collection of private recordings he made in the post-war period, both in New York and Ireland.

See also Louis Quinn Image Gallery // Louis Quinn Collection

Now playing: Quinn from Armagh [comp. Ed Reavy], hornpipe / Mary Lou Quinn ; Louis Quinn
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  1. Quinn from Armagh [comp. Ed Reavy], hornpipe / Mary Lou Quinn ; Louis Quinn

    Quinn from Armagh [comp. Ed Reavy], hornpipe / Mary Lou Quinn ; Louis Quinn

  2. Untitled, reel / Louis Quinn, fiddle ; unidentified, accordion

    Untitled, reel / Louis Quinn, fiddle ; unidentified, accordion

  3. Lad O'Beirne's hornpipe [comp. Ed Reavy] / Louis Quinn, fiddle ; Sean Quinn, fiddle

    Lad O'Beirne's hornpipe [comp. Ed Reavy] / Louis Quinn, fiddle ; Sean Quinn, fiddle

  4. Unidentified, hornpipe / Louis Quinn, fiddle ; Sean Quinn, fiddle

    Unidentified, hornpipe / Louis Quinn, fiddle ; Sean Quinn, fiddle

  5. Fly by night, hornpipe ; The high level, hornpipe ; The Newcastle hornpipe / Louis Quinn ; James 'Lad' O'Beirne

    Fly by night, hornpipe ; The high level, hornpipe ; The Newcastle hornpipe / Louis Quinn ; James 'Lad' O'Beirne

  6. The Victoria, hornpipe ; Seán McGuire's reel [comp. Bert Murray] / Louis Quinn, fiddle

    The Victoria, hornpipe ; Seán McGuire's reel [comp. Bert Murray] / Louis Quinn, fiddle

  7. Untitled, hornpipe / Mary Lou Quinn, speech ; Louis Quinn, fiddle

    Untitled, hornpipe / Mary Lou Quinn, speech ; Louis Quinn, fiddle

  8. Seán sa cheo, reel / Louis Quinn, fiddle

    Seán sa cheo, reel / Louis Quinn, fiddle

The Quinn family band / Unidentified photographer
The Quinn family band / Unidentified photographer
The Quinn family band [Kathleen Quinn, harp ; Sean Quinn, fiddle ; Brian Quinn, piano accordion ; Louis Quinn Jnr, drums ; Mary Lou Quinn, ukelele ; Patrick Quinn, ukelele, Louis Quinn, fiddle ; Kevin Quinn, flute] / Unidentified photographer. New York, 1965. Image courtesy Sean Quinn.
 
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The Quinn family band / Unidentified photographer

The Quinn family band / Unidentified photographer

The Quinn family band / Unidentified photographer

© In copyright

Larry Redican, Seán McGuire and Louis Quinn / Unidentified photographer
Larry Redican, Seán McGuire and Louis Quinn / Unidentified photographer
Larry Redican ; unidentified ; unidentified ; unidentified ; Seán McGuire ; Louis Quinn / Unidentified photographer. New York, 1957. Image courtesy Sean Quinn
 
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Larry Redican, Seán McGuire and Louis Quinn / Unidentified photographer

Larry Redican, Seán McGuire and Louis Quinn / Unidentified photographer

Larry Redican, Seán McGuire and Louis Quinn / Unidentified photographer

© In copyright

The Quinn family band / Unidentified photographer
The Quinn family band / Unidentified photographer
The Quinn family band [Back row: Mary Quinn ; Sean Quinn, fiddle ; Brian Quinn, piano accordion. Front row: Kevin Quinn, guitar ; Kathleen Quinn, harp ; Louis Quinn Jnr, guitar] / Unidentified photographer. New York, 1960s. Image courtesy Sean Quinn
 
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The Quinn family band / Unidentified photographer

The Quinn family band / Unidentified photographer

The Quinn family band / Unidentified photographer

© In copyright