The Salon Concerts Chicago Series presented its seventeenth concert Friday night, November 6th, featuring fiddler John Daly of Burnfort, Mallow, County Cork and local fiddler and piano accompanist John Shine.
Longtime Irish American Heritage Center members may recall that Daly was a former Executive Director of the IAHC. He was also a very active member of the traditional music scene on Chicago’s north side for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s before moving back to Ireland.
John played a number of selections from his self-titled CD, published in 2003, which drew on his influences, a mixture of styles heavily influenced by fiddle greats like Sean Maguire, Willie Hunter, Michael Coleman, Andy McGann, and Lad O’Beirne. John’s fine, strong tone was never impeded his rock solid, unwavering rhythm, his bowing by turns long, or short and choppy as the tunes demanded, his left hand executing detailed ornaments or simply wringing out a bit of vibrato with aplomb. Favorites included the Ed Reavey composition, “Love At the Endings,” Liz Carroll’s jig, “Princess Nancy,” and fine old traditional tunes like “DeVanney’s Goat,” “The Broken Pledge,” and others. His airs playing remains as exquisite as ever, notably “Love O’ The Isles,” a standout from his 2003 recording.
Throughout the performance, John was expertly accompanied on piano by Chicagoan John Shine , who also recorded along with several other accompanists on John’s CD. Shine’s accompaniment exuded a warmth and sensitivity for the material, never becoming monotonous despite the rhythmic demands of accompanying dance music. He varied his harmonies, chord voicings, and dynamics to allow the melodies room to breathe yet never lost the pulse.
After the conclusion of their set, both Johns were joined by local musicians Chris Bain, Brendan McKinney, Marta Cook, and others for a spontaneous session.
The Salon Concert Series is dedicated to presenting the finest artists in Irish traditional music in a family-friendly, polite listening environment. The concert series is also dedicated to creating and sustaining a knowledgeable audience, and nurturing young musicians by providing them with performance opportunities.
To further these ends, children and teens 18 and under receive free admission and the concerts always open with brief performances by young people from the Academy of Irish Music Young Group and Performing Group.