Every year the Corofin Traditional Festival tries to honour a person who through the years has done a huge amount for the musical tradition in this country.
Mike Butler - 2017
Mike’s musical background is from the north Clare village of Kilfenora, from where both his parents came. His first musical influence was his mother, who played flute and whistle. Mike started playing the tin whistle at 4 and took up the piano accordion at 7. He got his first button accordion at age 9 and has been playing this instrument since.
Mike has competed with some success at all age levels and has been a member of several Ceili Bands including Kilfenora, Liverpool, Ceoltoiri na hInse, and Ceoltoiri na Mainistreach. He had a long-standing successful partnership with the late Gus Tierney when they won 5 all Ireland duets in the 1970s.
Session music is now Mike’s favourite past-time and he can be found every Sunday night at the Poet’s Corner in the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis where he plays with Aidan McMahon and Michael Landers. This trio has recently launched their first album entitled “Yield up the night time”.
Seamus Bugler - 2016
Seamus bugler comes from Mountshannon in East Clare. He started playing the accordion at age fourteen and was hugely influenced by the early 78 recordings made by Paddy o Brien back in 1954. Other accordion players he greatly admired were Joe Burke and Mattie Ryan from Tulla.
Seamus learned many old tunes from his great friend Martin Woods from Mountshannon and they both played at many sessions and house dances around East Clare and East Galway in the early days. Foe almost thirty years now he has been part of the Thursday night session in Feakle and considers himself both fortunate and honoured to have met and played with some of the finest people and all-time greats in traditional Irish music. His fondest memory in Music are nights spent in the small bar in Lena’s (now shortts) with the late Paddy O Donoghue, Pat Mullins, Pat Costello and of course Lena herself among many others where jokes and good humour were very much part of the session.
Seamus if greatly heartened by the standard of music played now by young people and believes that music is now in a very safe place.
Joe Rynne, Ennistymon - 2015
Joe was born in Derrymore Inagh in 1956. The youngest of 5, he began playing on his father's fiddle at a young age taught by neighbouring fiddle maestro Michael kelleher , whom he has played with regularly for many years since.
He was inspired and encouraged by his older brother also, the late Tom Rynne, who himself was an accomplished accordion player. He has played with many different bands throughout the years including All Ireland Fleadh cheoil champions - the Gortbofearna ceili band, The Rambling Rose , the Clare Ramblers, the Dreoilin and Disirt Tola, and most notably and to-date the four courts ceili band who he has played with for over 20 years.
He has toured extensively in America and Europe and in Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises, playing music. Joe has always been particularly active in his local community in North Clare in the teaching and encouraging of younger generations and musicians in the tradition, and is no stranger to entertaining an audience - often taking on the dual roles of 'fear an ti' and musician with ease and humour .
John Kelly, Dublin - 2014
Was born in Dublin in a household steeped in traditional Music. His father, John, was the renowned fiddle and concertina player/ music historian from Rehey, West Clare. The Kelly household/shop in Capel Street, Dublin was on of the premier gather points for traditional musicians from all corners of Ireland, and beyond.
We had music from morning till night in their house, either on radio, record or live on the premises. All of his siblings played, mostly fiddle, with the exception of his brother Anthony who played pipes.
It was in this unique musical environment he was raised. His music has a strong Clare influence, and why wouldn't it, mainly from his father, but also from the likes of Je Ryan, Bobby Casey, Mico Russel and all the other great Clare musicians he met and played with over the years.
John Joe Tuttle, Mullagh - 2013
Pat Mullins, Willbrook - 2012
JJ Conway, Kilfenora - 2011
Chris Droney, Bellharbour - 2010
Michael Kelleher, Ennistymon 2009
Mick O'Connor, Dublin - 2008
Joe Kierse, Kilnaboy - 2007
Jerry Lynch, Kilfenora - 2006
Joe Ryan, Inagh - 2005