The Music of Joe O’Dowd
Joe O'Dowd's emergence in Sligo town in the late 1940s, from his birthplace in the musical heartland that is South Sligo, after a period of involvement in the foundational period of the Irish music scene in north London, has long been seen as a watershed for traditional music in Sligo town.
Through his involvement with the Garryowen Ceili Band in London in the 1930s, his instinct for outward sharing of his music to the population of Sligo, which in turn encouraged musicians already resident in the town to allow more exposure of their activities, his work with the Owenmore Ceili Band in the 1960s, many national radio and TV appearances, his work as a founder member of two Comhaltas branches, almost singlehandedly creating a session scene in Sligo town and over three decades as a dance accompanist for Feis Shligigh and other feiseanna in the region, Joe's contribution to traditional Irish music in the Sligo area, as well as his long acknowledged inspiration of the musicians that followed and developed the furrows ploughed by him and others, Joe's contribution to traditional music in Sligo has been immense.
His often-celebrated buoyant persona is fondly remembered by anyone that knew him. Though his lifespan didn't extend to the advent of social media or even mobile phones, occasional post by those who remember him tends to get a major response, such is the affection and admiration that his memory still inspires.
Joe's family have decided to release a CD consisting of recordings of his music as well as a few contributions from people that knew and admired him. The launch night should prove to be a memorable occasion of Sligo music and a celebration of one of Sligo's finest.
Image credit: The Sligo Champion