Honored posthumously, Friday, February 18, 2000
Comhaltas could find no better example for a Hall of Fame candidate than the late Ed Reavy, Sr. from Barnagrove, Co. Cavan who was born in 1897. Reavy was well-steeped in Irish traditional music and dance around his Cavan homeplace before he immigrated to Philadelphia in 1912. The sprees he enjoyed in the family barn helped serve as inspiration for the life he would lead in his new environs in West Philadelphia, the Irish enclave of Corktown where he shared his love of music and dance.
His determination and fond love for Ireland and its culture motivated him to compose traditional music with a breadth and variety that as much as anything helped close the distance between Ireland and America. His tunes were so exquisite that all of the musicians of his day and to the present on both sides of the ocean have relished playing them at sessions, on stage and on recordings and of course, at ceilithe like this. Like the legendary musicians who came to share the music in his Philadelphia home, people like Lad O’Beirne, Michael Coleman, Louis Quinn, Sr., John Vesey, Tommy Caulfield, Mick Moloney, Eugene O’Donnell and Seamus Egan and so many others over the decades, Ed Reavy deserves a prominent spot in the pantheon of Irish music.
His compositions alone mark him as a man of extraordinary gifts and imagination. But CCE in particular pays tribute to his vision for sharing and preserving traditional Irish music in this country by recognizing his longtime leadership in the Irish Musicians’ Assiciation organized throughout the country in the days before Comhaltas over here. His very critical role – along with Hall of Fame member Louis Quinn (R.I.P.) from New York – laid a firm foundation for the success that Irish music currently enjoys all over the world.
Ed Reavy’s legacy is lovingly preserved by his sons Ed and joe who have worked hard to document his efforts. They have compiled a fine collection of tunes, history and recordings that belond in any library where the music is held dear or in the hands of any aspiring musician.