Famous Irish Fiddler Passes Away / Fidléir Cáiliúil Imithe Uainn Ar Shlí Na Fírinne

It is with deep sorrow that we learn of the death of James Campbell (84) this past weekend, one of Ireland’s most influential traditional musicians.

James died at his home at Banganboy in the town of Glenties,  Donegal yesterday morning and will be buried this Wednesday.

Following the sad news, many tributes flowed in from well-wishers. 

According to Donegalfiddlemusic.ie, James was “one of the crucial direct links to the life and music of Mickey and John Doherty,” legends of the fiddle-playing world.

Cúis an-bhróin dúinn an nuacht gur cailleadh James Campbell (85) le déanaí. Bhí James ar dhuine de na ceoltóirí traidisiúnta ba thábhachtaí sa tír agus tháinig go leor faoina thionchar.

Ba ina theach fhéin ar an Bheangán Buí sna Gleanntaí a fuair James bás.

Tháinig go leor teachtaireachtaí ómóis ó bhaill an phobail i ndiaidh dó bás a fháil, agus iad briste ag an nuacht.

Dar le donegalfiddlemusic.ie bhí James ar “one of the crucial direct links to the life and music of Mickey and John Doherty,” laochra móra eile na fidléireachta.

Members of Donegal traditional group ‘Altan’ were quoted saying, “This man was everything, a great person, fiddler, gentle, modest, encouraging and so so welcoming.” Traditional group. ‘The Friel Sisters,’ said “he has influenced and encouraged generations of musicians. There will never be another like him. Donegal is a much sadder place today without him.”

Born in 1937, James grew up in a family steeped in Donegal fiddle music, including his father and grandfather were well known fiddle players. His son Peter is also a renowned fiddle player.

The Campbell home was a regular venue for musicians to visit and play music, including such legends as Mickey and John Doherty. 

James emigrated to Scotland where he worked as a ‘tunnel tiger’ and later settled in London. James and his wife, Yvonne, raised a family of four girls and one boy.

He was a mainstay of the traditional music scene in Britain, and had associations with such virtuosos as Brendan McGlinchey, the Dwyers of Ardgroom and Paddy Conroy, the Galway accordion player.

James returned to live in Donegal with his family in the late 1980s and introduced the music of the Croaghs area to younger generations of musicians.

Dúirt baill an ghrúpa traidisiúnta Conallach Altan, “This man was everything, a great person, fiddler, gentle, modest, encouraging and so so welcoming.” Agus de réir ‘The Friel Sisters’, grúpa ceoil eile “he has influenced and encouraged generations of musicians. There will never be another like him. Donegal is a much sadder place today without him.”

Rugadh James sa bhliain 1937 agus tógadh é i dteaghlach a bhí ar maos san fhidléireacht Chonallach. Fidléirí clúiteacha iad a athair agus a sheanathair roimhe agus tá cáil na fidléireacht ar a mhac Peter chomh maith. 

Ba ghnách le ceoltóirí tarraingt ar theach na gCampbells lena n-airnéal a dhéanamh nó le poirt a bhualadh, daoine móra ar nós Mickey agus John Doherty ina measc. 

Thug James aghaidh ar an bhád ban agus ar Albain áit ar oibrigh sé mar ‘tunnel tiger’ anus ina dhiaidh sin chuir sé faoi i Londain Shasana. Ceathrar iníonacha agus mac amháin a bhí aige agus ag a bhean Yvonne. 

Crann taca an cheoil traidisiúnta sa Bhreatain a bhí ann, agus bhí baint aige le sárcheoltóirí eile ar nós Brendan McGlinchey, muintir Dwyer Dhá Dhroim, Corcaigh, agus Paddy Conroy, an boscadóir Gaillmheach. 

Phill James ar Thír Chonaill sa 1980-aí déanacha áit ar chuir sé ceol na gCruacha chun cinn i measc na n-óg go deireadh a shaoil. 

Published by HillenSean

Sean John Hillen has been journalist, editor, publisher, media trainer and public speaker for more than thirty years. Born in west Belfast, he worked for various national newspapers there, including the Belfast Telegraph as well as the BBC, and in Dublin for The Irish Times, before emigrating to the United States to work at the United Nations Media Center in New York. From there Sean moved to the Midwest to work in print and broadcast media, including news correspondent for Scripps Howard Broadcasting, now an NBC-affiliate, and as general and then health correspondent for The Kansas City Times (interestingly, here, Sean held the same editorial position as did Ernest Hemingway – aka night crime/murder reporter). Over the years, Sean’s work has appeared in many other publications including Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal, as well as the American Medical News, the national newspaper of the American Medical Association in Chicago and American Nurse, magazine of the American Nurses Association. Sean won many regional and national journalism awards before leaving the US for post-Communist Eastern Europe, immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990 to establish the first journalism schools, working with agencies such as the United Nations Development Fund and the US Agency for International Development. He became foreign correspondent for The Times and The Daily Telegraph, London, the largest circulation broadsheet newspapers in the UK, before founding his own national publishing and events company in Bucharest, Romania, for 15 years, employing a full-time staff of more than 30. He was elected chairperson of the US Fulbright Commission in Romania for a number of years and received national awards from the President of Romania, Traian Basescu, for launching the nation’s first-ever Corporate Citizen, Civic Journalism & Community Service Awards. Sean now lives in Donegal in picturesque northwest Ireland with his Transylvanian-born wife, Columbia, and two sheepdogs, Siog and Lugh, where he follows a journalism and writing career, as well as being a media and writing skills coach (Fios and Ireland Writing Retreat) He is a published author – with non-fiction books on journalism and media training and an informative, light-hearted, intra-country travelogue entitled ‘Digging for Dracula.’ Sean’s writings can be found locally on Donegal News and in The Irish Times Travel magazine, JustLuxe.com and Examiner.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: