Well, there are of course so many to choose from & like most folks I suspect, I have loads of favourite Fiddle players.

I suppose I'd find it almost impossible to stick to the same favourite for very long ..... ask me tomorrow & I'll probably give you a different answer.

It goes without saying, of course, that there is no such thing as a Best Fiddle player, that'd be just plain silly.

Anyway, today I'm saying Tommy Peoples & here is a masterclass from the man himself:


Tommy Peoples


Apart from his mighty precision, I just love his fantastic ability to provide us with a seemingly endless supply of interesting variations. I also admire the fact that, despite his fame, he is one of the most modest musicians you could ever meet, he plays simply because he loves to play.


Surely there is nothing more nauseating in Traditional Music .... than a Show Off!

In my book at least, exhibitionism just goes completely against the grain of what the Tradition is all about. Probably one of the reasons why I hate the whole idea of competitions in Trad Music.

That kind of stuff should be kept for the X Factor! But I digress .......


Anyway, which Fiddle player's style do you admire the most ...... today? ;-)




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Hi DIck,

Good morning. Glad to see you here, stirring the pot!

Firstly, you picked an amazing fiddler - ***Tommy Peoples*** - also a favorite of mine, but this discussion is simply not fair!  It's as if you opened a nice big box of chocolate candies and asked me to choose my favorite recipe!

In the two years I've been learning Irish Traditional Music, there have been many incredible fiddlers who I greatly admire, each with their own heart, flair, techniques, strengths and tiny nuances.  The beauty of music, but especially the fiddle, lies within it's almost unlimited capacity for individual expression and creativity!!!

Secondly, on a more personal note, I'm sure that I haven't even heard or studied all of the living Irish fiddling giants, let alone all of the past ones, so I'm unqualified to answer this question.

However, I have a mental list of fiddling greats and fiddling styles that I enjoy, as does every Irish trad fan!  I hope to have a lesson or two with some great fiddlers!  I'm just fiddling for the fun...

Competitions are not my cup of tea either.  Admittedly, they can be fascinating. One reason I quit my violin at age 15 was because I was told that I needed to "challenge" the better players to move up in a pecking order. I competed, but not by choice.  When musical ability became political, and wasn't fun anymore, it helped me make a decision to quit.  I quit because of pressure and politics. That is very tragic, because I always resented and regretted not playing the music within me.  But, if a person is trained to compete, enjoys competition, and is doing it because they like it, I have no argument against it, and I will cheer them on, wishing them all the best!

It will be fascinating to see what comes out of this discussion too Dick! Thanks for stirring the pot this morning!!!

Liz Carroll...she uses the fiddle to it's utmost in rhythm and style.  I saw her in concert at Irish Fest last year and it blew me away!!

Well now, Dick, I'm afraid I won't open up a debate here. I have to agree with your choice - Tommy always amazes me with his inventiveness and the emotional intensity of his music.


Thanks for posting that clip - I'd not seen that before. The second tune there is one of my all-time favourite jigs.


(Having said that, you're not a bad fiddler yourself, you know...)

It's like picking between your favorite dessert... why choose?  :)  Tommy Peoples is divine, so is Kevin Burke, and my current young favorite Caoimhin O Raghallaigh...  I'll always love Liz Carroll.  Can't pick a single one, but I'm like you and I go in phases where I listen to one fiddler a lot for a while until moving on.  


And I hate competitions too.  I did a couple as a kid and all they did was make me nervous and sick to my stomach.  Philosophically I disagree with them now, for the same reasons as you. 


Haha, I just saw @Connie's complaint that this was like asking to pick her favorite chocolate candy.  I see we both have sweet tooths.  :P

Bobby Casey and Sean Ryan!

Ah yes, the wonderful Bobby Casey.

I had John Kelly senior & Bobby Casey as Fiddle tutors at the only Fiddle class I ever took at Miltown.

A wonderful memory of two fine, fine musicians.



One of my favourite fiddle players is Pat O'Connor. Listening to his music always makes me relax. I've enjoyed his live music and CDs many times.


And he and his wife are my friends... :-)



Qristina Bachand, because she is young and cute and really good. Oh, wait... Natalie MacMaster for the same reason, although she is not quite as young. 


No, really - Donnell Leahy. The man is killer on the fiddle, We saw him at the Michigan Irish Music Festival a  couple years ago with Natalie and he absolutely left me with my mouth hanging open. 


Do  you think I have a preference for Cape Breton style fiddling? 

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