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Mandolin Mondays #339 w/ Special Guest Seán Keegan

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This week on Mandolin Mondays we have Irish mandolinist Seán Keegan with us fresh off his debut album release, playing a beautifully ornamented reel called "Sailor on the Rock" with his 2016 Ellis A4 Special.

Seán Keegan is a mandolin, tenor banjo and fiddle player of Irish Traditional Music. A noted performer, engineer and producer, Seán has worked with many of the most prestigious exponents within ITM, and has engineered and/or produced numerous critically acclaimed and award winning albums. And he's just celebrated the release of his debut solo album A Bird Never Flew on One Wing'--take a listen here:

Here's a word from Seán about the history and background of this tune, "Traditional Irish mandolinists often draw from the repertoire of the fiddle and tenor banjo, due to their similarity in technical approach and melodic phrasing. The reel Sailor on the Rock lends itself as a perfect candidate for this, as it is a tune that has been extensively recorded by some of the tradition's most influential musicians.

One of the earliest fiddle recordings of the reel was made by Michael Coleman in 1923 for the New York based label, New Republic. This Irish run label recorded many of the greatest performers from this Golden Era of Traditional Irish music in America. None greater than Coleman himself; a native of County Sligo, he was a master fiddle player whose technical command of the instrument, sense of melodic variation and infectious rhythm have had a lasting impact on every subsequent generation of traditional Irish musicians."

"This reel also sits well on the tenor banjo and is played widely by some of today's most noted performers. It was Joe Cooley's favourite tune to hear played on the banjo, according to Des Mulkere, his friend and musical partner. Cooley was a highly influential accordionist and his rendition of this reel, joined by Mulkere on banjo, is the final track on his seminal album, simply entitled 'Cooley'. This live recording was made on his return to Ireland, having spent much of his life playing and teaching music in all corners of America, in particular Chicago and San Francisco. Recorded in 1973, shortly before his death, the live nature of this album allows the listener to fully experience the dramatic impact of Cooley's fantastic drive and rhythm on a captivated crowd."

Be sure to connect with Seán at the following links below for more information about his music:

And as always, tune in next week for more Mandolin Mondays! Until then...

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  1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
    Fine playing, Seán!

    For those that might not have heard about his recent solo release, and it's a really fine one, details here: A Bird Never Flew on One Wing.
  2. AlanN's Avatar
  3. liestman's Avatar
  4. DougC's Avatar
    Someone confident enough to recommend his musical influences has to be a good musician. Good advice about the mandolin using ornaments from fiddle and accordion too.
    Listen and 'do what they do'.
    Well done Sean. Can't wait for more.
  5. Jill McAuley's Avatar
    Go hiontach! Lovely stuff Seán!
  6. Todd Bowman's Avatar
    Love it! Great tone! Thanks for sharing!
  7. Mainer73's Avatar
    Very nice
  8. Colin Braithwaite's Avatar
    Beautifully played. Inspiring ornamentation!