Josie McDermott was an Irish flute player from lived in Coolmeen, Sligo, near the border with Roscommon & Leitrim, in an area rich in folklore and musical traditions.

His flute playing was in the pulsing rhythmic style of the Sligo/North Roscommon area. His whistle playing was also rhythmic with the notable use of staccato tongued triplets in place of rolls, which he developed because of what he called a “lazy” left hand when younger, to keep the style when his left hand improved.
He had a diverse musical taste and played various genres from traditional Irish music to jazz, playing the trumpet and saxophones as well as flute and whistle and playing with local jazz bands.

josie mcdermott irish flute player

He won an All-Ireland title on the whistle and alto saxophone in 1964 and was also a singer and composer, known for tunes like ‘A Trip to Birmingham’ and ‘Darby’s Farewell to London.’ which have entered the tradition.

Going Further

The Irish Flute

Irish Flute Geezers tape featuring Josie McDermott

John Joe Gardiner – Irish Flute Player

Patsy Hanly – Irish Flute Player

The Instruments of Irish Traditional Music

The Tin Whistle – A Comprehensive Introduction and Resource Guide

Ornamentation in Irish Traditional Music

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