Charlie Lennon – Biography (Courtesy The Knotted Chord Archive, 2002).
Musicians of Leitrim:
Charlie Lennon(1938- ) Fiddle, Piano.
Born in Kiltyclogher, North County Leitrim in July 1938, the youngest of four sons to Jim and Sally Lennon. Charlie started on piano at age 7 and worked his way through the grades to Diploma. He also started on fiddle around the same time under the tutelage of his brother Ben who brought him through the music of the Sligo masters Coleman, Killoran, Morrison and Gillespie. He went on to study classical violin in his late teens as well as studying classical and jazz harmonies. From age 17 to 22 Charlie was a professional musician playing with several ceili bands, variously on piano, fiddle, drums and double bass. At 22 Charlie enroled in Liverpool University eventually securing a Doctrate in Nuclear Physics. While in Liverpool he played with the Liverpool Ceili Band from 1960 to ‘68.
During this period the ‘Liverpool’ won 2 All-Ireland titles, recorded 2 albums with Decca, played in the Royal Albert Hall, appeared on ITV’s "Sunday Night at the Palladium and toured in the U.S.. In 1969 he moved back to Ireland with his wife, sean-nos singer, Sile Ni Fhlaithearta from Spiddal.
In the late 1970’s Charlie began composing tunes in a serious way most of which ended up in the book of his compositions "Musical Memories"(Waltons) released in 1993.
His recordings include Lucky in Love(with Mick O’Connor), The Emigrant Suite, Flight from the hungry land (from which the show and video Waves was taken), Island Wedding and Time for a tune, most of which featured his compositions. Island Wedding included his pieces in Orchestral format.
Among those to record his tunes is Frankie Gavin, Vinnie Kilduff, Liam O’Flynn, Bobby Gardiner, Kevin Burke, De Dannan, Boys of the Lough, The Waterboys, Sharon Shannon and Altan.
Along with his brother Ben and Ben’s sons Brian and Maurice and other Lennon family members he recorded the album Dance of the honey bees. He also appears on Ben’s solo album The Natural Bridge.
Charlie has been piano accompanist on over 25 albums the most famous of which are probably Omos do Joe Cooley with Paul Brock and Frankie Gavin and The Bucks of Oranmore with Joe Burke.
In 1998 he moved to Spiddal where he set up a state of the art recording studio with his daughter Eilis and Culann MacCaba. His children Sean, Donal and Eilis all play music.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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