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2014 Obit: Finbarr Dwyer

Felipa 18 Jan 23 - 03:37 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 10 Feb 14 - 02:24 PM
Elmore 10 Feb 14 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 10 Feb 14 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,Philippa 10 Feb 14 - 11:29 AM
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Subject: RE: Obit: Finbarr Dwyer (2014)
From: Felipa
Date: 18 Jan 23 - 03:37 PM

I'm listening to Ceol Binn ó na Beanna on Raidió na Gaeltachta just now (it's on from 7-9 pm GMT) and the programme is featuring a lot of the music of Finbarr Dwyer (1946-2014).

You can find some recordings of Finbarr Dwyer on youtube, a short biography on Wikipedia, and sheet music for at least two of his compositions on The Session website.

From The Irish Examiner newspaper:

B-side the Lee Side Thu, 15 Apr, 2021 - 07:30
Pet O’Connell

“Nobody has ever played the accordion like Finbarr and to be honest I don’t think anybody will.” Though many have attempted the feat, few would dispute the assertion of Teresa McMahon, accompanist and long-time friend of the late Finbarr Dwyer.

“He was totally unique,” agrees Kerry accordion maestro Séamus Begley. “He danced reels around the tune and he just could not play it straight. He had to put his own twist on. As he said himself, he gave it the kiss of life.” 

Begley speaks from experience, having once offered the Beara man the most sincere form of musical flattery. “I learned a hornpipe that he was playing. I did my best to imitate him and I played it for him. He picked up the box and played a different version,” laughs Begley, who in 2010 presented TG4’s Gradam Ceoil composers’ award jointly to Finbarr and his brother John.

Teresa McMahon, piano accompanist on Dwyer’s early albums, attests that he rarely played a tune the same way twice, just one of the idiosyncrasies of a mercurial musician and composer who played both fiddle and guitar left-handed, without modifications to the instruments.

His multi-instrumental skills and breadth of Irish, continental, and country and western styles found receptive audiences in the pubs and clubs of Cricklewood and Shepherd’s Bush, in Camden, Kilburn, and Slough of the late 1960s and 70s.

“The Irish were there in their droves and every night we went out to play it was full of laughter and song and fun,” says Teresa, who with her husband, Clare accordionist Martin McMahon, became fixtures on the London Irish music scene as The Caravelles, playing regularly with Dwyer.

 “Himself and Martin became great friends and he was always visiting us, and he would turn up at some of the places we would play. He played so many instruments and composed a lot of music; he played the most beautiful continental waltzes.”

 ‘Finbarr Dwyer, Irish Traditional Accordionist’, comprising Dwyer’s own compositions and his distinctive twists on traditional tunes, was produced by Billy McBurney at International Studios in Belfast and released on Outlet Records in 1970.

Its recording was a no-nonsense affair, Teresa recalls. “I was in England and I flew over in the morning and back in the evening. I met Finbarr in the studios. The recording was all done in one day - you sat down and you did it.” Launched with similar lack of fanfare, the album nonetheless “made a massive impact” says Teresa. “Everybody wanted to hear him.”

Séamus Ó Beaglaioch died 9 Jan 2023
I heard him on the same radio programme tonight, singing Mo Ghille Mear.

You can also find videos on youtube of Martin and Teresa McMahon playing.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Finbarr Dwyer (2014)
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 02:24 PM

Very sorry to read this sad news. He was a truly great musician.

R.I.P. (Been writing those letters far too much lately...)

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Subject: RE: Finbarr Dwyer
From: Elmore
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 01:33 PM

Thanks for the info. Sorry he's gone. He certainly had a distinctive style.

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Subject: RE: Finbarr Dwyer
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 12:22 PM

Yes, news has been going around accordeonplayer and composer of tunes Finbarr Dwyer died on the 8th.

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Subject: Finbarr Dwyer
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 11:29 AM

I heard a death notice on Raidio na Gaeltachta for "Finbarr Dwyer, ceoltóir". Seeking confirmation on the internet, I see a notice about a Finbarr Dwyer who died in Co Cork, 8 Feb (funeral tomorrow), but not enough detail to say for sure that this is the "ceoltóir" (musician)

celebrate the music of Finbarr Dwyer - some info and two video links at

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