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Renowned fiddler and singer Seamus Creagh passed away on March 15th, 2009

Séamus was born in Killucan, County Westmeath in 1946. His early musical education was an introduction to dance band violin from his neighbour Larry Ward. A brief excursion with a ballad group in Dublin where he played guitar brought him closer to the traditional fold.

In the early sixties he spent many a night in O’Donoghues’ with Ted Furey, the fiddler, who was a vital bridge between the ballad and traditional scene. Then in 1967 he made trip to Baltimore in West Cork, just for a weekend, in fact it was the start of a forty year immersion in Cork music. Not that all his time was spent in Ireland’s largest county, he lived for five years in Newfoundland. He spent some of the 1980’s in Edinburgh and was to be seen playing music in Sandy Bells, the West End Hotel, and elsewhere. He also spent some time in London making a few shillings busking on the underground. He told me in an interview for IMM in 1997 that: “I was very lucky, at the Green Park tube station I met one of the transport police he was from East Limerick and he loved the Blackbird, when he was on duty I could play for as long as I liked!”

Back in Cork in the late sixties Séamus began playing with Jackie Daly at CCÉ sessions in the Country Club Hotel. This opened his ears to the music of Slaibh Luachra. There followed a ten year partnership with Jackie Daly that was to be marked by the 1977 Gael Linn Jackie Daly and Séamus Creagh album and introduced him to the polka repertoire of Sliabh Luachra. He made an album in1997 with ex De Dannan box player, Aidan Coffey and had recently appeared with Jackie Daly, Paul De Grae and Alec Finn at the Gathering Festival in Killarney, although he was very ill at the time he gave a spirited and very humorous performance.

A true gentleman of the tradition, he leaves a rich legacy of friendships and a body of recorded work which displays his love for and mastery of the Sliabh Luachra style. His final recording a double CD called Tunes for Practice is a fitting heirloom collection of music to pass onto the next generation.
Seán Laffey

Permalink - Posted: March 30, 2009 at 9:50 am