Today I wasn’t really sure who to pick. There are just so many musicians that really stand out but I really want to tell you about a musician I have had the fortune to play music with a lot up until he moved to America about two years ago.
He is acknowledged as being one of the most talented fiddle players in Ireland and stands among the greats such as Eileen Ivers, Cathal Hayden and Gerry O’Connor.
He was a founding member of the legendary Stockton’s Wing and has toured the world playing for dignitaries in some of the nicest venues a musician could ever dream about.
He’s the kind of person that composes successful tunes played by hundreds of musicians while putting his shoes on in the morning. I kid you not! He’s just that good.
I’m of course talking about Maurice Lennon. Originally from Leitrim he is a master of the Fiddle and one of the most gifted composers I think I’ll ever have the fortune to meet. I am absolutely serious about that. Some people write tunes but Maurice seems to just know the way the notes want to be played. I’ll give you an example so you don’t think I’m talking rubbish. One Sunday I turned up to a session in the Rathmines Innin Dublin. Maurice was playing there as usual. When things started to quieten down a bit he took out the viola and began playing a tune on his own. The tune was called Master Shanleys and from what I gather, he wrote it that day. The tune was written in memory of Michael Shanley, a teacher and later the head master in his local school in Kiltyclogher. I could be wrong because Maurice told me about this about three years ago but Maurice walked miles to this man’s house to play music with his family. To again show that his tunes become widely appreciated this tune featured on the latest Lunasa CD the Leitrim Equasian. Sorry, I cant find a recording at the moment.
Two of my favourite tunes ever have to be two composed by Maurice lennon. The first is called If ever you were mine and the second is called Maeves dance. Like almost all of the tunes composed by Maurice Lennon there is meaning behind these tunes. Maeves dance for example was composed after Maurice watched a documentary that told of an Irish family who emigrated to Australia when their Daughter, Maeve was only six. After a short time passed, she was tragically hit by a car and was killed instantly. However, this is not what the documentary focused on. Instead, it focused on an imaginary world that Maeve created and wrote about in great detail in her diary. Maurice was captivated by this world and the second tune, recognised by its waltz tempo was the result of the inspiration he got from this world.
A few years ago I recorded both of these tuens and posted them to my website. Their not half as good as when Maurice plays them but hopefully they’ll be ok. Use this link to listen to the recording.