Musicians Amidst the Ranks

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The Roaring Kelly Band has another weekend double-header Saturday at First Pres in North Palm Beach at 6pm and Sunday Happy Hour fun at 4pm at O’Connor’s in Delray Beach.

About traditional instruments in Irish traditional ‘trad’ music, Jim Fitzpatrick’s post in The Session website asked, “Are we fellow mandolin players looked upon as equal musicians amidst the ranks of fiddles, pipes, accordions etc?”

Well, yes!

I’m surprised the question came up. Mandolin players are regarded among the most successful and creative musicians in Irish traditional music.  Consider the example of Andy Irvine who began as a stalwart with the legendary group Planxty, and who is one of the most successful mandolin players within Irish traditional music over the past 50 years.  Mick Moloney at age 71 remains a peerless musician on mandolin and other instruments. There’s also lovely music from Marla Fibish, a mandolin artist in the Irish trad scene in San Francisco. There are, of course many, many more.  Whereas the Irish national instruments of harp and ukilleann pipes have been part of Irish culture for hundreds of years, the fiddle, flute, and later the tin whistle gained prominence in the 1800’s.  The two-row, button accordion and the concertina gained popularity later in that same century then became fixtures with the dance-hall Céilí bands throughout Ireland in the early 1900’s through the war years.  Irish bands featuring mandolin, tenor banjo, guitar, mandolin and bouzouki came to prominence during the heady 1960’s folk renaissance period where musicians and groups like the Chieftains, the Bothy Band, and Planxty, took giant steps to introduce variety within Irish trad music. The mandolin has been a vibrant part of the Irish music scene ever since.

Speaking of fine mandolin playing, the Roaring Kelly Band has it in high degree!  Come join us at the next performance. That high, bright sparkle of cheerful notes you hear in the mix is none other than our own Kevin on mandolin.  Add the lilting, brisk notes of Rosemarie on flute and tin whistle, the cascade of exciting melodies from Ian on fiddle, the harmonic, chordal moves from Randy on bouzouki, and the solid bass bottom from Bill that ties it together and you’ll get a big, bucketful of fun from the Roaring Kelly Band.  See you there!