The late Flagmount fiddler Mike Brady has recently been added to the Comhaltas Mid-Atlantic Regional Hall of Fame.
The East Clare musician, who passed away on July 1 last year, was honoured at a ceremony at the Irish American Centre in Mineola, Long Island, USA last month.
He was one of 38 musicians to be honoured, among them two East Galway men, Joe Burke and Monsignor Charlie Coen.
Mike Brady, also known to many as Mickey, was born in Flagmount on November 10, 1939 and immigrated to Brooklyn in 1958. He had lived most recently in the Bay Shore, Long Island. His father played fiddle and from a young age Mike wanted to learn and was sent to P Joe Hayes and Paddy Canny. He also played with Bill Loughnane and Vincent Griffin. He played at house dances and sat in with the Tulla Céilí Band on occasion.
Speaking to The Clare Champion, Mike’s brother Joe said he was glad that Mike was honoured in such a way.
“It’s a big honour. He was quite shy and if I was as good as him I would be playing all the time. He was unassuming. Mike started the Ceol na gCroí Ceili Band with Denis O’Driscoll and he was loved at the set dancing because he had a natural lift.
“He was very popular and that’s why he was honoured. He didn’t read music, he would play by ear. My father played the fiddle every night of his life and so when Mike was very young he wanted to play the fiddle.
“He got him a small fiddle and sent him to P Joe Hayes to learn and he also went to Paddy Canny. Mike went to New York later. When he used to come home he used to visit Peppers in Feakle and he’d sit in with Vincent Griffin and Seamus Bugler,” Joe explained.
While in the United States, Mike played music at the Patsy Tuohy Club as well as at the Doonbeg Social Club and could often be found sitting in with different bands at various ceilithe around Queens and Long Island.
Mike was greatly influenced by P Joe Hayes and Paddy Canny and embodied the East Clare style.
He was also a long-time member of the Mulligan Quinn Branch CCE. Before he died, Mike received a Service Recognition Award from the branch at their last monthly céilí of the season and he was also honoured by the Doonbeg Social Club.
In recent years, Joe explains, the family had sought a recording of Mike’s work and so a private CD entitled Music from Flagmount in Ireland was recorded in an informal setting.
Mike had intended to produce another album but sadly this never came to pass.