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Fiddler From The Chieftans Seán Keane Unexpectedly Died At 76

Sean Keane Wife
Blue Ridge Country

The legendary Irish folk band The Chieftains’ fiddler Seán Keane has passed away.

Seán Keane Is No More

Irish broadcaster RTÉ reports that the 76-year-old died unexpectedly at his home on Sunday morning. Last month, the Chieftains reformed to perform in Ballina, County Mayo, for Joe Biden’s visit.

Mr Keane was referred to as one of the greatest-ever exponents of Irish traditional music by the Irish Traditional Music Archive. After rising to prominence earlier in the decade with Ceoltóir Chualann and the Castle Céil Band, Mr Keane joined The Chieftains in the year 1968.

He worked for almost six decades. According to a statement released by the Archive, his powerful fiddle playing married technical virtuosity with an incredibly insightful and sensitive understanding of what made Irish traditional music distinctively beautiful.

Sean Keane Age


Who Was Seán Keane?

Keane, Seán, an Irish fiddler, teacher, and member of The Chieftains who was born on 12th July of the year 1946, recently died on 7th May of this year. In the 1960s, he was a member of Ceoltóir Chualann, and he joined The Chieftains in the year 1968.

He had a unique style, especially in the way he used ornamentation, which may have been influenced by the uilleann pipes’ music. Keane was born in Drimnagh, an Irish suburb of Dublin, to a musical family.

Keane’s mom and father were both fiddle players from melodic networks in Region Longford and Area Clare, separately, and would have numerous customary players who went from everywhere Ireland to act in Dublin city. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Keane family established itself as a landmark in Dublin’s traditional music scene.

Keane and his brother James, who plays the accordion, were greatly influenced by these guests as well as by their summer trips to Longford and Clare, where they heard a lot of traditional music.

Seán Keane Left a Great Legacy Behind Him

In May of the year 1981, Keane was profiled on RTÉ’s Hand Me Down series, which examines the transmission of traditional music from one generation to the next. Each show spotlights a traditional artist and examines how they inherited Irish music from their family.

Keane plays solo in this program excerpt before joining the Mullagh set dancers and members of the Castle Céil Band at the Willie Clancy Summer School. For the program, which is now preserved in the RTÉ Libraries and Archives, the Castle Céil Band was reformed specifically.

Moreover, Keane was the subject of Season 8 episode 1 of TG4’s documentary series ‘Sé Mo Laoch, which aired in March of the year 2019 and featured some of Ireland’s greatest traditional musicians. The 25-minute documentary, which is archived on TG4 Player, covered his life and career from his childhood up to the present day.

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