Musicians of Sligo: (Courtesy of The Knotted Chord Archive, 2002).
Seamus Tansey(1943- ) Flute, raconteur.
Born in Gurteen, County Sligo. His father was a classical singer and his mother a fiddle player. She was a first cousin of Kathleen Harrington and John Joe Gardiner.
His father encouraged him on the tin whistle and learnt from the many migrant workers(spailpins) who travelled through the area periodically.
Seamus got his first flute in 1961 and in 1965 won the Senior All Ireland flute competition.
The Sligo fiddle legend Michael Coleman was a key influence, as he was on most musicians, as well as flute player Roger Sherlock.
In 1970 he released his first album Seamus Tansey and Eddie Corcoran which was followed in 1971 by Best of Seamus Tansey.
1976 saw the release of King of the Concert Flute and 1980 Reels and Jigs, which has since been re released with The Coleman Country Ceili Band’s album as a two album cd.
In 1997 he released Easter Snow
Seamus released to hell with the begrudgers with Northern fiddle partner Jim McKillop.
Seamus has stong views on attempts to dilute the musical tradition and contributed a very persuasive essay to the "Crossroads Conference" held in the late 1990’s, which addressed the state, and future, of Irish traditional music.
His outspokensess and ‘frankness’ landed him in hot water with the 1999 release of his book The Bardic apostles of Inisfree but is still well regarded by many.
In 2001 he released a three cd box set of his music, poetry and musings Words and Music/ Phantom Shadows of a Connaught Fire Light which he says has finally brought him peace. He especially thanks Tony MacMahon and Michael Flatley for their support. His son Padraig, who is a young rock drummer, produced the album.
No matter what the opinion about the man, Seamus Tansey is rightly regarded as one of the great flute players in Irish music and continues to be a huge influence on younger generations. Among the many who name Seamus as an influence is Catherine McEvoy, LE McCullough, Jean Michel Veillon, John Wynne and Conal O’Grada.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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