Tribute to Declan Folan

Tribute to Declan Folan

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The May Queen

Wolfetone Square

F91 P402 Tubbercurry


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South Sligo Summer School: Tribute to Declan Folan

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Tribute to Declan Folan image

Tribute to Declan Folan

Declan Folan is recognised as one of the finest modern day exponents of Traditional Sligo Fiddle Style. Declan, originally from Bunninadden and now living in Tubbercurry, started playing the fiddle at the age of 6. His first teacher was the late Fred Finn and he later went on to learn from other local musicians such as Pat Sweeney, Philip Duffy, P.J. Hernon, the late Peter Horan, Paddy Ryan and the late Andrew Davey.

Declan moved to London when he was 17 and while there, played with some of the greats of the London traditional music scene, shaping the style of music he plays today. In subsequent years, Declan toured extensively across Europe with various bands in a number of different musical genres. In 1995, Declan recorded a very well-received album ‘Skin and Bow’ with Junior Davey and Shane McGowan. More recently, in 2017, he recorded his first solo fiddle album “All in Good Time” - pure, unadulterated Sligo fiddling from a practitioner with a conduit to the past masters while imposing his own stamp of "subtle panache and clarity" on the tunes. Declan's album was reviewed by two of Sligo’s finest traditional fiddle players, Philip Duffy and Oisín Mac Diarmada.

'Step back in time with a long-awaited fiddle album that highlights the old saying ‘the old ones are indeed the best’. Refreshingly Declan has gone to a place where many musicians had forgotten existed in creating an album largely comprised of the great old Sligo tunes played in a traditional fiddle style. There is still however an originality to the basic melodies that highlights Declan’s inordinate creativity to subtly embellish and breathe new life into the old music but with reverence and above all without interfering with its holy substance. The jig playing in particular (the sets containing ‘Tell her I am’ and ‘The Old Grey Goose’) brings to the fore Declan’s love for his Sligo roots as the energy and fire delivered serves as a throwback to the heady recording days of Coleman, Morrison & Killoran. The deft control of his left hand presents a crispness and clarity which when combined with his bow hand leaves a lingering sense of the old traditional fiddle styles from along the western sea board. Declan has struck the perfect balance between sweetness and raw energy that has in the past served to make the music from the north Connacht so popular.'

- Philip Duffy, September 2017

'This new album from Declan Folan brings Sligo fiddling back to the forefront of musical interest. Delightful tune choices abound, played throughout with a subtle panache and clarity which has always been a trademark of Declan’s playing. This is creative, playful fiddling, and never forced. Shades of inspiration from the wonderful Brian Rooney peek through, a reminder of times spent in the London music scene of the late 90s. A stunning version of George White’s Favourite exudes supreme taste and understanding while Charlie Lennon’s Ladies Choice barndances are a masterclass of pace. Beautiful melodic touches reminiscent of the Sligo masters combine with a delicacy of ornamentation which lifts the spirits. A real treat worthy of repeated listening.' - Oisín Mac Diarmada, September 2017

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