Frankie Gavin was born in Corrandulla, County Galway in 1956. His father and uncles were fiddlers and musicians. Frankie started on the whistle at age four. As a young fiddler he seized upon the 78s of Irish-American musicians, especially those of James Morrison, Michael Coleman, the Flanagan brothers, and flute player John McKenna. He also learned to play flute and in 1973 he took first in the All Ireland Fiddle Competition and in the All Ireland Flute Competition. He entered both on the same day.
That year Frankie founded De Dannan and for almost thirty years this band has remained at the forefront of Celtic music. De Dannan is among the few Celtic bands today that features collective improvisation as a major component of the overall sound. Aside from his six solo albums and fifteen albums with De Dannan, this fiddler has found himself in the most unlikely of places, including on the last Rolling Stones album.
Frankie was introduced to the music of Joe Derrane on a visit to New York in the 1970s. Here he met Richard Nevins who shared his vast 78 collection with him. Frankie copied all the accordion 78s he could find, especially those of Derrane and Kimmel. He returned to Ireland and shared them with accordion players of his own generation, Jackie Daly and Martin OConner. Many years later Frankie performed with Joe Derrane at Denmark's 1997 Tondor Festival, a performance that immediately revealed the special magic of their joint improvs.
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