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Tommy Potts


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

Tommy Potts (1912-1988) Fiddle.

Born and reared in the Coombe area of Dublin. His father came from Bannow in County Wexford and was a serious music enthusiast and accomplished piper who also played the concert flute and was a storyteller. Musicians were regular visitors to the house in the 1920�s and �30�s. Tommy, who started playing at age 15, attributes part of his playing style to the clarity and precision of his father�s playing. He received no formal training and among the influences he credits is Luke Kelly(fiddle), a Mrs Sheridan, Seamus Mahoney and his brother Edward. He also credits uilleann pipers Jem Byrne, Jimmy Ennis(Seamus� father), Johnny Doran and John Kearney.

Tommy has always had a reputation, sometimes critically, as an improvisor but he was always committed to the basic structure of a tune. He analysed the music and experimented playing in different keys and different settings which gave him exceptional knowledge on top of his exceptional musicianship. Seamus Ennis described his style as �individualistic�, which it undoubtedly is and certainly has not been copied though he remains hugely popular, especially but not exclusively among fiddle players.

Micheal O�Suilleabhain, who carried out intensive studies on Tommy�s style and music, compared Tommy�s playing in the 20th century to that of Turloch Carolan.

He has one commercial recording, released in 1972, and called "The Liffey Banks: Traditional Irish Music played by Tommy Potts"(Claddagh). (SE/FV).




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