Irish Musicians in The Bronx

Irish Musicians in The Bronx – a Brief Oral History

Archive for the ‘Banjo’ Category

Don Meade, harmonica(s) and banjo

Don Meade, banjo and harmonica

Don Meade came to New York from California and quickly became a major player and impresario in the Irish music community.  Known to play fiddle and banjo at his Monday night Landmark Tavern sessions, he also has a wonderful repertoire of songs, is an All-Ireland champion on the harmonica, and plays fiddle with New York’s Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra.  Don is also one of the world’s experts on the names and histories of traditional tunes, and routinely receives calls from around the world asking for his assistance.

In this April 23rd, 2009 interview, Don discusses his early days on the banjo, CCE sessions around the metropolitan area, and learning tunes from the older generations of players in New York.  He also talks about the early session and concert scene, especially the Eagle Tavern series, which he still runs today as the “Blarney Star” Irish Music concert series.  In addition, he discusses and demonstrates harmonicas and ornamentation, and plays a few tunes on the banjo.

Selected excerpts:

Don Meade on his early musical influences in New York:

Don demonstrating the diatonic harmonica:

Don Meade demonstrating ornamentation on a chromatic harmonica:

Don talks about CCE sessions, respected local musicians and his All-Ireland award:

Don warms up the tenor banjo:

Written by bronxtunes

September 9, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Donie Ryan, banjo

Donie Ryan, banjo

Donie Ryan was born and raised in County Tipperary and learned music from a number of members of his family, including his father and uncle. 

After playing sessions around home for a number of years, he brought his banjo overseas and toured through France, Germany and the United States. 

In this interview, Donie talked about his time playing Irish music in continental Europe, sessions in New York City, and discussed the particulars of the banjo in traditional music.  Also, he played a number of tunes on the banjo both solo, and with John Redmon on the button accordion.

Here is a clip of Donie playing a set of tune on the tenor banjo:

Here is a clip of Donie playing a set of tunes with John Redmond on button accordion:

Written by bronxtunes

September 8, 2010 at 9:59 am