Traditional Irish Music
It is often said that you can tell a lot about a man by his nickname. And so it is with legendary Clare Fiddler Bobby Casey whose sobriquet “Maestro” is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “A title or form of address designating someone (originally esp. an Italian) who is a master of or who has achieved eminence in a skill or profession, esp. a musician.”
Bobby Casey was born into a musical household in Annagh near Miltown Malbay in 1926. His father, John “Scully” Casey was a noted fiddle player and his cousin, Thady a renowned dance master. Having in the words of Hazel Fairbairn served his traditional music apprenticeship playing for house dances, American wakes and other local social events, Bobby left for Dublin in 1950 with Willie Clancy where they often played with fellow Clare exile, John Kelly and the Potts Family. Shortly afterwards, Bobby moved to London and quickly immersed himself in the vibrant traditional music scene which prevailed at that time. At a time when Britain was replete with some of traditional music’s greatest exponents, it is generally accepted that Bobby Casey was one of its brightest stars and his influence on younger generations of musicians was profound. Bobby passed away in Northampton in 2000.
While his playing is imbued with the distinctive musical style of his own area, Bobby also cited Michael Coleman, Michael Gorman and Frank O’Higgins as influences. Noted for the inventiveness and complexity of his ornamentation as well as his general musicality, the late Muiris Ó Rocháin paid Bobby the ultimate accolade when he described him as “a musician’s musician.”
“Maestro” is also the name of the CD of Bobby Casey’s music which has been produced by Cois na hAbhna Regional Archive. Drawing on recordings made in London back in 1969 and 1970 by Séamus Mac Mathúna for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann this eagerly awaited release is sure to become a must-have CD for all lovers of traditional music.
Fleadh Nua is delighted to host the launch of “Maestro” at this year’s Festival. Join Bobby’s family and friends in Glór on Sunday, 24th May as we commemorate a truly iconic figure of our traditional music. Source : Fleadh Nua
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