Profile: Tommy Peoples

Tommy Peoples is one of the most reknowned fiddlers in Irish traditional circles today, and a prime exponent of the Donegal style of fiddling, a technical master as well as powerful musician.


Peoples was born in the 1948 in St. Johnston, Co. Donegal, and learned fiddle, in the distinctive Donegal style, from an early age. He joined the famous Kilfenora Band for a while and recorded with them in the sixties, as well as marrying the daughter of their famous pianist, Kitty Linnane.

He joined the traditional scene in Dublin in the seventies, playing with the likes of Matt Molloy, Paddy Keenan and Liam O'Flynn. For a while he played in the pioneering but short-lived group 1691, and joined the famous Bothy Band in late 1975, replacing Paddy Glackin as the band turned professional. He left the Bothies in 1976, after the release of their first album, and was replaced by Kevin Burke.

He recorded a number of albums with varied other musicians in the late seventies, the best known of which is probably the Molloy-Peoples-Brady album. He now lives around Kilfenora, Co. Clare, and continues to play locally. His daughter Siobhan is also a fiddler, who has recorded with him on the Maiden Voyage album. His best regarded albums are the Molloy/Peoples/Brady album, the first Bothy Band album, and probably The High Part of the Road, though his solo albums have many fans, and have influenced many of the younger generation of fiddle players.


1975  The Bothy Band (The Bothy Band)      Mulligan LUN 002, Green Linnet GLCD 3011
1976? The High Part of the Road            Shanachie 34007
      (Paul Brady & Tommy Peoples)
19??  Tommy Peoples                        Comhaltas CL 13
197?  The Iron Man                         Shanachie 79004
      (Tommy Peoples and Daithi Sproule)
1977  A Traditional Experience             Solo 7012: LP
      With Tommy Peoples
1978  Matt Molloy, Tommy Peoples,          Mulligan LUN 17, Green Linnet 3018
      Paul Brady
1986  Fifty Irish fiddle tunes             Waltons WMC 01024
      (Instruction Book + Cassette)
1993  Tommy Peoples, Traditional Fiddler   TradHCD008 (GTD Heritage Music)
19??  Tommy Peoples, Master Irish Fiddler  Ovation Records, OVA 503
1998  The Quiet Glen                       (private release)

Also contributes to:
197?  Paul Brady: Welcome Here Kind Stranger  Green Linnet 3015 (cassette)
1990  Clare tradition (one track)             HCD?? GTD Heritage Music
1991  Fiddlesticks (four sets)                Nimbus
199?  The Sound of Stone                      BAG CD 001
      (Artists for Mullaghmore)
19??  Maiden Voyage: Live traditional music session from
      Peppers Bar - Feakle, Co. Clare         Celtic Music CMCD 062


Most of the information here was obtained from PJ Curtis' excellent book, "Notes from the Heart" (Torc Press, 1994); the discography comes mostly from a thread on the Irtrad-L mailing list. Tommy Peoples is also covered in an article in Treoir magazine, from Autumn 1996.


Copyright (c) 1996-1998 Ceolas.

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