Monday 23 September 2019

The wonderful Usher family famous again!

Hubert Murphy

One of the great local events during the Fleadh was the release of a wonderful CD of the music of the Usher family from Tenure.

Billed, 'Traditional Music and song from Tenure', it was recorded many years ago by Topic Records and RTE archives.

Jim MacArdle was the man behind the project and he hosted a packed out talk in the library on the day of the launch. The 3 CD set features a Radio Eireann field recording made by Ciaran MacMathuna at Tenure in 1959.

Pat Usher is featured singing and playing the concertina and includes such as 'The Wedding in Baltray' and 'Napoleon's March'.

Patsy Floody also featured on accordion with the Sally Gardens and Petie Curran and Pap Usher also on it. Mary Ann Carolan also has her day, as the songs transcross the decades/ Mary Ann, from the Hill of Rath, was a special one.  She passed away in 1985, but late in life, found fame, with her works recorded, after she was 'discovered' by Sean Corcoran in 1966.

Her concertina playing was simply incredible. The recordings for the album of her music were made at her home in the Hill of Rath in 1976 and seven years later, was finally released.

Her father, Pat Usher, who died in 1962 was a noted singer and concertina player, her brother Pat Usher who lived in Tenure was a fine fiddle player and a singer and her cousin Petie Curran from Tenure was a well known singer and played the war pipes.

Stuart Carolan also comes from a strong singing tradition going back several generations to at least his great-grandfather if not beyond. His grandmother was Mary Ann Carolan. He also sang on the day. Jim ran through his days meeting with the Usher and Carolan families and also Caitlin Bean Ui Chairbre who played such a leading role in keeping the Irish tradition alive by the Boyneside.

Copies of the remarkable CDs are available via Jim.

Drogheda Independent