Mick Moloney once made the observation that Irish traditional music is unique in that it can break out anywhere, like a good conversation between musicians.
Like conversation, acoustic and rhythmic music from fiddles or pipes or flutes can start up at a real Irish pub, where the publican understands his or her role as steward of traditional forms of community-building entertainment. Most Irish bars that go for the pub aesthetic fail this basic test of authenticity, where traditional Irish music is welcome, and the musicians who make it are treated with the respect they deserve as inheritors of an ancient musical tradition.
Recognizing this important relationship between a welcoming publican and the traditional Irish musician is part of what helps encourage pubs to recreate this special type of Irish magic in New York.
They will be honored by the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann at the Convention in Parsippany this April. I had to dig through the Comhaltas trash baskets to find this information, but the incomplete list includes, and is not exclusive to (more names to be added!):
Among those being honored are Seán Dunne, publican of Dunne's Pub and Restaurant, where Brian Conway has been maintaining a seisiún for more than a decade.
Also being honored is Rory Dolan, proprietor of Rory Dolan's in Yonkers, one of Irish America's major areas.
Joe Carty, publican at Rambling House is to receive recognition at the CCÉ convention, for his hospitality in Yonkers.
As will Frank McCole & Tom Burke, who host a seisiún at Lillie's in Union Square, Manhattan, started when their friend the Cork singer Donie Carroll approached them about turning the Victorian atmosphere into the setting for a great seisiún, and both he and Dan Neely have been keeping it a local favorite.
Don Meade's seisiún at the Landmark Tavern is New York's most historic and intimate, happening under the tireless support of Michael Yonge and Donnchadha O'Sullivan in one of New York's oldest continuous businesses, on the west side, of Hell's Kitchen.
I believe Neil from Spike Hill, and the folks at Dempsey's on Second Avenue (hi to John Nevin), and Ciarán at O'Neill's are among those to be honored. I'll be sure and have pictures from the ceremony, so no one gets left out.
These great men of business that support traditional Irish culture, keep Irish pubs unique--most are TV rooms for sports matches--and will be awarded for their fine service to cultúr in New York at the big tionól or gathering of Irish musicians, dancers and listeners happening in April.
In this picture: Jerry O'Sullivan, Brian Conway and Seán Dunne from the early days of Dunne's Pub in White Plains