In the late 70’s and early 80’s, Portland’s gritty Old Time and Bluegrass musicians scooted aside in awe and wonderment to make room for some new trad in town, some new lads in town.
Those Irish ones. (And it wasn’t yer da’s Irish they were playing, either.)
In those long-ago days, Portland was a bridge-riven rainbow-clad land as green as The Emerald Isle, and in places like Mike Beglan’s East Avenue Tavern on East Burnside, Irish Music found a home. Mícheál Ó’Domhnaill was among the first in the door, often beside master fiddlers Kevin Burke and Johnny Cunningham, eventually to be joined by Mícheál’s sister, Tríona.
Though-to the anguish of his friends-he eventually returned to his native land, his influence can be found in every Irish circle in the city: from the fine DADGAD guitar players you may hear at our sessions and céilís to the lilt of the Irish songs he passed along.
Mícheál also left a more tangible gift, an album he produced in 1983, Wild Geese, Celtic Music of the Northwest, a fabulous offering to the community featuring several Portland musicians he mentored in those early years, including the likes of Randal Bays and Kate Power.
It is with pride and gratitude that we wish to remember, honor, and continue Mícheál’s legacy in the founding of The Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Mícheál Ó’Domhnaill Branch of Oregon.
Written by Nancy Jarrell