Paddy Killoran (1904-65) was an Irish fiddler, born near Ballymote, County Sligo, Ireland. He is regarded, along with his mentor James Morrison and the great Michael Coleman, as one of the finest exponents of the south Sligo fiddle style in the “golden age” of the ethnic recording industry of the 1920s and ’30s.
Kitty Hayes (born Smith) was an Irish concertina player from Fahanlunaghta, not far from Lahinch, in West Clare. Her father Peter was also a concertina player, and played in nearby Miltown Malbay. She married flute and whistle player Josie Hayes, who played with the Laichtín Naofa Céilí Band. Music took a back seat as she raised 7 children, and nursed her father then her husband.
She recorded two albums, A touch of Clare and They’ll be Good Yet (with Peter Laban). After her death, Kitty’s daughter, Angela Connaughton produced a CD to remember Kitty and to once more celebrate her music : Kitty Hayes Remembered. The music on the CD was taken from concerts at the Masters of Tradition in Bantry House which took place in August 2007 and the Kitty Hayes Tribute concert in Glór in Ennis in november 2007.
Mike Rafferty was an Irish flute player from Ballinakill in Co. Galway, who emigrated to the US and became a major figure in Irish traditional music there.
Born in 1926, he learned his music from his father Barrell Rafferty, who played flute and uilleann pipes. In 1949 he emigrated to the US where he married and raised a family of 5.
He toured all over the US with the group the Green Fields of America, and was influential in the early days of Comhaltas, as a member of the Martin Mulvihill Branch.
Below is a series of recordings demonstrating polymer flutes made by Des Seery from Co. Wicklow. Sadly Des is no longer with us, so I’ve kept the CD up here for posterity. I don’t have much information about the recording, other than that the musicians are Pat Fitzpatrick, Eamonn de Barra and Ken Murphy.
Jim Donoghue (1910-90) was a Sligo tin whistle player, known for his style of playing the “Clarke Whistle” – he played in a strong, rhythmic style with a tone that approached that of the Irish flute. He obtained his unique tone by working or “humouring” the fipple of his Clarke tin whistle, and played many of his tunes in unique settings. Below is his version of the Battering Ram jig.
John McKenna was an influential Irish flute player. Born in 1880 in Tarmon, Co Leitrim, he worked in the Arigna coal mines before emigrating to the States in 1911, where he settled in New York. He made 60 recordings (78s) between 1921 and 1937, including several duets with violinist James Morrisson. He was among the first to make recordings of Irish traditional music, with James Morrisson (fiddle), Patsy Tuohy (uilleann pipes) and other emigrant musicians, at the time of Francis O’Neill’s book “The Dance Music of Ireland.