Na Daoine Ata Imithe

By Michael Dwyer

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Five comments

Michael Dwyer

I got this “own label” CD at the Willie Clancy Week some years back, and just discovered the other day that it hadn’t been posted here. I’ll make fuller comments, and quote some of the sleeve notes later.

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Michael Dwyer - sleeve notes.

"Michael Dwyer, and his sister Margaret who accompanies him on this recording, are from an immensely talented family of nine brothers and sisters born in Cailroe, near Ardgroom, on the Beara Peninsula. Michael was a renowned and much loved tin-whistle player who, at the age of 26, swept the boards at the All-Ireland and All-Britain Championships, winning first prize in every tin-whistle category.
“Michael was constantly composing - he never stopped.” says Margaret. “Will you baptize a tune for me ?” he’d often ask - meaning I would be the first to listen to a new tune. He was always making tapes and he never made a big deal of it, just gave them away to friends afterwards or gave them to a few pubs to sell. You just couldn’t pin him down.
This recording grew from the same spirit of spontaneity. One Thursday evening in 1983, Margaret got a call from Michael out of the blue. “We’re making a tape together on Saturday,” says he. “You must be joking me” was her reply. They managed to get in just one hour of practice together in what was then Jack Lynch’s Bar in Eyeries village. It was Margaret’s first time hearing some of the tunes.
Undaunted, they sped off to a small studio in Cork the next morning where these lovely airs were recorded for posterity. We listened to the tape non-stop all the way back in the car“, says Margaret, ”and by the time we got home, I knew them backwards“. Talk about putting the cart before the horse ! But it worked out fine. Michael was in mighty form, and it was a great day. I’ll never forget it”.

Anne O’Carroll, 14th May 2000

“This album is dedicated to my brother Michael who died in June 1997. With all my love, Margaret Dwyer-White”.

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“These wonderful tunes never enjoyed mass release. Michael distributed them out of his pocket locally, and the master tape was mislaid somewhere along the road. When we started, we only had a copy of a copy. Then Sheila Lynch of Jack Lynch’s Bar provided us with an original tape which we used for re-mastering. But although the quality may not be as high as we would like, we feel that the spirit and sheer mastery of the music far outweighs any technical shortcomings. We are honoured to have been able to rescue these beautiful tunes from oblivion for you to hear and enjoy.”

Theo Dahlke, 14th may 2000

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Michael’s compositions

This is from

"Composed by Michael:

1. Farewell to Bally – Ballycrovane Harbour was a very special place for all the Dwyer family. Michael spent a lot of time there, and loved the peace and serenity of the place.

3. Na Daoine atá Imithe, or ‘Those who are gone ’ is the title track of this CD. ‘It was written as a tribute to our mother an father after their deaths’ says Margaret ‘and was meant for everyone who has lost someone – for us now too, now that Michael has gone.’

10. Cnocán na Breaca or ‘The dappled hill’ is a slow air in praise of a lovely field in Kilcatherine where our mother came from, and where people used to meet and chat long ago.

13. Una Bhán – Michael learned this beautiful traditional slow air from his father, John Dwyer from Cailroe, who used to play it on the fiddle.

14. The Grassy Road – Michael was a well-known figure on the highways and byways of Beara, ever walking the roads and composing tunes and airs as he strode along. His strong sense of place comes across in much of his music.

16. The Song of the Sea Flower - This is a poem written by Michael’s father, John Dwyer, in remembrance of the crew of the Sea Flower who drowned in Ardgroom Harbour in December 1968. Michael composed the air and set it to music. This is the only known recording, and was made on a tape recorder at his kitchen table just a few years before he died."

Re: Na Daoine Ata Imithe

Note track 12, tune 2, listed as The Abbey Reel, is actually The Boys on the Hilltop. I’ve updated the link.