con curtin

con curtin

Does anyone know anything about this fiddler from Brosna? The only recording I know of which he is on is "Paddy in the Smoke". I have tried to search the web but there’s not much on him except that they have a festival in Brosna named after him. I’ve seen his name referenced before and on Joe Burke’s site there’s a picture of him and Joe Burke together so I’m assuming he was a well know figure in the ITM musical circle . Thanks for any help.

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Re: con curtin

Con Curtin had a pub called The Big Balloon in Lotts End (?) down Chelsea direction in the 70’s. I heard at the time that there were good sessions there, but any time I went there the place was closed.Then he moved back to Brosna and had a pub there for many years. I think he’s retired from that now. I met him once at a Fleadh in Listowel years ago. Paddy in the Smoke is the only recording I’ve heard him on.

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I see in the comments referred to by Conan that it was in the 60’s that Con had the pub in London. Perhaps he had already closed it down completely by the time I went there in the seventies.

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I met him at the Con Curtin festival in Brosna this summer. A very nice old man, and has a good sense of humour too.

He was thoroughly enjoying the music at the festival, and was also persuaded to play a few tunes himself. He is a real character and enjoys waving his walking stick around at people!

Re: con curtin

Con was a controversial figure and wasn’t everybody’s cuppa tea.
He could be cranky, crusty and downright foul-mouthed if he didn’t like the look of you. If he’d had that walking stick with him then, he would have used it liberally !
But if you were a musician, he had all the time in the world for you. I never had any problem with him, nor did any other musicians that I knew.
Good to hear that he’s enjoying the music in Brosna in his well deserved retirement.
He did a lot for the music in London by providing a venue and playing himself in the days when taking an interest in "ceili music" marked you out as a bit of an oddball.
Long may he shake a stick at all those who visit Brosna !

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I heard his son, John Curtin (an excellent whistle player, I’m told) was taking over a pub somewhere in West London. Anyone know about this?

Re: con curtin

Thanks for all of the comments so far. One other question for those who may have heard or know more of his playing, I know he’s from Sliabh Luachra, but is his playing typically classified within that style (whatever it is) like Padraig O’Keefe, Denis Murphy, etc.?

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Re: con curtin

Does he have a sister called Irene?…





….coat, please…

Taxi!!

Re: con curtin

Well he’s stark raving bonkers, I will tell you that for nothing.

Yes, I would class him in with Sliabh Luachra style, though he’s (with all due respect) he is nowhere near as good as the examples you cite, 21.

He used to run a pub in Brosna, which was kind of stuck in 1954 in a fairly wild sort of way. Me and a friend were in it once and the first thing Con said to my friend, in a fairly threatening voice, was "DON’T BLOCK THE LADIES". (he actually meant she wasn’t sitting on the route to it, btw. And I’m not sure if they even HAD a gents).

He’s also notorious for "borrowing" fiddles and then playing them all night.

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Re: con curtin

Yep - the son John is also what you might call "an awkward customer", but , as David says, a brilliant whistle player - and piano player extraordinaire - in fact I’d go as far as to say I ‘ve never heard such good piano accompaniment.

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I never knew you could get so much out of the humble ‘penny whistle’ until i heard John Curtin on it _i backed up a few sessions of his years ago and also did a mic’ed up gig somewhere when he was the lead instrument and for sheer drive, energy and ‘big delivery’, i couldn’t believe it was coming out of such a small (though sharp) instrument

He’s got more than what it takes on that yoke alone _and i didn’t know about the piano

David, i’ll check through the grapevine about that _no doubt another potential session looms in your neck of the woods

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goat grape, i’ll vine through the david mountain and see what happens …

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the galtee mountain boy

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I was at the Con Cutin Festival this past June…It was crazy fun, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone that’s in the area next June.

Amazing music and musicians…they played all night until the cops told them to close the bar at 10AM…then they reopened a couple of hours later and kept going!

Con was there throughout the weekend listening in at every bar.

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Wasn’t his pub in Ireland called "The Lock Stock and Barrel" because he brought all the fittings over from England for it ?