John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

I’ve seen his name spelled in both ways. I’m trying to locate any recordings of his playing.

The Comhaltas archives have four 30 sec clips and I’ve found one other Comhaltas page with one tune played through. Supposedly there are some recordings of him on Sean O’Riada’s "Our Musical Heritage" but I haven’t been able to locate a copy as yet.

Aine and Francis O’Connor give some bio info in the informative booklet that accompanies "They Didn’t Come Home Until Morning". Anyone know of any further available info or recordings?

Thanks.

Re: John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

There’s a tiny bit about the duo of John Joe Harnett (concert flute) and Seán Collins (banjo) here - http://www.limerickcity.ie/media/mlp217.pdf.

Ciarán Mac Mathúna compiled a cassette of recordings from counties Galway and Limerick for release by RTÉ in 1988 (RTÉMC 113). It’s possible that JJH is on that. ITMA should have a copy (https://www.itma.ie/).

‘Our Musical Heritage’ was a radio series which first ran from 7th July to 13th October, 1962. Twenty years later RTÉ issued a triple-album set of recordings from the series (see https://www.discogs.com/Se%C3%A1n-%C3%93-Riada-Our-Musical-Heritage/release/7794871). John Joe Harnett plays solo on track E8.

Ó Riada notes that ‘Flute-playing in West Limerick, like the area’s fiddle-playing, is dominated by a strong, very virile rhythm. Ornamentation is somewhat sparse, and the phrases are short, but the drive - the tremendous force of the rhythm - more than makes up for what it lacks in other fields, as in two reels played by John Joe Harnett from Newcastlewest.’ (Taken from the book ‘Our Musical Heritage’, published in 1982 by The Dolmen Press to accompany the triple-LP set mentioned above.)

Posted by .

Re: John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

Hi GW - I have the Galway/Limerick tapes, and did check - JJH is not on that tape by name, although there are a few groups of musicians recorded where no names are listed. I’ll have a listen again for that "virile rhythym" 🙂

Posted by .

Re: John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

PS - occurred to me just after posting the above. There are 3 tracks by "Ceoltoiri Luimni", and although no-one is listed by name in the track list, I’d be surprised if Ciaran MacMathuna didn’t name the players in his spoken introductions. Watch this space.

Posted by .

Re: John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

Hang on a minute - according to Aine & Frances O’Connor’s sleeve notes, - I quote : "John Joe Harnett was born in Barna, Co. Limerick on April 28 1919, the fourth child of a family of eight. His father, Jack "The Mason"…. " . Also at the end of the paragraph it says John Joe Harnett died in 1984.
The Comhaltas clip says "John [ and it doesn’t say "John Joe" ] told me he inherited his tradition from his grandfather Jack Harnett…… "
The guy in the clip - lovely playing by the way - is not John Joe, but must be John Joe’s son.

Also - listened to the MacMathuna tapes, no mention of JJH being one of the musicians recorded.

Posted by .

Re: John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

@Kenny: Ah, that explains why the announcer introduced him as ‘John Harnett’… Apologies for my lack of diligence. I enjoyed his playing all the same. Does his playing sound a lot like his father’s?

Re: John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

Just sent a note to Comhaltas asking the date of the John Harnett video and what the relationship might be to John Joe Harnett/Hartnett. Thus far, we know that Jack Harnett was the father of John Joe and the grandfather of John. But I didn’t find something that said that John Joe was the father of John (rather than, perhaps, an uncle).

I’ll provide the response when it arrives.

Thanks to all for the input on my little search.

Re: John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

As an aside, the 1911 Census of Ireland shows no fewer than 44 people named John Harnett living in County Limerick.

https://bit.ly/3yPEjXI

Posted by .

Re: John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

Hi Steve - I think you could be right with "uncle". It did strike me as a bit odd that John said he got his music from his grandfather, without mentioning his father. That would certainly explain it. Look forward to hearing your reply from CCE.
Regards, Kenny

Posted by .

Re: John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

Got some info from Seán Gavin. He sent along copies of John Joe from "Our Musical Heritage" and the following, "I bet his family have more of him [meaning John Joe’s recordings]. His nephew is also a great flute player named John Hartnett, and he has a son also named John Hartnett (Also a mighty fluter!) They’re from Horse and Jockey co. Tipp. Maybe you could get ahold of them."

So, I’m guessing that the John on the video in the Comhaltas archives is the nephew—but hopefully a response from CCE will help sort that out. John Joe’s playing from Our Musical Heritage is quite similar in style to the John in the video—not surprising if they both learned from Jack.

And the trail continues…

Re: John Joe Harnett/Hartnett

For those of you following this little saga, I received the following information from Willie Fogarty via Comhaltas, "Many thanks for your message of 5th September which Comhaltas passed on to me as I record and make the Comhaltas Live programmes.
"Delighted that you enjoy the programmes. With regard to prog 562_2, John is actually a nephew of John Joe and I made the recording in October 2018.
"We’re arranging another recording for October which will include more of that lovely style of music as well as some interviews about it, for inclusion in an upcoming Comhaltas Live prog. "

So now we know that the video is of John, the nephew of John Joe—and that there’s more coming.