Andy McGann

Honored February 16, 2001.  R.I.P.

The Sligo influence on traditional music in the New York area has been a vibrant one dating back to the days of the fiddling great Michael Coleman.  And in Andy McGann whose parents came from County Sligo we have an unbroken link to the great Coleman Andy McGann (left) and Paddy Reynolds (photo courtesy of Brian Conway)   with whom  Andy studied as a youngster in New York City where he was born.  Andy has added to the rich legacy of Irish music in New York over six decades by playing with many of th  e best musicians to come out of Ireland and here in America by becoming a seminal influence in his own right among musicians who take up the fiddle and the bow.  His impeccable timing and tone have delighted musicians and dancers alike no matter what the venue and they have been varied over the years in every borough of the city.  Irish traditional music wasn’t always as fashionable as it is today but Andy McGann was always steadfast in his serious approach to the music gaining respect wherever he played. 

Andy’s musical partners over the years ranged from  great fiddlers in the Sligo tradition like Lad O’Beirne, Paddy Killoran,  Martin Wynne, Paddy Reynolds to younger men  of today like Brian Conway, Tony DeMarco and teenager Patrick Mangan who garner similar respect among their musical peers and fans.  And in the sixties Andy was linked to the legendary box player Joe Burke who along with Felix Dolan recorded the classic Tribute to Michael Coleman in 1965 and re-released on CD in 1994 by Green Linnet.  They recorded a second album as a trio in 1979 following a solo album by Andy in 1977 and he was captured in time on two fine tracks from the prestigious 1990 Irish Fiddle Festival at Boston College live recording.  Andy McGann’s music has been revered at Gaelic League ceilithe, Festivals from the Catskills to Washington D.C. and even at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann where he was the Honorary President when it was held in Sligo town over a decade ago.  Andy had four sons with his late wife Marie and he now resides in Manhattan with his wife Pat and daughter Meghan  who plays the flute and also step dances like her father who was also a champion  dancer in his youth. 

– Paul Keating

Andy McGann (left) with Paddy Reynolds