Johnny Doran

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Johnny Doran was one of the most influential of Ireland's great pipers. The grandson of travelling piper John Cash and his wife, Polly Connors, a stepdancer, Doran traveled by horse-drawn caravan to share…
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Johnny Doran was one of the most influential of Ireland's great pipers. The grandson of travelling piper John Cash and his wife, Polly Connors, a stepdancer, Doran traveled by horse-drawn caravan to share his love of traditional Irish music and his virtuosity on the uillean pipes throughout the Emerald Isle. According to P. J. Curtis, author of Notes from The Heart: A Celebration Of Traditional Irish Music, "My own father saw Johnny play many times at horse and cattle markets in north Clare and used to say it was the most amazing, magical music he had ever heard in his life. He said that Johnny used to make as much as thirty shillings a day busking at fairs at a time when a labourer earned two shillings a week". Only two years old when his grandfather died, Doran, nevertheless, inherited his skills as a piper. Launching his career as a traveling piper in the early-1920s, Doran remained active until a freak accident in 1948 when a brick wall fell on him and his spine was so damaged that he remained a cripple for the rest of his life. Although he continued to play the pipes, propped up on a mattress and pillows, he re-entered the hospital on October 27, 1949 and died January 19, 1950. Despite reports of additional recordings, the only recordings of Dolan known to be available are nine acetate discs that he recorded for the Irish Folklore Commission in 1947. These were remastered and released as Bunch of Keys: The Complete recordings Of Johnny Dolan in 1989.