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Donncha Ó Briain

The late Donncha Ó Briain was a member of a well-known Dublin musical family: his brothers Mick (pipes), Tom (fiddle), Andrew (fiddle) and John (pipes), all learned music from an early age from their father Dinny (accordion). Despite suffering from muscular dystrophy, Donncha became one of the finest whistle players of his generation. In 1979 he recorded a highly acclaimed LP for Gael Linn which is now re-released as a CD with additional tracks which had been recorded by Raidió na Gaeltachta. Donncha passed away in 1990 aged 30.

This album is a masterclass of fine whistle playing and includes airs such as ‘The Dublin Reel’, ‘The Ivy Leaf’ and, one of Donncha’s favourites ‘Seán sa Cheo’. The original recording was produced by Paddy Glackin who has written:

This recording represents the music of a young man with a spirit and a love for life. Every tune is played with conviction and sincerity – traits that can only be brought out by a musician who appreciates and understands the beauty and cruelty of life.

On two of the tracks, Donncha is joined by members of his family. On ‘The Maid of Mont Cisco’, he is joined by on guitar by a young Mark Kelly who was a great friend of Donncha’s. The album also features Johnny Connolly’s playing of ‘The Flying Wheelchair’, the jig composed by Charlie Lennon in honour of Donncha.

1 The Girl that Broke my Heart / Seán sa Cheo (ríleanna)
2 Brendan Coombe’s / Port Uí Chaoimh (poirt)
3 The Boyne Hunt / Mairí ar an gCarraig (ríleanna)
4 Thomond Bridge / An Londubh (cornphíopaí)
5 Port Sonny Brogan / Tatter Jack Walsh (poirt)
6 The Maple Leaf / The Man of Aran (ríleanna)
7 The Maid of Mont Cisco (ríl)
8 Ríl Tom Martin / Green Fields of Rossbeigh / Jenny Picking Cockles (ríleanna)
9 Ríl Dharach de Brún / Slán le hÉirinn (ríleanna)
10 Ní ar Chnoc nó ar Ísleacht (fonn mall)
11 Trim the Velvet/ Scaipeadh na gCleití (ríleanna)
12 The Butcher’s March / The Queen of the Rushes (poirt)
13 Kitty Gone a’Milkin’ The Flogging Reel (ríleanna)
14 Sporting Paddy / Ríl Josie McDermott (ríleanna)
15 Cornphíopa Loch Garman /Dunphy’s (cornphíopaí)
16 Richard Dwyer’s / Spike Island Lasses (ríleanna)
17 Dublin Reel/Ivy Leaf
18 Seán sa Cheo/Dunmore Lasses
19 Tom Billy’s Jig
20 Port Tom Mór/ The Flying Wheelchair


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