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Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society

Related threads:
Seamus Ennis Query: location of his grave (3)
Seamus Ennis:Radio prog (5)
In Memory of Seamus Ennis (1919-1982) (4)


Jack Blandiver 23 Jan 09 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 23 Jan 09 - 03:19 PM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jan 09 - 03:34 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Jan 09 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 23 Jan 09 - 04:20 PM
The Sandman 23 Jan 09 - 05:35 PM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jan 09 - 07:06 PM
lisa null 24 Jan 09 - 12:47 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jan 09 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 24 Jan 09 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 24 Jan 09 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,pipewatcher 28 Feb 09 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 28 Feb 09 - 05:57 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Feb 09 - 06:51 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Feb 09 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 28 Feb 09 - 07:45 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Feb 09 - 07:45 PM
GUEST 01 Mar 09 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Mar 09 - 09:23 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Mar 09 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Mar 09 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Mar 09 - 11:42 AM
Big Mick 01 Mar 09 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Francesco Sani 31 Mar 09 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Apr 09 - 03:33 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Apr 09 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,Thank you Suibhne O'Piobaireachd 13 May 09 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 13 May 09 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 17 May 09 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 17 May 09 - 07:18 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 May 09 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 17 May 09 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Francesco Sani to Peter Laban 25 May 09 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 20 Dec 09 - 10:57 AM
Jack Blandiver 20 Dec 09 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 20 Dec 09 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 25 Jan 10 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 13 Apr 10 - 04:10 PM
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Subject: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 02:59 PM

Storyteller, whistle player, singer, fiddler, collector, holy drinker, philosopher - and didn't he play the pipes a bit as well?

I wonder, is the following entirely atypical of the man? An Poc Ar Buile - cracking stuff all the same.

And for those who don't know: Lament of the Fox

Anecdotes, reminiscences, tributes, favourites - all such Enniseana welcome here. An old story once told around Tyneside had a hapless host enquiring as to what our hero would like for breakfast. The reply came: 'A pint of Guinness and a bucket.'


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 03:19 PM

The tune in the video is 'An Raibh Tu ag an gCarraig?', not the Lament for the Fox


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 03:34 PM

No expert of these matters, I was told it was Lament of the Fox. I stand corrected. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 03:56 PM

Peter (an excellent piper himself) is right of course, the air is 'An Riabh Tu an gCarraig?', (Were you at the Rock - referring to the mass rock where illegal religious services were held during Cromwell's reign of terror).
Ennis would not have thanked you for describing him as a fiddle player - the cassette released by Kennedy (Pigeon on the Gate I think) was issued without his knowledge or permission, and when he heard it was being sold he went Vesuvius - he did not consider himself a fiddle player and claimed he was tricked into being recorded.
Consistently one of the best pipers I have ever heard - especially his slow-airs, which he played with the feel of a singer.
Never thought of him as a particularly good singer, but an amazing raconteur and storyteller.
Superb Irish speaker - during the BBC collecting project in the 50s he won the respect of Gaelic speakers in the Hebrides because of his mastery of their language.
Great, charismatic (if somewhat overpowering at times) man - many wonderful memories of him.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 04:20 PM

Thanks for bringing that to my attention it brings back some great memories when Seamus used to appear at the Ballads & Blues Club way back now.


Hoot


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 05:35 PM

the air is 'An Raibh Tu ag an gCarraig?', (Were you at the Rock - referring to the mass rock where illegal religious services were held during Cromwell's reign of terror).[quote]
thanks for this info , Jim ,I wondered what the reference to the rock was about.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 07:06 PM

I'd never heard of the Mass Rocks before now. There's a fair bit of info on the web - here's a couple:

Doneraile Mass Rock

Mass Rock at Ballymacpeake, Co Derry


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: lisa null
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 12:47 AM

I owe a great deal of my life to Seamus Ennis. Long ago, In NYC, I hosted a house concert for the singer Robin Roberts who read some poetry Seamua Ennis had translated from the Irish. I was so mesmerized by the poetry, all I wanted to do was to help this man get more of it translated and published. I told a friend of mine at the time, singer Patsy Margolin, how impressed I was by Seamus's translations and she put me in touch with Pat Sky, the American folk singer who was learning the uillean pipes, making reeds, and who was anxious to make a record of Seamus's piping recorded from many stages of his career. The long and short of it? We founded Green Linnet with that in mind, adding a few of Pat's own recordings to the label, two by Peter Bellamy, and one by Rosalie Sorrels to help launch the label and accumulate enough capital and clout to go to Ireland to record Seamus liveon a Nagra recording machine. Jean Ritchie lent us some tapes of Seamus playing and singing, and I'm afraid they got lost or destroyed-- a terrible sin for which Jean has graciously forgiven us.

Pat went over first. He knew Seamus and many other Irish traditional musicians. I rememberm his pal, Liam Og O'Flynn was staying with Seamus at the time. I went over later with recording engineer and musician, Pitt Kinsolving. Seamus and I hit it off-- I was particularly interested in his singing and his ability to explain the history of Irish music and to place singing styles in context. After a weekend at Listowel, I remember spending hours with him. I would sing what I had learned, and he would critique my singing. We finally both decided that I should look at Irish and Irish-American songs in northeastern America. He felt the natural rhythms and stresses of my voice would work better with this material from my own region, as so much of what is done in Irish singing is based on Gaelic and on the accents of Irish English.

Anyway, though he was in the last ravages of alcoholism, Seamus was my greatest teacher, a gallant man and scholar, and a delightful companion for a young American eager to learn all he could teach me.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 04:01 AM

Thanks for that Lisa, more glimpses of a life that touched us all of a man who, while being feted as a great musician, was little appreciated and documented outside of the circle of people who were lucky enough to hear him play live.
One of the greatest nights of music I have ever experienced was in the 70s when some of us ran a club in west London and booked him as a guest.
Word got around that he was appearing and every musician in the London area turned up; Bobby Casey, Tom McCarthy, Paddy Taylor (the pub was Paddy's local), Raymond Roland, Roger Sherlock, Jimmy Power, Lucy Farr, Brendan McGlinchey... you name them, they were there.
Seamus quickly realised he was playing before an audience of his peers and that he dare not put a finger or an elbow wrong - and he didn't. The air shimmered with his playing.
On another occasion he was giving a solo recital at the Willie Clancy Summer School. He had not been playing at his best (drink problems) but on this occasion he was on top of his form. He began to play the Copper Plate Reel - he was superb - he knew it and the (rather small) audience knew it. He played and played and played and played and played.... he wouldn't stop - the reel lasted nearly ten minutes before he finally gave up, exhausted.
My favourite story of him (wasn't there) was when he played, again superbly, at the Lisdoonvarna Festival (not noted for being a traditional event). He finished his set, and the audience (who had largely come for the Christie Moore, Planxty brand of music), went wild and screamed and cheered for more.
He calmly walked up to the microphone, stooped down to it (he was a tall man) and said quietly "When somebody has played as well as that you don't ask for more," and went back to his seat at the back of the stage - sums him up really.
If you want to hear him at his best, there is an EP issued by Collector Records called The Ace And Deuce of Piping - the title track and 'The Music of the Forge' are magic!!! Sadly it is long unavailable - but a half decent traditional music archive must have a copy
There is a book on him and his work and music - unfortunately it is in Irish so I'll have to live on memories.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 05:09 AM

There is more than the book of field diaries edited by Rionach ui Ogain (which is due for release in translation as 'Going to the well for water' shortly). Pat Mitchell transcribed Seamus' dance music in a massive volume published by Na Piobairi Uilleann and a further volume, by Jimmy O Brien-Moran, with the airs, songs and misc is planned for the future.

Ennis did sometimes come out as a fiddler, he played the fiddle in the Ha'penny Bridge Quartet which also featured Sean Keane on Fiddle and Liam Og O Floinn on the pipes (the fourth member slips my mind now, it's early yet). Willie Clancy however is on record saying that while there was always the question of who was the best piper, himself or Seamus, there was little question about who was the better fiddler (Willie). Ennis had nice touches reminiscent of Padraig O Keeffe in his fiddle playing though.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 06:00 AM

I think the fourth member of the Ha'Penny Bridge Quartet was Sonny Brogan.

Anyhow, book-wise the piping tutor resurrected by Wilbert Garvin and Robbie Hannan from Seamus' (unfinished) manuscript version should be mentioned too.

And there's him playing The Morning Thrush on yertube as well.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,pipewatcher
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 05:12 AM

thrilling stuff.thanks to all for sharing your thoughts and memories of this amazing man and his amazing music. Cheers, pipewatcher


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 05:57 AM

Ennis was my introduction to the pipes, my fifteen or sixteen year old self ended up at a concert he was appearing at, in 1971 or 72 or so. I was in the middle of the front row and remember this tall man coming onto the stage and sitting down only may ten feet away from me. He talked a bit, did his mathematical bit about the double jigs in 6/8 and the single jigs in 12/8 and then launched into his first set of tunes.
I was mesmerised, it was literally life changing.

The interesting thing is I only only have a memory of Ennis and Sean 'as Donnchada being there that night. Years later I kept finding people who were playing that night as well : Joe Ryan once told me he was there, Liam O'Flynn and Matt Molloy played and loads more, it was Ennis who left a lasting impression.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 06:51 AM

Just unearthed my 1959 copy of The Bonny Bunch of Roses, which, I'm told, is also available on CD these days...

And here it is: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bonny-Bunch-Roses-Seamus-Ennis/dp/B0000058QM - new at £7.78, or used at £42.68 - choices, choices... Think I'll stick to my cherished old vinyl!

Here's what WIKI has to say:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seamus_Ennis


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 07:02 AM

And another site, featuring the famous picture with Jean Ritchie:

http://www.iol.ie/~ronolan/ennis.html


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 07:45 AM

This picture of the young Seamus from the Alan Lomax collection is lovely too, the Lomax site has some recordings too if I remember correctly

The Ritchie photo and the whole collection of images by her husband George Pickow is in the James Hardiman library in the University of Galway. Normally you can browse the contact sheets on-line (lots of Ennis but plenty more, Leo Rowsome, Beth Cronin etc)here but I am getting server errors from the library at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 07:45 PM

Thanks for the picture link & the info on the Richie-Pickow Image Collection at the Hardiman, Peter. As you say the link is down right now, but I'll be checking back in a day or so. The link you gave routes back to Mudcat; here it is for anyone who might wish to check for themselves.

http://www.library.nuigalway.ie/resources/archives/archives_electronic.html


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 08:37 AM

Yes, most districts in Ireland had a 'mass rock' or 'carraig an aifrinn' as a memento of the bad times. But what a terrific thread this is. It has so much 'inside' information given so generously. Thanks to all of you.

CJ


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 09:23 AM

Seamus' other achievement are sometimes overshadowed by his presence as a piper, even if we forgive him some of his popular follies like Football Crazy, he was quite the singer.

There's one story from his broadcasting days where he had to do a live broadcast on the Co Waterford singer (and a friend of his) Labhras O Cadhla.
On his arrival in the studio at the time the broadcast was to commence Seamus realised he hadn't brought his field recordings of O'Cadhla's singing. Without skipping a beat he announced the first song and, in the appropriate style, sang it himself. Legend has it nobody noticed the difference.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 11:15 AM

even if we forgive him some of his popular follies like Football Crazy, he was quite the singer.

As I indicated in my opening post, the genius of Seamus Ennis is not restricted to his piping - and I for one cherish his Football Crazy almost as much as his Feidlim Toon Ri's Castle. But what is the source of his First You Must Learn the Grip that features on 40 Years of Irish Piping? You can hear it on YouTube (link below) but ignore the graphics...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTMsFlSw_JI


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 11:41 AM

I am fond of Football Crazy as well, even if I regard it as a bit of a folly. I realise that Seamus was making a living and would put him singing Football Crazy, the Spinning Wheel, The Kerry Recruit, The Leaving of Liverpool and stuff like that in the repertoire he used to do that, the material popular with the audience he was playing to at the time.

Another feat I saw him perform recently in footage from the film O'Donoghue's Opera with the Dubliners etc was playing the whistle from one corner of his mouth while smoking a fag from the other.

it's on yer tube ofcourse beginning [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=482RwpkuHiY]here[/url] with three more instalments to cover the rest of the film


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 11:42 AM

Sorry tha twas BBcode again instead of HTML : try here


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 02:39 PM

There are any number of recordings and books available on this piping master from Na Piobairi Uilleann (The Uilleann Piping Society) in Dublin. I have much of his recorded music, which I listen to as I practice on my Uilleann pipes. Go to www.pipers.ie and visit the shop. You don't need to be a member to browse and/or shop.

To my good friend, Lisa Null, I must offer thanks once again. That is a wonderful tellin' of your relationship with Mr. Ennis. I was aware that you were friends, but hadn't heard it that detail before. One more reason for me to value our friendship, as if I needed one. Now if I could just do justice to "Mother Jones" like you do. I have that one on my ipod. I think Ennis gave you good advice. Your phrasing is wonderful.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Francesco Sani
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 06:33 PM

Hello,

I am the secretary of the Séamus Ennis Fanclub on Facebook; I just spotted your site and I have added the link on my page, which is here:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5567488237&ref=ts.

Feel free to take a look, and, if you are Facebook members, to join.

Regards
Francesco


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 03:33 AM

Why does a 'Seamus Ennis fanclub' sound soo wrong? I can go with Appreciation society but 'fanclub'.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 04:29 AM

That Facebook link as a clicky:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5567488237&ref=ts.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Thank you Suibhne O'Piobaireachd
Date: 13 May 09 - 02:22 PM

I take your point, Peter Laban, and if anyone else makes a similar suggestion I will think about re-branding the group.

Feel free to join...It is a collection of free online resources regarding S. Ennis. There are currently sixty-seven members.

I hope to organise a trip to Naul one day, to the S. Ennis Cultural Centre, with the members, but until then there are no plans for the group.

Thank you

F


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 13 May 09 - 03:04 PM

I am mostly unorganised, i.e. not member of anything (except Na Piobairi Uilleann maybe).

Appreciate Ennis' music though.

Tongue in cheek picture


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 17 May 09 - 06:59 AM

Coming back to this for a moment : the Ritchie-Pickow collection is on-line again and the Ennis photographs are to be found here , 130 of them.

It's more than worth taking the broader view and browse the entire collection.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 17 May 09 - 07:18 AM

Here is another picture, one of my own this time. I think I took it in 1981, the year before Ennis died. He was on good form at that time. Last time I saw him play was in 1982, the day before his final appearance at the Lisdoonvarna festival.

Further photographs can be found in the Na Piobairi Uillean archive, which I won't link to here as they may not appreciate me bringing in the non-member traffic. Yet more on the Willie Clancy summer school website in a package with other pics here


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 May 09 - 09:53 AM

Thanks for those picture links, Peter - amazing stuff for sure! Nice to see Seamus & Jean Ritchie together (did they ever play together I wonder??) and to see where the cover of The Bonny Bunch of Roses came from!

Your picture from 1981 is as fine a portrait of the great man as I've ever seen. Beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 17 May 09 - 12:30 PM

Thanks, I suppose at that time we'll have to put it down as a lucky shot.

The 'tongue in cheek' picture I linked above was taken at one of the piping tionoil by Liam McNulty who at the time was secretary of Na Piobairi Uilleann. The tongue in cheek part was that it's one of myself playing Ennis' pipes.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Francesco Sani to Peter Laban
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:08 PM

Thank you Peter!

Nice shot of Ennis on the chair, there, would you be happy if I used it as a picture in my Facebook (Seamus Ennis) page, acknowledging your authorship?

Thank you also for the Ritchie-Pickow link, but as it happens I had already put it on my S.E. page on Facebook last November:

http://www.facebook.com/wall.php?id=5567488237

Really the 130 pics are of three events, namely the park, the indoor recording, and of S.E. in a back alley, but still very good pics. My site has been growing steadily but now I've run out of things to post! Take a look if you wish and feel free to give feedback. :-)

By the way, regarding Na Píobairí Uilleann, I posted a link for that too, back in February... Trying my best! :-)

And tell me this: how did you find playing Ennis' pipes? I mean that can't just happen to anyone! How did that come about... :-) I'd love you to share the story on Facebook!

Thanks
regards
Francesco


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 20 Dec 09 - 10:57 AM

I bring this thread up to say 'Going to the Well for Water', the translation of the field diaries, has been released and is a wonderfully produced study, and a good read too.

Aniother clip, taken from 'Bringing it all back home' has appeared on youtube, here

An old newsreel, a silent one unfortunately, featuring James Ennis (the da)playing the pipes for dancers has turned up on the British Pathe site here He looks like a fierce regulator player.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Dec 09 - 12:17 PM

Lovely! And Seamus had a digital watch - how cool is that?


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 20 Dec 09 - 12:31 PM

I thought I had posted this clip of Séamus, Liam O' Flynn and Seán Keane playing whistles but checking the thread it turns out I didn't. Worth watching.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 02:27 PM

Another clip turned up the man himself playing Pat Ward's Jig

Quite a few recordings are now available on the Comhaltas archive site. If you sign in.


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Subject: RE: Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 04:10 PM

RTE aired a nice little program marking the 75th anniversary of the Folklore Commission. This first part, of three, was entirely devoted to Ennis and his collecting work.

If you can get RTE player on-line it'll be available there for at least a week.

Ó Bhéal go Béal


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