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ceemonster

Dympna O'sullivan Rip

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Very sad news. One of my favourite traditional style players. I enjoyed playing along with her in sessions and last saw her in Miltown Malbay at the first Gathering a few years back RIP

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thank you for sharing. memories of Dympna in Hillerys on the Willie weekday afternoons . . . dympna and tom carey in kilrush . . . I can still recall encountering her music for the first time at one of the willie concertina recitals and being wild to learn who she was and whether she had recordings . . . she didn't at that point, lovely that recordings did eventually follow . . .

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Yes, Kilrush, Coore, Miltown, Ennis, Kitty, Gerdy Commane, the women in Crotty's, with John Weir and Eithne in Friel's, playing for the tellie in my kitchen and at the Crosses, . Sweet music.

 

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Edited by Peter Laban

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She had wonderful taste, as well. Loved the old-school, relaxed Clare style, and the more relaxed-style Mayo players. My first few years of going over she often anchored with a lovely Mayo box player named Seamus Henegan. My last few times she was often anchoring with c#/d player Joe Carey of Mayo, whose playing was a revelation. People talk now and then about who today has the Joe Cooley feel and sound, well, Joe Carey would be way up there. I understand that Dympna started on box, sorry that we never dished about accordion. I attended what turned out to be the last year of the Mrs. Crotty Festival in Kilrush (as such, anyway--I understand they still have events around that time). And the plan was to worm my way using wiles and strategems of some kind into Dympna's class because I had my heart set on spending some time with her as a teacher and had heard she usually taught kids. So in the grading, Ernestine Healy was about to put me in to a different advanced class and I piped up that if possible, could I have a technique class rather than a "tunes" class. And I was just drawing breath to ask straight out to go in with Dympna when Ernestine said, "Well, hmmmm, I think I'll put you in Dympna O'Sullivan's class," and said it was the advanced class for kids, and she would tell Dympna I hoped for some technique. So I got to spend several days with her and her music.

 

And it was delightful. She was a very gifted teacher with exquisite taste in tune repertoire, and it was wonderful to spend several days up close with her music and see how she approached where to put ornaments, and what ornaments she used, etc. She also had a great sense of humor and fun. There was this laugh we all had about the sense in Clare of the term "character." I think she called one boy a character. And then I said I'd been plaintively asking one of the local trad and set-dancing stalwarts if I was one of the characters yet and had gotten a verdict of, definitely a character. And another kid piped up and said, " But I want to be a character!" And others chimed in that they wanted to be characters. Dympna laughed her head off at that, and said, "All right then, you're ALL characters!!" She drove me one night to a session in a pub with sort of nautical or whaling-ish décor, near the water, kind of "behind" the town. It was one of the skedded festival sessions, but would have been a very long hike indeed. I think the Cotters were the anchors, can't remember who with.

 

There was this thing she said that I keep forgetting to find out more about. It was a propos of one of the boys in the class, she was encouraging him or praising him or having him play or something. And she said to me in conversation that in Ireland (or maybe she meant, in the West? don't know), the boys are often given short shrift, or given a tough time, or not praised enough, or something like that. What does this mean? It's a kernel of cultural insight that I haven't yet cracked . . .

Edited by ceemonster

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Ceemonster,

 

Thank you for taking the time to put some of these memories down to share with us that will never have the privilege to play music with the likes of Dumpna. It brings so much more to her music. Such a glimpse into her personality and openness as a musician is what really puts more meaning in every note. Dympna, along with Mary MacNamara, were really the two players that made me think "ok, time to buy a concertina" when I first heard them. Her playing just had grace. I'll keep doing whatever I can to learn from her playing.

 

 

She had wonderful taste, as well. Loved the old-school, relaxed Clare style, and the more relaxed-style Mayo players. My first few years of going over she often anchored with a lovely Mayo box player named Seamus Henegan. My last few times she was often anchoring with c#/d player Joe Carey of Mayo, whose playing was a revelation. People talk now and then about who today has the Joe Cooley feel and sound, well, Joe Carey would be way up there. I understand that Dympna started on box, sorry that we never dished about accordion. I attended what turned out to be the last year of the Mrs. Crotty Festival in Kilrush (as such, anyway--I understand they still have events around that time). And the plan was to worm my way using wiles and strategems of some kind into Dympna's class because I had my heart set on spending some time with her as a teacher and had heard she usually taught kids. So in the grading, Ernestine Healy was about to put me in to a different advanced class and I piped up that if possible, could I have a technique class rather than a "tunes" class. And I was just drawing breath to ask straight out to go in with Dympna when Ernestine said, "Well, hmmmm, I think I'll put you in Dympna O'Sullivan's class," and said it was the advanced class for kids, and she would tell Dympna I hoped for some technique. So I got to spend several days with her and her music.

 

And it was delightful. She was a very gifted teacher with exquisite taste in tune repertoire, and it was wonderful to spend several days up close with her music and see how she approached where to put ornaments, and what ornaments she used, etc. She also had a great sense of humor and fun. There was this laugh we all had about the sense in Clare of the term "character." I think she called one boy a character. And then I said I'd been plaintively asking one of the local trad and set-dancing stalwarts if I was one of the characters yet and had gotten a verdict of, definitely a character. And another kid piped up and said, " But I want to be a character!" And others chimed in that they wanted to be characters. Dympna laughed her head off at that, and said, "All right then, you're ALL characters!!" She drove me one night to a session in a pub with sort of nautical or whaling-ish décor, near the water, kind of "behind" the town. It was one of the skedded festival sessions, but would have been a very long hike indeed. I think the Cotters were the anchors, can't remember who with.

 

There was this thing she said that I keep forgetting to find out more about. It was a propos of one of the boys in the class, she was encouraging him or praising him or having him play or something. And she said to me in conversation that in Ireland (or maybe she meant, in the West? don't know), the boys are often given short shrift, or given a tough time, or not praised enough, or something like that. What does this mean? It's a kernel of cultural insight that I haven't yet cracked . . .

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