The words ‘Button Accordion’ and ‘Jackie Daly’ are synonymous in the world of Irish traditional music. Described in the New York Times as “probably the best accordionist in Ireland”, Jackie was born in Kanturk, Co. Cork, where he grew up surrounded by the rich music tradition of Sliabh Luachra. One of the greatest influences on his early musical development was Ballydesmond fiddle-player, Jim O’Keeffe, a pupil of the famous Sliabh Luachra fiddle-master, Pádraig O’Keeffe. Over the years, Jackie’s lifelong affinity with fiddle-music has resulted in highly-acclaimed albums featuring fiddle and accordion – with the late Cork-based musician Séamus Creagh, with Kevin Burke, with Máire O’Keeffe, and now with Matt Cranitch. Jackie was a central figure in some of the most dominant groups playing Irish music in recent times. His performances throughout the world with bands such as De Danann, Patrick Street, Buttons and Bows, Arcady, Reel Union and Kinvara all attest to his wonderful music and versatility. However, it is the style and repertoire of the Sliabh Luachra tradition that has made the most significant impression on his accordion-playing, a fact well exemplified by his performances and recordings. He was honoured in 2005 with the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Award. Also, he has received the Kanturk Arts Festival Award in 2009, M.J. Quill Irish Cultural Center (NY) Award in 2014, and the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival (Castleisland) Award in 2019.
Matt Cranitch (fiddle)
Matt Cranitch is renowned as a fiddle-player and teacher, both at home in Ireland and abroad. He has performed extensively at concerts and festivals, on radio and television, and has presented lectures, master-classes and workshops on various aspects of Irish music. He has won All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil titles, as well as The Fiddler of Dooney and Oireachtas Crotty Cup. Author of The Irish Fiddle Book, first published in 1988 and now in its fourth edition, he has also contributed to other books on Irish traditional music. He has made various albums, including those with Na Filí, Any Old Time and Sliabh Notes, in addition to Éistigh Seal which consists entirely of slow airs. He is an authority on the music of Sliabh Luachra, and received a PhD from the University of Limerick for his study on the fiddle-playing tradition of this region. He has taught a number of courses in Irish traditional music during various years at University College Cork. A long-time consultant for the Geantraí series on TG4 (Irish-language TV), he is a former adviser to the Irish Arts Council scheme for the traditional arts, and has served on the board of the Irish Traditional Music Archive. He has received various accolades, including: University College Cork Hall of Fame Award in 2003; M.J. Quill Irish Cultural Center (NY) Award in 2014; Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival (Castleisland) Award in 2017