Seamus Grant – Clonmany Band

Seamus Grant 1934-2005

Seamus Grant PhotoSeamus lived all of his life in Clonmany. He was a farmer and and fiddle player. Seamus was a gifted and generous musician and throughout his lifetime gave freely of his time and talent. Music was passed down by his parents, both musicians. He learned also, from the playing of his uncle, Willie Joe Grant and from a neighbour, (White) Dan Doherty. White Dan was a fiddler, singer and dancer and a great source of tunes, many learned during harvest time in Scotland. The strong links that existed between Inishowen and Scotland is evident in the Dance Music played by Seamus.

Clonmany Céilí Band

Clonmany CB Photo 1The Clonmany Céilí Band was formed in 1956 by local priest Fr. Desmond Mullan to promote céilí dancing in the parish. The early members were Seamus Grant (fiddle), Jimmy and Ned Doherty (drums and double bass), Maeliosa Doherty (button accordion), John McCarron (button accordion), Neil Mc Gonigle (fiddle) and Desmond Kavanagh (piano) and in later years Pat Hughes (piano). Dinny McLaughlin (fiddle) also joined them regularly for céilí dances and Feiseanna in the early days. Connie Doherty (piano accordion) carried on the great work of the ceili band with Seamus up until the late 70s. Seamus continued to play for Ceili as the demand arose and played his last Ceili in Mc Grory’s of Culdaff in 2004.

Seamus Grant playing the Duke of Perth – Recorded at the Spout by Patsy Toland


Seamus and the Clonmany Ceili Band playing Petronella and Ril Gan Ainm, at a ceili in Mc Grory’s Hotel Culdaff in 2004


Seamus and the Clonmany Ceili Band playing jigs Jean Ireland and Jackson’s Morning Brush at a ceili in Mc Grory’s Hotel Culdaff in 2004


Seamus and the Clonmany Ceili Band playing The Humours of Bandon at a ceili in Mc Grory’s Hotel Culdaff in 2004


Seamus and the Clonmany Ceili Band playing The Gates of Derry at a ceili in Mc Grory’s Hotel Culdaff in 2004


Seamus Grant CD

Seamus Grant CD PhotoOn the 22nd of November 2004, at the age of 70 Seamus Grant recorded 17 tunes with Ryan Mac Neil, piano accompanist, Canada. At the time of recording it was intended that along with these solo tunes from Seamus’s repertoire that the Two-Hand dance tunes and the music of the Clonmany Ceilí Band would also be recorded. Sadly, Seamus became ill and passed away in November 2005.

This CD is the only collection of Seamus’s music to become commercially available. It allows a real glimpse into the technical mastery and the diverse musical tastes of Seamus. On the album Seamus performs compositions of Scott Skinner, James Hill and Neil Gow and from further a field, the music of the great Canadian Fiddlers such as Rudy Meeks and Graham Townsend. Seamus had a great affinity with the music of both Scotland and Canada. Already, an admirer of the music of the MacNeil family of Cape Breton, he was very pleased at the prospect of recording with piano accompanist Ryan MacNeil.

This album is a collection of the music that Seamus played through his lifetime. It includes local dance tunes, ceile dance tunes, airs and melodies popular in Irish music at the time and other pieces made popular by the great fiddle masters.

Track 1Paddy in London/Scotsman over the Border/HartigansDouble JigsListen
Track 2George Owens/Orange and BlueStrathspeysListen
Track 3Mrs Kenny's WaltzWaltzListen
Track 4I there weren't any Women in the WorldBarndance
Track 5The High LevelHornpipe
Track 6Blackthorn Stick/Geese in the Bog
Double JigsListen
Track 7Dark Inishowen
Track 8Saint Annes/Wise Maid/Paddy on the RailroadReels
Track 9Derry/NewcastleHornpipes
Track 10East Coast/East YorkDouble Jigs
Track 11Our Highland QueenAirListen
Track 12Willie Hunters compliments to Dan R McDonald/Stirling CastleStrathspeysListen
Track 13Kings Fancy/HawkDouble Jigs
Track 14First Century ReelReel
Track 15Poor Girl waltzWaltzListen
Track 16Arthur's Seat/Eugene StrattonsHornpipe
Track 17Spey in Spate/Archie MenziesReels
This entry was posted in Ceili Dance. Bookmark the permalink.