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John Kelly

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There was a post about this on thesession but this deserves posting here:


Aoife Kelly has finally put online the long in the works website documenting the life and music of her grandfather John Kelly. A thorough labour of love and in its own right a wonderful piece of social history..



(pic above: memorial to John Kelly at Kilbaha Pier, close to his birthplace)




I have seen Aoife give presentations about the project at the concertina cruinniú and the Willie Clancy Summerschool (see pic below, with family and friends) and it's great to see the project coming to fruition.




John was a towering presence when I started learning this music and I must say I am one of many who met the sharp end of his opinions of what was right and wrong. Playing the Teddy Bear's picnic on the pipes was definitely out, no matter how tongue in cheek it was. But it was his playing as a member of Ceoltoiri Chualann, Ceoltoiri Laighan, the Castle Ceiliband or just him playing the concertina, or playing the fiddle in the back of Friel's with Joe Ryan, Bobby Casey and Junior Crehan was always inspiring and he left his mark on generations of musicians.


The website:






Edited by Peter Laban
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  • 4 weeks later...
11 hours ago, kevodell said:

The Rolling Wave, on RTE Radio, featured this resource with Aoife Kelly on, I think 20th October just gone.



Thanks for that. You can listen to it here: https://www.rte.ie/radio1/the-rolling-wave/programmes/2019/1020/1084629-the-rolling-wave-sunday-20-october-2019/#103230349

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I think it was Danny Carnahan who once told me about seeing John Kelly play concertina while tilting the chair back on two of the legs, and yes, the inevitable happened - he fell over completely backwards. All the audience saw was the bottom of the chair with his two legs sticking up - and yet he continued and finished the tune without missing a note!



  • Haha 1
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