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376 Keane family. From the townland of Laragh, Caherlistrane, Co. Galway, this family has been strongly influential in Irish traditional singing. Matt Keane played Jew’s harp while his wife, May Costello, was from a family of singers and musicians and collected song; her large repertoire included ‘Lord Donegal’, an obscure version of an old ballad ‘Lord Lovell’ not found in Child’s collection or in Irish sources. Sarah and Rita. Of the Keanes’ children, Rita (accordion) and Sarah (fiddle) became best known as a cappella singers; unusually for the Irish tradition they performed in unison, with a vocal effect not unlike that of Bulgarian part singers, or the Lewis Gaelic choirs. Ciarán Mac Mathúna featured this haunting singing on his radio programmes in the 1960s, leading to the recording of the sisters’ first lp Once I Loved (1969, cd in 2007). Enthusiastic performers, they went on to make At the Setting of the Sun in 1985 (cd also) and in 2006 they were awarded the TG4 Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their contribution to traditional music and song. céilí band. Sarah and Rita played with family members for dancing at local entertainment events like weddings, going on to play as the Keane Céilí Band up to the 1960s. The band included Brendan Burke, the father of John Burke of the Saw Doctors, and the band continued in the next generation, as a ‘group’, until the 1980s. Brother Matt’s wife played fiddle, and their children, born at Castlehackett, played music from an early age. Best known of these nationally are singers Dolores and Seán. Keane, Dolores. (1953– ). Singer, flute player. Born at Castlehackett, Co. Galway, into an intense family tradition of music; both her parents played, as did their siblings. Best known for her singing, she was also taught to play flute and whistle by her uncle Paddy. Her singing and repertoire were picked up through the family and in the locality, developed by performing at fleadhanna ceoil in the late 1960s when her reputation was initiated with a series of All-Ireland awards for song in both Irish and English. She sang with De Dannan 1974–5, her first experience of singing with accompaniment, before moving to England to work as a researcher on Prince Edward Island song for BBC’s Canadaemigration documentary Passage West. Singers’ Club. She married guitar, bouzouki and mandolin player John Faulkner, and with him was a regular guest-host at the Singers’ Club in London, at this time playing in Reel Union. Her debut solo album There Was a Maid was done with that band in 1978, joined by Peadar Mercier and Máirtín Byrnes. The second, Brokenhearted I’ll Wander, in 1979, was also with Faulkner and Reel Union and had an iconic track of Hebridean mouth music done to uilleann pipes drone. She played with Planxty in 1983, with De Dannan again in the mid-1980s, and with The Chieftains on their Bonaparte’s Retreat in 1989.She and Faulkner made Farewell to Éireann (1980) and Sáil Óg Rua (1983). Subsequent solo albums included Lion in a Cage (1989),with the powerful anti-apartheid title track on Nelson Mandela, and Paul Brady’s profound The Island. Solid Ground in 1993 had Máirtín O’Connor and Jackie Daly on accordion, Seán Keane on flute, and Emmylou Harris. Her compilation , The Best of Dolores Keane, was released in 1997. Her recordings continue to have a profound impact on singing style and repertoire in Ireland. Most enduring have been ‘Rambling Irish Man’, which came from Joe Holmes via Len Graham, and ‘May Morning Dew’, learned f rom aunts Sarah and Rita. Like her brother Seán, her recordings span traditional and contemporary song. Keane, Seán. (1946– ). Fiddler. Born in Dublin, but parentally influenced by Clare and north Midlands traditions. He attended the Municipal School of Music in Dublin and became a teenage member of the Castle Céilí Band. On winning a Fleadh Cheoil an Raidió competition at seventeen he was recruited by Ó Riada into Ceoltóirí Chualann. He joined The Chieftains in 1968 and has recorded three solo albums. He was awarded K Keenan, Paddy 377 the TG4 Gradam Ceoil, for Traditional Musician of the Year, in 2004. [BIM] Keane, Tommy. (1953– ). Uilleann pipes. Born in Waterford city, he began playing whistle c.1970 and took up pipes having met local piper Tommy Kearney. He developed his piping at the...


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