Friday, August 03, 2007

Tommy Makem -- R.I.P.



Sad news in the paper this morning: Tommy Makem died last Wednesday. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem were one of the musical mainstays of my youth. They were the beginning, the seed, of what became the “Celtic” music phenomenon. It merits its own category in the recorded music lists now.

It's a shock not just to see the notice of his death but to find that he was 74. (If he's 74, I must be. . . .oh, dear.) I can't remember how many of the brothers have died. Is it only Liam Clancy left?

Here is the obituary from The Irish Independent.

The notice on the RTE (Irish radio) website can be found here


If you click on the little tv/radio icon underneath the headline on the RTE page, a new window will open with links to several interviews with Liam Clancy, Tommy's nephew Peter, and others from the traditional Irish music world. It's worth the time.

"Brennan on the Moor" (Tommy Makem on banjo)

"I'll tell me ma"
(Tommy on tin whistle)

"The Shoals of Herring"


"The Wild Rover"

A final note: before he immigrated to America from Keady in the North of Ireland, Tommy was a member of the Keady Pipe Band. In the U.S., he signed up with the old County Armagh Pipe Band in New York.

God rest his soul.