World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

De Dannan

Article Id: WHEBN0000923392
Reproduction Date:

Title: De Dannan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dolores Keane, Patrick Street, Mary Black, Johnny Moynihan, Caroline Lavelle
Collection: Irish Folk Musical Groups, Musical Groups from County Galway
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

De Dannan

De Dannan
Frankie Gavin's De Dannan in 2010
Background information
Origin Galway, Ireland
Genres Folk
Years active 1975–2003
Labels Gael-Linn, Shanachie Records[1]
Members Frankie Gavin
Barry Brady
Eric Cunningham
Mike Galvin
Michelle Lally
Past members Alec Finn
Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh
Mickey Finn
Charlie Piggott
Dolores Keane
Andy Irvine
Johnny Moynihan
Tim Lyons
Jackie Daly
Maura O'Connell
Mary Black
Martin O'Connor
Aidan Coffey
Colm Murphy
Eleanor Shanley
Tommy Fleming
Derek Hickey
Andrew Murray

De Dannan (originally Dé Danann) is an Irish folk music group. They were formed by Frankie Gavin (fiddle), Alec Finn (guitar, bouzouki), Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh (bodhrán) and Charlie Piggott (banjo) as a result of sessions in Hughes's Pub in An Spidéal, County Galway, subsequently inviting Dolores Keane (vocals) to join the band. The late fiddler Mickey Finn is also acknowledged to have been a founder member.

They named themselves Dé Danann after the legendary Irish tribe Tuatha Dé Danann. In 1985, they changed the spelling of the group from "Dé Danann" to "De Dannan" for reasons that have never been made clear. However, since 2010, Finn & McDonagh have recorded and performed with a line-up named "De Danann", and, since 2012, Gavin has recorded and performed with another line-up named "De Dannan".


  • History 1
  • Discography 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The group's debut album was the eponymous Dé Danann, produced by Dónal Lunny and recorded at Eamonn Andrews Studios, Dublin, in 1975 and released on Polydor. In early 1976, Keane left to marry multi-instrumentalist John Faulkner, with whom she subsequently recorded three albums of folk music.

To fill the vacancy left after Keane's departure, Dé Danann brought in Andy Irvine, who recorded live with the band on 30 April 1976, during a folk festival in Germany.[2] Irvine left soon thereafter because of scheduling conflicts but proposed Johnny Moynihan as his replacement,[3]:243 who participated in the recording of the band's second album, Selected Jigs Reels & Songs.[4] This album featured a bodhrán solo by McDonagh on "Over The Bog Road" but has never been released on CD, reportedly because the master tapes were lost. Moynihan left in 1978, being replaced by singer and accordion-player Tim Lyons;[5] for a short period in 1978 the band toured as a six-piece featuring both Moynihan and Lyons.

Their third album, The Mist Covered Mountain, was released in 1980 and featured various older traditional singers. That year, De Dannan had a surprise hit single in Ireland with their instrumental cover of the Beatles' song Hey Jude, later re-released on their fourth album, Star-Spangled Molly in 1981; on this album, they were joined by Maura O'Connell.

As an indication of their diversity, they also recorded Handel's "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", which they jokingly retitled "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (in Galway)", on their 1983 album Song for Ireland. Later, they would also record Bohemian Rhapsody and Jewish klezmer tunes, learned from bluegrass and Klezmer superstar, Andy Statman.

When O'Connell left the band, they brought in Mary Black for two albums: Song for Ireland and Anthem. Like O'Connell and Keane before her, Black subsequently went on to explore country, blues and jazz, hopping backwards and forwards between Nashville and Dublin.

After Black's departure, Keane returned to the fold for two albums: Anthem and Ballroom. Other singers with the group have included Eleanor Shanley (1988-1992), Tommy Fleming (1994-1997) and Andrew Murray (1997-2000).

On the instrumental side, Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn were the only constant members of the group. Jackie Daly (accordion) is a star in his own right and later went on to join the group Patrick Street. He was replaced on accordion in 1983 by Martin O'Connor until 1987, Aidan Coffey until 1995, and Derek Hickey until 2001. The fiddle-accordion-bouzouki combination became synonymous with the inspirational De Dannan instrumental sound. In 1988 Colm Murphy replaced Johnny McDonagh playing the bodhrán.[6]

The band members went their separate ways in 2003, at which point the name De Dannan was copyrighted by Alec Finn. This led to a high-profile dispute with Frankie Gavin in 2009 when the latter used the name for his pre-existing Hibernian Rhapsody band.

In 2008 the original band (Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh, Charlie Piggott, Dolores Keane, Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn) were commemorated on an Irish 55c postage stamp. Attending the formal issue event, Piggott said, "Having contributed to the promotion of Traditional Irish Music and as a keen philatelist, I consider it both an honour and a privilege to be celebrated on an Irish stamp."[7]

In 2010 De Danann [sic] recorded Wonderwaltz,[8] an album with a line-up of Finn (guitar, bouzouki, tenor guitar, mandola, mouth organ), McDonagh (bodhrán, bones), Eleanor Shanley (vocals), Brian McGrath (banjo, piano, tenor guitar, mandola), Derek Hickey (accordion) and Mick Conneely (fiddle, viola, whistle), with guest musicians Cian Finn (backing vocals) and Trevor Hutchinson (double bass).

Frankie Gavin and De Dannan at the "Craiceann Bodhrán Festival" 2012
Frankie Gavin and De Dannan at the "Craiceann Bodhrán Festival" 2012

Since 2012 De Dannan [sic] has been performing as a 5-piece band and has recorded Jigs, Reels & Rock n' Roll, an album with a line-up of Gavin (fiddle, flute, whistles), Damien Mullane (accordion), Eric Cunningham (percussion, flutes, whistles), Mike Galvin (bouzouki, guitar) and Michelle Lally (vocals).


  • De Danann (1975)
  • The 3rd Irish Folk Festival In Concert (1976)
  • Selected Jigs Reels and Songs (1977)
  • The Mist Covered Mountain (1980)
  • Star-Spangled Molly (1981) (see The De Dannan Collection)
  • Best of De Dannan (1981)
  • Song For Ireland (1983)
  • The Irish RM (1984)
  • Anthem (1985)
  • Ballroom (1987)
  • A Jacket of Batteries (1988)
  • Half Set in Harlem (1991)
  • Hibernian Rhapsody (1995)
  • World Tour (studio and live recordings, 1996)[9]
  • How the West Was Won (1999)
  • Welcome to the Hotel Connemara (2000)
  • De Danann - Wonderwaltz (2010)
  • De Dannan - Jigs, Reels & Rock n' Roll (2012)


  1. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  2. ^ Sleeve notes from the album The 3rd Irish Folk Festival In Concert, InterCord INT 181.008, 1976.
  3. ^ O'Toole, Leagues (2006). The Humours of Planxty. Ireland: Hodder Headline.  
  4. ^ Sleeve notes from the album Selected Jigs, Reels & Songs, Decca SKL-R 5287, 1977.
  5. ^ John & Tim Lyons biography, Veteran Records website,
  6. ^ "Bodhrán Performers". 1999-03-30. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Heart Music at WonderwaltzReview of De Danann's Retrieved on 8 February 2014.
  9. ^ Celtic Music Net

External links

  • De Dannan – Irish band born in a Galway pub
  • Frankie Gavin article at Rambling House website
  • De Dannan website
  • De Dannan at
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.