Mapleshade

BRIAN McGRATH

One of the rare young pianists whose sound reflects the 1920s piano styles, Brian was born in Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, 1965. Although his parents did not play music, they owned a pub that featured local and visiting players on a regular basis. This is where he first heard the music. When he was a child, his parents acquired old 78 rpms at estate auctions around the county; these discs introduced a young boy to the piano sound of the 1920s. He began to play piano at age five. He learned his first tune on the piano, “Lovely Leitrim”, from the mouth music of his mother. He went on to learn accompaniment and often accompanied his friend, fiddler Seamus Quinn. Seamus had a vast knowledge of the old music and shared it with him.

Around this time he also heard the music of Frankie's band De Dannan. He eventually met Frankie in Joe Dimond’s house in Maghera, County Derry. Joe had a sizable 78 collection. Here, after one of Frankie's gigs, they played together for the first time. They both played the piano, four hands on the keyboard — Frankie accompanied Brian! By the age of seventeen Brian was also playing banjo. It was around this time that he first heard talk of Joe Derrane; eventually he heard his 78s. As superb and gifted on the banjo as he is on the piano, Brian carries around a stunning knowledge of the old music. He joined Frankie’s band De Dannan and is still a member today. Brian was the hero of the Mapleshade sessions, providing the perfect foundation for a tribute to the golden era.

MAPLESHADE RELEASES

Ireland's Harvest (#09232)