I grew up in London and in the late fifties and early sixties and like most other young people of the time was inspired by the Rock revolution. It was a revolution because rock and roll swept aside and dispensed with the insipid and eratz popular music that had been a hangover from the 1940's.
I also had a great interest in jazz, blues, old time American music and what became known as "skiffle". Starting with the likes of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Lonnie Donegan, bit by bit I worked my way backwards to the roots of where they had got much of their music. I discovered Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and many others.
In 1964 I had the good fortune to meet the late Ewan McColl who was one of the most influential figures in the English Folk revival 1960's and 70's. MacColl was not only a great singer and excellent songwriter but also an outstanding folklorist. From working with MacColl and his partner Peggy Seeger (the renowned American folksinger and multi instrumentalist) I gained an insight and understanding of the vast body of folk music and songs of the British Isles and Ireland.
In the late 60's and 70's there were many excellent Irish traditional musicians living in Britain. I got to know many of the London based players. Bobby Casey from West Clare; one of the best fiddle players of his generation. Tom McCarthy (pipes and concertina) was a wonderful inspiration to scores of young players, and the undisputed embodiment of the soul of Irish traditional music. Roger Sherlock; one of the great Sligo flute players. These people represent only a sample of the community of very fine musicians resident in London at that time.
Myself and Dolores Keane, the great traditional singer from Co. Galway, moved from London to live in Ireland in 1980. For Dolores it was a home coming. For me it was like a spiritual home coming. We made Galway our base but toured extensively in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia.
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