The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #172018   Message #4161961
Posted By: Felipa
10-Jan-23 - 09:42 AM
Thread Name: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
Subject: Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch, box player & singer
I turned on Raidió na Gaeltachta and fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada was talking about Séamus Ó Beaglaíoch. As one person after another paid tribute to Séamus, I realised he must have died. Also known as Séamus Begley, he was probably the best known among a very musical family from County Kerry. He played for dances and did a lot to promote the polkas and slides , and he also sang mournful airs. I'm sure many Mudcatters are familiar with Séamus' music.

Tadhg Evans and Aoife Breslin

January 09 2023 09:47 PM

One of Ireland’s most highly regarded traditional musicians, Séamus Ó Beaglaoich, has died today.

Mr Ó Beaglaoich, from Baile na bPoc in the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht, was 73 and leaves behind a musical legacy of the highest calibre. He was best known as an accordionist and singer. During a long career – he began playing in dance halls in his early teens – he collaborated with music stars as Mary Black, Steve Cooney, and his siblings, coming as he did from a family steeped in music and singing, a tradition handed down to them by their parents.

He recorded his first album – with sister, Máire – An Ciarraíoch Mallaithe just over 50 years ago. Many productions followed, including Ragairne, with guitarist Jim Murray, which in 2001 was named traditional album of the year by Hot Press.

Hailing from the heart of the West Kerry Gaeltacht, Mr Ó Beaglaoich was a native Irish speaker, and often sang through his ‘teanga dúchais’.[native tongue]

Musician Donal Lunny appeared on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today to pay his respects to his good friend Seamus, saying that he was a “mighty figure”.

“Seamus was larger than life and I think everybody I know is devastated by his passing, in fact it leaves a huge void on the traditional scene, he occupied a great space,” he said.

“He was a beloved man, he was always up for the craic, as well as being a musician, a native speaker and being a beautiful singer as well as player, he was almost like a court jester, like a joker, he was full of fun and satire.

“He would subvert many a solemn occasion with some ridiculous joke which would bring the house down, he was a mighty figure.”

Speaking about his talent, Lunny explained how Seamus was a natural and that he was central to the heritage of Irish music.

“He was a natural entertainer, and there was no real difference between his daily life and being on a stage, he performed all the time but in the most natural way. He never missed a bit of craic and he was beloved for that,” he said.

“I remember the first time I heard the album he made with Steve Cooney called Meitheall, and hearing him sing in this beautiful angelic voice, a really beautiful voice Seamus had, and that was an amazing album that kind of, I think, put him on the scene in a more general way.

“With regard to the heritage, he was central to that as well, I think everyone is suddenly aware of how much space Seamus occupied in the soul of the country.”

Sharon Shannon described him as a second father to her and told how she absolutely adored him.

“I have known him since I was 17, when I ended up in the Gaeltacht when I was studying Irish in UCC,” she said.

“I somehow ended up at his house playing tunes and he was so welcoming, always so welcoming to young musicians, and encouraging. We have been friends ever since.

“My God I just can’t believe it, he was like a second father to me, I absolutely adored him, I idolised him.

She described his music as having an “amazing power”.

His music had amazing power, he could lift the roof off any house or pub session, and made just a dynamite atmosphere anywhere he went,” she said.

Then when he would sing, it was the most beautiful, effortless singing that was really calm, you would hear a pin drop in even the most noisy pubs when he would start singing.

“As well as all that, he was absolutely brilliant craic, really hilarious, incredibly quick witted, he would make you cry laughing, you would belly laugh for hours when you were in his company.

“The most enjoyable times in my life that I could think of was always in his company, he was funnier than any comedian.”

tv programme re Séamus: 'S e Mo Laoch (2020, in Irish with English subtitles)