Learning the Banjo

Last summer I decided to learn the Irish Banjo, inspired in part by the passing last year of the legendary banjo player Barney McKenna of the Dubliners. Here are a few notes on progress to date.


I got a custom made banjo from David Boyle (who also made one for Barney McKenny among other notable Irish musicians like Gerry O'Connor). I decided to get something special because I'm in this for the long haul and I want to learn a few tunes. The first tune I picked up was from my good friend and fiddle player - Mikie O'Shea. It was also his first tune - called Fr O'Flynn's Jig. It's a nice catchy one and goes nicely with the Kesh jig. I've performed live with the banjo in front of friends mainly since tis only since summer that i've been at it. When I was home last December I picked up an instruction book by the great Banjo player Gerry O'Connor and I'm enjoying that! My goal is to have a few good tunes I can perform with confidence by next Paddys Day. Eventually I want to be able to play the great tune called The Mason's Apron. Loads of practice till then!!

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