Brian Rooney - TG4 Musician of The Year 2012

Fiddler Brian Rooney has won the honour of musician of the year in the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards. We are big fans of Brian's here on TradConnect and he is a vry worthy winner. Brian was born in 1951 and hails from the townland of Derragoon, near Kiltyclogher, in north Leitrim, one of fourteen children born to Jack and Mary Rooney. His father played fiddle and flute but passed away when Brian was three so Brian’s initial introduction to music came via the old 78 records bought by his mother. His siblings too all learned to play, in particular his late brother Hughie (fiddle), Mickey (fiddle) and Dominic (accordion). This area was, of course, noted for great fiddle players and in addition to the 78 recordings, John Timoney, a fiddler from Co. Fermanagh was also a big influence on his induction to music at this time.

Like many of his generation he had to emigrate to find work and Brian moved to London in 1968, working in construction. There he met many great and legendary fiddle players including Bobby Casey, Jimmy Power, Danny Meehan, Julia Clifford and Con Curtin all of whom made a big impression on Brian. He quickly became part of the very vibrant traditional music scene in London playing with the group Sliabh Luachra (John Carty, Michael Hynes and Mike Casey). He also played for many years with accordion player Paddy Hayes.

His peers held him in such esteem that he earned the nickname, The Godfather. As that title indicates, Brian was a revered and inspiring figure for a younger generation of London musicians including John Carty, James Carty, John Blake, Lamond Gillespie, Tommy Maree and Emmet Gill.

Not surprisingly, perhaps the title for his début solo recording in 1999 was The Godfather and it received rave reviews within traditional music circles. This was followed by a second solo recording, From Leitrim to London in 2002 where in addition to his sublime fiddling Brian can also be heard playing a set of jigs on the accordion. He has also composed some beautiful tunes, in particular the reel M and M, named after his two children Michael John and Mary, included on one of the tracks of his début CD.

His recordings have brought his intricate, rich style to a wider and appreciative audience and he can also be heard on two compilation recordings, Across the Waters and Within a Mile of Kilty, the latter featuring fiddle players from North Leitrim.
His most recent CD is At Complete Ease, a duet fiddle recording with John Carty his long-time friend and TG4 Musician of the Year 2003.

Released last year, this is an example of stylish, masterful and delicate fiddle playing and features a guest performance from Brian’s brother Mickey on fiddle.

There is a rare beauty in Brian’s music. He creates a sound that is lonesome, expressive and powerful all at once, and it is this that has made him such a fine and respected stalwart of the music for the past number of decades.

He lives in London with his wife Jean and is a grandfather to Ryan and Joseph. Source

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