The Mason’s Apron

By The Madden Brothers

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The Madden brothers comprise of Paul (accordion) and Stephen (banjo) Madden from Ennis Co. Clare. The recording was made 7 years ago when Paul and Stephen were just 16 and 13 years old respectively. There is a great warmth and drive in their playing and they have a wonderful selection of tunes. Despite their age, they have a very mature style and they are as good a box-banjo duet as I’ve ever heard. They are backed by Paraic O’Reilly on piano on most track and Tommy Hayes on some others. There is a great balance between the banjo and box. You can clearly hear both and neither instrument is more dominant. The piano accompaniment stays nicely in the background.

The album was released on the independent "Madden Brothers" label and might be hard to find these days but if you do see it in shops, I would 100% recommend it if you like either the banjo, box or just good driving music.

Stephen’s main influence is Ennis banjo player, Kieran Hanrahan, while Paul (who plays a red Paolo Soprani) mentions his admiration for the playing of Martin Connolly, Thomas Ryan and Paddy Clancy.

Both brothers have won fleadh ceoil duet and solo competitions and I’m not surprised.