James Morrison was an Irish fiddler from Sligo, and a key proponent of the Sligo style of fiddle playing. He is known for his significant impact on Irish traditional music particularly in the early to mid-20th century.

Born in 1893 in Drumfin, County Sligo, Ireland, Morrison grew up in a region known for its rich musical tradition, which greatly influenced his development as a musician. He was influenced by the playing style prevalent in the region, characterized by a distinctive bowing technique and ornamentation. Like many Irish musicians of his time, he emigrated to the United States, settling in New York City. This move was crucial in his career, as it allowed him to become a part of the flourishing scene of Irish music in America.

Morrison made a significant number of recordings in the 1920s and 1930s, which were highly influential in both Ireland and among the Irish diaspora. His recordings showcased his mastery of the fiddle and his deep understanding of Irish traditional music. He was known for his virtuosic technique, characterized by a smooth, flowing bowing style and precise ornamentation. His playing was both powerful and melodious, making him one of the most admired fiddlers of his generation. He frequently collaborated with other notable Irish musicians of the era, including the renowned flute player John McKenna. These collaborations were important in shaping the sound of Irish traditional music in America.

James Morrison had a lasting impact on the development of Irish traditional music. His recordings became a benchmark for many musicians, and his style influenced subsequent generations of fiddlers. He is remembered not only for his exceptional musicianship but also for his role in popularizing Irish traditional music across the Atlantic. Many of his recordings are still listened to and studied by traditional musicians today.

Going Further

John McKenna – Irish Flute Player

Irish Traditional Music

The Instruments of Irish Traditional Music

Ornamentation in Irish Music

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