Free Spirits-Irish Travellers & Irish Traditional Music
By Oliver O’Connell and Tommy Fegan
“Free Spirits” chronicles the life and times and the influences of the famous Irish travelling families on Irish traditional music over many decades, The Doran brothers, Johnny and Felix, the blind Dunnes, the world famous Fureys, the legendary Keenan family, the Doherty and Rainey families in Donegal and Galway.. Detailed accounts of the life and times of all colourful traveller musicians, such as the Pecker Dunne and Maggie Barry, are also central to this riveting story.
The colourful, coffee- table style book contains, 150 photographs, some never published before, 50,000 words and 32 transcriptions of tunes- including many with regulator accompaniment-which are closely associated with the Travellers repertoire. A special highlight is the handwritten manuscripts from the Ted Furey Collection, donated by Finbar to The Irish Folklore Commission, UCD, and published here in public for the first time.
Uilleann piping is currently enjoying worldwide popularity due in no small part to the influence of Finbar Furey, Mickey Dunne and Paddy Keenan.
The Traveller style of piping, free flowing and vibrant, is now being copied and fostered by new generations of settled and Traveller musicians alike, and is a testimony to the influence of Johnny Doran, his brother Felix and their extended English based families.
A new website, dedicated to Johnny and Felix Doran, and all other Irish Traveller traditional musicians, has just been launched to coincide with the launch of the book.