Seán Potts
Born: 1930 in Dublin, Éire Died: February 11, 2014 in Dublin, Éire
Instruments: tin whistle, bones and bodhrán
Albums Present: Chieftains 1 - Chieftains 8

A native of Dublin, and the nephew of Tommy Potts, the famed Irish fiddler, became with acquainted with Paddy Moloney in the 1950's. They often collaborated on arrangements and would bounce musical ideas off of each other.

He was one of the original members of Seán Ó Riáda's group, Ceoltóirí Cualann and was a founding a member of the group to be known as The Chiefains. In 1972, Potts and Paddy Moloney released a duet album, Tin Whistles, showing the versatility of the instruments in the hands of masters.

Since his departure from The Chieftains in 1979, Potts has done radio work including pieces for Radio Telefís Éireann. He also founded Bakerswell, which had a successful tour of the US.

He was best known for his animated personality and added great flair to the live performances of the group.


Tin Whistle:
The tin whistle is a vertical fipple-flute. The fipple is the duct in the mouthpiece that directs air to produce sound. The first tin whistles of the 1800's were rolled plates of tin forming a tube, with a wooden block in the mouthpiece carved to form the fipple. Today's tin whistles are made of metals including nickel-silver, brass and aluminum. They have a range of two octaves, and are made in a wide range of keys.

The bodhrán (pronounced like bow rawn) is the heartbeat of Irish music. This ancient framedrum is traditionally made with a wooden body and a goat-skin head, and is played by striking the drumhead obliquely with the hand or with a double-headed stick called a cipín, tipper, or beater. In the most common style, the bodhránist plays the basic rhythm with the lower end of the stick, and adds ornamentation with the upper end.

The bodhrán is a relatively recent addition to Irish traditional music. Although it has a long history as a noisemaker in warfare and certain religious festivals, the drum was not accepted into modern performance ensembles until the 1960s, when Sean O Riada introduced in into his arrangements for Ceoltóirí Chualann and the Chieftains. General acceptance has been slow in coming, as many traditionalists felt that the drum had no place in Irish music. This feeling is mostly gone, due the efforts of virtuosi like Peadar Mercier, Mel Mercier, Tommy Hayes, Christy Moore, and Johnny "Ringo" MacDonagh. Today, the bodhrán is found in most Irish traditional bands, and is appearing more often in Scottish music, modern folk music, Celtic-fusion rock, and even classical music. But the bodhrán continues to be the traditional butt of numerous jokes.

Special thanks to Josh Mittleman, for the above information. Josh maintaines a great resource, The Bodhrán Page, check it out!

Evidence of the use of bones as a percussion instrument dates back to the mediaeval period. The player typically holds a pair in each hand, one between the thumb and index finger, the second between the index and middle fingers. The player flicks his wrist to strike the bones together to create rhythms. Today, bones are made from various animal bones and a variety of woods such as Walnut, Oak and Maple.

Thanks to Joseph Mulvanerty for the above bones information.

These are musical clappers made of ox bone. The player holds a pair in each hand; one 'bone' is held between thumb and index finger, a second between index and middle fingers. They are clicked together by flicking the wrist. Known since medieval times when Jongleurs brought them from ancient Rome.

Thanks to Lark In The Morning for the above bones information.


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