Jump to content

Irish Concertina players active between 1850 and 1900

Padraic Walsh

Recommended Posts

I'm trying to put together a reply to your personal messages to me Padraic, but it's a difficult subject and I'm not in great health for it.


However, the simplistic answer is that there are no known "key players" of Irish traditional music on the concertina in the 19th century, since the concertina (and also the melodeon, mouth organ and tin whistle) were not deemed fit, or serious, instruments by the few people who collected/wrote about traditional music in those years.


In the words of my friend Dan Worrall, who has researched/written about the use of the German/Anglo concertina in various cultures, and who gave a lecture titled ‘Pride of Place: The Origins of Anglo-German Concertina Playing in Clare and Beyond’ at the Concertina Cruinniú in Miltown Malbay:



As popular as the concertina is in Ireland today, its heyday was in the late nineteenth century, and there is not a lot known or published about the instrument and its repertoire in Ireland at that time. My talk will explore the beginnings of its use in Ireland, at a time when Captain O’Neill (the tune collector) and the Gaelic League shunned it and its repertoire of new dance tunes as ‘foreign’ – a bit ironic, in that this was also a time when many old sources tell us that nearly every house in the Irish countryside had one…


Dan has also written 'Notes on the Beginnings of Concertina Playing in Ireland, 1834–1930'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
8 hours ago, sadbrewer said:

Snap 2022-02-02 at 17.44.12.png


So we're talking in the context of a Temperance meeting in Dublin, where "improving" (sacred or classical) music would be performed, not Irish traditional music - I know Paraic Walsh hasn't mentioned that's what his interest is here, but he has in private correspondence that we've exchanged.


Dan Worrall cited another performance of M. E. Walker's (footnote 25), at the 1872 Dublin Exhibition, under the category "Arrival and Use of the English Concertina" - whilst I've found references to the soprano Madame De la Vega Wilson singing at High Mass in the pro-Cathedral, Dublin, on Sunday 19th October 1862, and another performance in August 1868.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...