“The McKenna Influence” Featuring Sean Gilrane (flute), Lorraine Sweeney (flute), Liam Kelly (flute), John McCartin (guitar) and Liam Cryan (Bodhrán)
This concert references tunes & archive recordings of John McKenna, whose recording career spanned from 1921 to 1937 during which time he recorded with New Republic, O'Byrne De Witt, Columbia and Decca Records, amongst others. John McKenna was responsible for reintroducing Leitrim tunes such as "Lucky in Love", "The Sailor and the Rock" and the "Happy Days of Youth". His legacy of recordings made him one of the most influential flute players in Irish traditional music and that influence has been felt throughout subsequent generations of Leitrim flute players right up to the current generation of players including Packie Duignan and Mick Woods.
Livestreaming on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
Seán Gilrane is an authority on McKenna, leading out on extensive research on John McKenna resulting in an important publication in recent years on the music and life of McKenna, with the John McKenna Society in Leitrim. The connection from this concert back to McKenna himself is made all the stronger as Liam Kelly from the band Dervish is playing one of John McKenna’s flutes in the recorded performance and releasing a CD of McKenna tunes played on this flute.
Sean Gilrane was born (1969) and reared in Ballinaglera, Co Leitrim, a mountainous region on the north eastern shores of Lough Allen. The area has a long and proud tradition of flute playing, although circumstances have dented that tradition in the last fifty years. Even though player numbers have largely decreased, the love of the instrument is still very much in the DNA of the local people. I did not start seriously playing the flute until I was 21 but was always absolutely captivated by the sound of the timber flute ever since I first heard it played by my neighbour Swithin Mc Partlin RIP, when I was in the cradle. I am strongly influenced by the local flute style and the commercial recordings of John Mc Kenna. Roger Sherlock, Josie Mc Dermott, Matt Molloy and Seamus Tansey.Liam Kelly grew up in Sligo Town and is a founding member of the band Dervish. He began playing traditional Irish music at the young age of 8 starting on the tin whistle at school and a couple of years later was taught by Carmel Gunning.He also played the accordion and was taught by the great Alfie Dineen. He then began to play flute at the age of 16 and went on to play in a group called Poitin who appeared on the Late Late Show after winning a talent competition where the Late Late appearance was the prize.Dervish then formed at the All Ireland Fleadh in 1989 after which they have gone on to produce 14 albums along with touring all over the world celebrating 32 years in the music business. He also has a solo cd called Sweetwood released in 2010 and a new John McKenna tribute album coming out this year playing one of the flutes that John McKenna used back in the 1920's.
Lorraine Sweeney is from a large musical family who hail from Ballinamore in County Leitrim. In her younger years the family lived in Manchester where the Irish music scene in the 80’s and early 90’s was vibrant & sparked a lifelong interest. Here she began learning the whistle with Angela Usher and later the flute.She studied Traditional Music Performance in Dublin’s BCFE under guidance of Paul McGratten and has since established herself as a regular on the session and summer school circuit both performing and teaching. Lorraine is a founding member of the Moylurg Ceili and was a part of their All-Ireland win in 2013.In 2014 she was delighted to be part of the John McKenna project group who released a biographical book and complete discography. Currently Lorraine is a Director with Music Generation Leitrims Youth Trad Orchestra, which recently featured her first composition Cates Waltz in their repertoire.