Galway based ceili/trad band Shaskeen celebrate 50 years on the road.
An entire generation has matured on the music of the band that was put together to play on Friday nights at the Oxford Tavern in Kentish Town back in 1970.
Since then, the music of Shaskeen lives on, albeit with a slightly different line up.
The name Shaskeen comes from the Shaskeen Reel so as one can imagine the band has been heavily influenced by ceili music and in the past five decades has been true to the ethos that brought Tom Cussen, Benny O Connor, Sean McDonagh, Johnny and Maureen Minogue together all those years ago.
Tom Cussen, plays tenor banjo and mandolin, originally from County Limerick, now a long time resident of Galway. As well as being The Band Leader, Tom is the maker of the renowned Clareen banjos.
Pat Costello hails from Moycarkey in Co. Tipperary, but now lives in Shannon Co. Clare. Pat is the singer with the band, he also plays-Guitar, Bouzouki, Banjo(4 & 5string) and Mandolin, he mostly plays guitar with the band, but is a proficient performer on all four instruments.
He is also an experienced recording engineer and has recorded and produced four albums with Shaskeen as well as many other bands and individuals.
Geraldine Cotter, a native of Ennis, Co. Clare.
Geraldine is a well-known teacher and performer on both the tin whistle and piano.
She has published two best selling tutors; the first in 1983 for the tin whistle and in 1996 Seinn an Piano, the first of its kind for traditional piano.
As well as with Shaskeen she has performed on stage with Martin Hayes, Liz Carroll, John Carty, Patrick Ourceau, Joe Burke, Noel Hill, Tulla and Kilfenora Ceili Bands and Moving Cloud. She is currently a researcher, teacher and lecturer at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in the University of Limerick.
Pat Brodrick is from Loughrea in County Galway.
He is the son of renowned flute players, Peter & Ethna Broderick. Pat has played the whistle since he was four years old, taking brief breaks to become a master piper on both the uileann pipes and the piob mór, graduating to Pipe Major in the Irish Army, in charge of the Pipe Band of the Western Command.
During his career he has played with many groups including Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance” , Shaskeen and featured in appearences with The Chieftains and others too numerous to mention.
Patsy McDonagh who plays accordion, is playing in the band for the last 15 years comes from the Connemara Gaeltacht.
Patsy has played with many bands and folk groups down through the years including the Corrib Ceili Band and Mulhaires Ceili Band. He has also toured many times in USA as well as Germany and France.
David Sanders originally from Kilnaboy, is now living in Ennis in County Clare.
He has played and or recorded with varying bands through the years most recently with The Wingers, and also Turloughmore Ceili Band, Kilfenora Ceili Band and St Flannans Ceili Band among others
John Donnellan from Shrule, a small village on the Mayo/Galway border.
John was surrounded by traditional Irish music at an early age. His uncle James Walsh taught him his first tune on the melodeon at the age of 8 and remains an influence on his style of music.
In 1981 John bought his first bodhran and has continued to develop his styles and techniques ever since, winning six major bodhran titles in the meantime.
John has also developed a unique technique to his playing by attaching a block to his bodhran making a distinctive sound when playing.
John has also recorded with many local and famous artists and has made a major contributation to the present Shaskeen album..
Sean Conway was born in Ennis, County Clare Ireland and has been playing the Tin Whistle since the age of nine. Sean has since picked up the wooden flute, Tin Whistles of every kind, low whistles, guitar, bass guitar, and an amazing number of Irish country and other songs with a vocal dexterity is always delightful to listen to.
Sean moved to the United States in the spring of 1986. After touring with several groups in Ireland he played with some of those bands as they toured the U.S. as well as performing with groups based in the U.S. all primarily on the East Coast before joining the Irish brigade.
Some of those bands and people include Dysart Giri Band, Hi – Jackers, Tracy & Grassroots, Johnny McEvoy’s Band, Country Fever, The Tulla Ceili Band, The Kilfenora Ceili Band, Martin Hayes, Sean Tyrrell, Shaskeen, Andy O’Droscoll, a virtual who’s who of Irish music.