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Packie Russell

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Published on Feb 21, 2009

Vintage footage from 1975 of Packie Russell from O'Connor's Pub, Doolin, County Clare ---when the craic was mighty ! Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam.

Patrick Packie Russell (1920-1977) was a renowned concertina player from Doolin, Co. Clare. By day he worked as a stone mason at the Doonagore quarry, whilst by night he played the concertina in the Doolin pubs. His older brother, Micho Russell, became world renowned for his tin whistle playing and his knowledge of traditional Irish music, but Packie and a third brother, Gussie, remained in Doolin all their lives, playing to locals and traditional music devotees. Despite remaining at home, Packie was well-known throughout the country. His death in 1977 was reported on national television, and a memoir of his and his brother Michos lives appeared in 1996 (Michael Coady, The Well of Spring Water). J. B. Vallely, himself a distinguished musician and founder of the Armagh Pipers Band, was well aware of Packie Russells reputation. In his own words, the three Russell brothers acquired a sort of iconic status particularly with European followers of Irish traditional music. Included in this lot is a pencil drawing by Vallely, 12 by 9.5 inches, signed lower left, also depicting Packie Russell with his hand held concertina. Both pieces were originally exhibited at the Cavehill Gallery, Belfast, and the Carroll Gallery, Newry Town Hall, in 1989. A copy of the Carroll Gallery exhibition catalogue is also included with the lot. With thanks to the artist for his help in cataloguing this work.

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