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John Doonan


John Doonan
John Doonan (Photograph Johnny Handle)

John Doonan, All-Ireland and World Piccolo Champion, is often described as the Godfather of Irish Music and, in celebrating fifty years of travelling and playing, it has was said that he has been on the road longer than the white lines. in the year of his 80th birthday John died on Friday 8th March 2002. Along with his two sons, Mick (piccolo, flute, whistles, uilleann pipes and vocals) and Kevin (fiddle and vocals), the Doonan Family have travelled from their base in Hebburn, Tyne and Wear to play all over the world. Affectionately known in the north east as the 'Whistling Welder', he has had an unquestionable and significant influence on music and musicians in, and far beyond, the North of England. His grandfather also called John, played fiddle and accordion and his father George was a fiddler. John played by ear and never learned to read music. His flair saw him win an All - Ireland championship competition in Co. Roscommon playing the piccolo in 1968 and come second in the music section of the Welsh International Eisteddfod in the 1970s.

On this selection we hear John Doonan, recorded at the Marsden Inn in the late 1960s, playing Cooley's Reel and The Silver Spear.

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