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Paddy Tunney


Musicians of Donegal: (Courtesy of The Knotted Chord Archive, 2002).

Paddy Tunney(1921- ) Singer, lilter, dancer, raconteur.

Born in Glasgow of Irish parents but reared in Pettigo, Co. Donegal though he did spend some of his youth in Fermanagh. His mother Brigid was a famous singer in her own right with a wealth of stories and songs which were duly passed to Paddy and others. He also picked up songs from the rich store locally in Donegal and Fermanagh.

Famously quoted as a being "Irish to the marrow, a dedicated hater of pop and cant and shamrockery, a lover of old ways and rare songs and raving poetry".

His singing has had a huge effect on many singers. His versions of the songs ‘Moorloch Mary’, ‘Mountain streams where the moorcock crows’ and ‘Highland Mary’ are all considered definitive.

He turned to academic study, of history and the Irish language, during a four year period of detention, around the 1950’s, for political activities in Belfast. He later published several books including a biography "The Stone fiddle – my way to traditional song", "Where songs do thunder" which is a collection of songs with anecdotal stories, and two volumes of poetry. His definitive recording is "A wild bee’s nest" recorded in 1965 for Topic (later Ossian). Other recordings were "The Irish Edge"(Ossian), "The Mountain streams where the moorcock crows"(Topic), "The Flowery Vale"(Topic), "Lough Erne Shore"(Luna), "The Green Linnet"(Green Linnet) and "the Stone fiddle"(Green Linnet). He can also be heard on "Where the linnet’s sing" with his mother, sons and daughter. Further credited as journalist and broadcaster he is still dedicated to the singing tradition. He continues to make regular trips to Fleadh’s, especially the All-Ireland Fleadh where he has adjudicated over many years.(FV)

You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.




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