I was asked to write this piece for the JMI on the basis of a documentary I made for RTÉ Radio 1, Port na bPucaí – The Music of Ghosts (broadcast 10th August). In the introduction that was read before the programme I said that the subject, Tony MacMahon, was an iconic figure in traditional music circles. I meant this both because it is difficult for anyone my age or younger to imagine music without him and also because of his association with at least two of what I consider the greatest recordings ever made by traditional musicians. By these I mean Paddy in the Smoke and what I’ve always called ‘the Joe Cooley album’. Arguably indeed, there are other recordings that could be included here – I’m particularly thinking of his I gCnoc na Graí album with Noel Hill.
Published on 1 November 2005
Peter Woods is a radio producer and is co-author of The Living Note: The Heartbeat of Irish Music (1996).