Irish musicians in Chicago, 1920–2020

By Richie Piggot

Cry of a People Gone: Irish Musicians in Chicago, 1920–2020, documents the lives of Irish musicians, and significant milestones in the development of Irish music in his adopted city of Chicago.

This book begins with a history of the development of Chicago and the reasons why emigrants from Ireland came to the city. It gives two personal accounts of the emigration experience from Ireland; firstly, during the Great Famine of 1845-1850 and one hundred years later during the late 1940s/early 1950s.

The next two sections of the book give detailed biographical information on Irish musicians who came to Chicago from Ireland and also includes first generation Irish American musicians born in Chicago. Section one covers the period from 1920-1945 (musicians include Selena O’Neill, Frank Thornton, Tommy Cawley, Jimmy Neary & Cuz Teahan) and the second from 1945 – 2020 (musicians include Malachy Towie, Kevin Henry, Tom O’Malley, Joe & Seamus Cooley and Kevin Keegan).

The remaining chapters cover significant milestones in the development of Irish music in Chicago which include the formation of the Irish Musicians Association of America (IMA); tours of Irish musicians and dancers in both Ireland and America and the history of the first Fleadh Cheoil in Chicago (1964-1969).

There are two appendices to the book specifically covering accordion players in Chicago and a personal (previously unpublished) memoir by Frank Thornton on Irish music. The book includes hundreds of photographs, primarily donated to Richie by the families he interviewed, which greatly add to the telling of the history of Irish music in Chicago.

Product Type:  Book

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