January 26, 1986 saw the shock passing of one of Sligo’s finest traditional musicians, Fred Finn.
He was born in Kiltycreen, Killavil in 1919 and spent practically all of his life working and playing music in South Sligo and the surrounding areas.
One of Fred’s friends and students, Philip Duffy, announced details of a special commemoration for the man, to be held at the end of this month.
“Those that knew Fred will know that the we lost much more than a great fiddle player on that fateful day,” said Philip. “He was first and foremost a ‘character’ that simply could not and has not been replaced. His sense of fun, his witty stories, his gentleman attributes equally made the man what he was.
“Above most others his passing has left a massive void within the fraternity of musicians in the area. But still when the music is played his name invariably surfaces and Fred is spoken of in the most affectionate tones as if he were still with us.”
Fred Finn of course was a musician who epitomised the true Sligo style of fiddle playing. His name is intrinsically linked with the great flute player Peter Horan and the combination of their musical styles and personalities is widely recognised as producing some of the finest duet playing ever to be recorded.
Unbelievably 30 years have now passed since Fred’s untimely death and to mark this significant date ‘An Evening with Fred’ is being organised for Saturday, February 27.
It will begin with a special commemorative evening mass in Killavil Church at 6pm celebrated by Fr. James McDonagh. Refreshments will be available in the Coleman Irish Music Centre in Gurteen from 7.15pm which will be followed at 8pm by a Presentation ‘Fred Finn Musician & Mentor’ given by Philip Duffy.
This will feature rare solo recordings and an insight into Fred’s background and influences. Finally a session of music will take place in the Roisin Dubh, Gurteen which will include many of those musicians that knew and played with Fred himself.
This is an opportunity for friends and musicians alike to meet and reminisce while at the same time it is an opportunity for a new generation of music lovers to learn and listen to one of Sligo’s most famous sons.