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Authority record

Moran, John Oliver, 1933-2017

  • IE ITMA P00082
  • Person
  • 1 January 1933-27 May 2017
John Oliver Moran (1 January 1933–27 May 2017) was born in Killarney and grew up in Cahirsiveen. His father was chief veterinary officer for Munster. Oliver qualified as a solicitor, worked in Rhodesia, returned to Ireland and worked there as a qualified town planner. He was the youngest of a singing family of five, but didn't play an instrument. He was unmarried.

Moore, Christy

  • IE ITMA P00140
  • Person
Moore, Christy. (1945– ). Singer, songwriter. Born in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, to Andy Moore from that town, and Neans de Paor of Yellow Furze, Navan. From his mother he learned to sing, and became absorbed in rock ’n’ roll initially, then was deeply moved by the Clancy Brothers. He learned guitar in 1961 from Dónal Lunny, and while still in his teens he formed with him a duo, The Rakes of Kildare. He worked briefly in the Bank of Ireland, but left during the strike of 1966 to tour folk clubs in England, during his stay there recording his first album, Paddy on the Road, with Dominic Behan as producer. Out of Ireland he was influenced by music heard in pubs in Fulham, Camden Town, Cricklewood, Moss Side, Glasgow and Blairgowrie. Singers John Reilly, Luke Kelly, Ewan MacColl, Martin Carthy, Hamish Imlach, Joe Heaney and Annie Briggs also influenced him.
Planxty. He returned to Ireland in 1971, and recorded Prosperous, released in 1972. With three of the musicians who played on that album – Liam O’Flynn, Dónal Lunny and Andy Irvine – he formed the group Planxty, the most popular band of the 1970s. When they split in 1975 he pursued a solo career; they re-formed in 1978, but within a few years Moore and Lunny had left to form Moving Hearts. He left after that band’s second album and developed a successful solo career, playing to huge audiences at home and abroad. An uncompromisingly political singer, Moore has espoused such causes as the Carnsore Point antinuclear protest, H-Block hunger strikes and the lot of the ordinary worker. His lyrics are intense, rhythmical in a ‘talking blues’ style, and when not (as sometimes), bitingly sarcastic, moralistic, sentimental or angry, can radiate an intense humorous understatement. Other members of the Moore family are involved in music. Brother Barry performs as ‘Luka Bloom’, nephew Conor Byrne plays flute (album Wind Dancer).
recordings. Moore performed on all of Planxty’s recordings and on Moving Hearts (1982) and The Dark End of the Street (1982) with Moving Hearts. By 2009 he had recorded twenty-six solo albums, as well as six with Planxty and two with Moving Hearts. Although Moore retired from public performance in 1998, like many others he returns to the stage intermittently. In 1994 Hummingbird recorded Christy, a documentary for RTÉ on his life and music, and another, Live at the Point, in 2006. His choice of songs, including his own lyrics, are recorded in Frank Connolly’s 1984 The Christy Moore Songbook, and his own autobiographical One Voice in 2000.

McNamara, Michael, b. 1936

  • IE ITMA P00056
  • Person
  • 1936-

Michael McNamara was born in 1936 to parents Patrick McNamara and Bridget Reilly. Second eldest in a family of five living children, Michael’s mother died when he was five years old. Subsequent to his mother’s untimely death, Michael was reared by his father in their homestead in Carrickavoher, Aughavas, Co. Leitrim.

Though life was not easy on a subsistence farm, Michael and his siblings grew up in a house which constantly received visitors, particularly local farmers who visited on a Sunday night to ‘ceili’ and keep company with Michael’s father Patrick. Though not musicians or singers, these neighbours were influential in developing Michael’s great interest in storytelling.

Michael’s dad also had songs that he would sing around the fireplace to his young children to entertain them after the chores for the day were completed. This had a particular influence on Michael’s sister Josephine.

Of particular significance in Michael's life were the visits from local flute player, singer and storyteller, John Blessing. Witnessing this master player an early age, progressed to lessons on the whistle in 1951 and eventually the flute.

Michael met his wife Mary (nee [?]) at a dance in Belturbet, Co. Cavan in the early 1960s where she was dancing and he was playing as a member of the Eugene Leddy Ceili Band. They married in 19[??] and raised a family of five children all of whom play traditional music. While reluctant to be in the musical limelight Mary was the 'nucleus' of the McNamara Family. Mary died in August 2015.

Michael’s passion for the music, and desire to hear and learn good music, motivated him to acquire a Philips reel-to-reel tape recorder in 1959. Few such devices existed in the Irish traditional music community at that time. It was on this tape recorder that Michael captured the Ceili Mór in Aughavas in 1959, and the local crowning of his sister Josephine as the Ballad Queen of Ireland, following her successive wins at All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in 1958 and 1959.

As more advanced technology came to the market, Michael invested in Toshi and Sony tape recorders. The Sony tape recorder is shown below. The expense and availability of new tapes meant that many of the reel-to-reel tapes were re-used for recording. But in total 83 reel-to-reels still exist capturing multiple hours of material from 1959 to the early 1970s.

From the early 1970s Michael moved to the more convenient cassette tape recorder.

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