The Scribe – The Life and Works of James O’Neill – Caoimhín Mac Aoidh
Caoimhin Mac Aoidh is one of the best known figures in Donegal fiddle playing. He has documented this rich tradition in his seminal work, Between the Jigs and the Reels – The Donegal Fiddle Tradition, published by Drumlin Publications. He has performed, broadcast and published widely on aspects of traditional Irish fiddle playing. Caoimhín’s work has been recognised as some of the most informed commentary on the tradition.
The publication of the various O’Neill collections of traditional Irish music in the first decade of the 1900s was the culmination of a visionary project begun in the 1880s. The chance meeting of Francis O’Neill in Chicago’s Irish neighbourhood of Bridgeport began a working partnership which produced Irish music collections, regarded by musicians as some of the most important primary sources of tunes. Francis O’Neill’s high profile life was founded on a distinguished career in public service. James O’Neill, an accomplished fiddle player from Co. Down, Ireland, on the other hand, lived a quiet and modest existence. This book documents, for the first time, the life, career and work of one of Ireland’s most important musicians. It confirms previously undiscovered links to an important pre-existing work which sets the O’Neill collections in an entirely new light.