For many people, their initial introduction to Séamus Creagh was the wonderful recording that he made with Jackie Daly in 1977, a record that has gone on to become a classic of the genre. Featuring the repertoire and style of Sliabh Luachra, in the southwest of Ireland, it was generally assumed that both musicians came from the region. While this was true for Jackie, it was not the case for Séamus. He was born in the midland county of Westmeath in 1946, where he first started to play music. In 1967, he made a ‘weekend’ trip to Baltimore in west Cork, and ‘never went back’! From then on, he lived primarily in Cork, residing in a variety of places in the area. He also spent some time in London, as well as in Newfoundland where he lived for about five years.
On his arrival in Cork, he embraced the indigenous cultures of the instrumental music of Sliabh Luachra and the singing of the Cúil Aodha and Baile Bhúirne areas. He played regularly throughout these localities as he immersed himself further in their traditions. With the passage of time, he came to the attention of the wider world of Irish traditional music, his identity as a performer becoming inextricably linked with his adopted home-place. This illustrated presentation will outline Séamus’ life-story, touching on the different facets of his life, as well as making reference to his various musical collaborations. Archive material of his playing and singing will be featured, as will live performances by musicians from Ireland and Newfoundland.
Matt Cranitch is renowned as a fiddle-player and teacher at home in Ireland and abroad. He has performed extensively at concerts and festivals, on radio and television, and has presented many lectures, master-classes and workshops. Author of The Irish Fiddle Book, he has also contributed to other books on Irish traditional music. He has made various albums, the most recent being Rolling On with Jackie Daly. He is an authority on the music of Sliabh Luachra in the south-west of Ireland, and received a PhD from the University of Limerick for his study on the fiddle-playing tradition of this region. He is a former advisor to the Irish Arts Council, and has served on the board of the Irish Traditional Music Archive.