Ryan's Fancy

Last updated

Ryan's Fancy
Ryansfancygroup.jpg
Ryan's Fancy: (L-R) Fergus O'Byrne, Dermot O'Reilly, Denis Ryan
Background information
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Folk
Years active19711983
Labels Audat
Website ryansfancy.com
Past members Fergus O'Byrne
Dermot O'Reilly
Denis Ryan>James Keane

Ryan’s Fancy was an Irish folk music group active from 19711983. The band consisted of multi-instrumentalists Denis Ryan, Fergus O'Byrne, and Dermot O'Reilly, all of whom were Irish immigrants to Canada.

Contents

History

1967–1970: Early years

Between the years of 1967–1969, O'Byrne, O'Reilly and Ryan emigrated to Toronto from Ireland in search of "better jobs". Not initially intent on working professionally as musicians once in Canada, their musical skills and experience, combined with their Irish heritage, provided them opportunities in the vibrant Canadian folk scene. [1] Originally playing only at house parties and gatherings as a means of earning extra money, they quickly found themselves immersed within the Irish folk music scene in Toronto. [2]

O'Byrne, O'Reilly and Ryan first played together as members of the Sons of Erin. The original Sons of Erin lineup featured O'Byrne and O'Reilly along with Gary Kavanagh, Mick Crowley, Ben Brooks and bandleader Ralph O'Brien. This lineup first toured Newfoundland in 1969, playing shows in St. John's, Gander, Grand Falls and Labrador over a period of six weeks. [3] Ryan joined the band following the first Newfoundland tour. [4]

O'Byrne, O'Reilly and Kavanaugh split from the Sons of Erin and continued touring as O'Reilly's Men. The band was short-lived and O'Reilly soon moved to Montreal. Following O'Reilly's departure, Kavanaugh and O'Byrne joined Don Sullivan and Vik Heaney to form Sullivan's Gypsies. Heaney soon left the group, while O'Reilly rejoined along with Ryan. [5] The band toured in Newfoundland again, as well as playing shows in Manhattan in 1970. [6]

1971: Formation of Ryan's Fancy

Following the disbanding of Sullivan's Gyspsies, O'Byrne, O'Reilly and Ryan formed their own band, Ryan's Fancy. The name was taken from a jig composed by Ryan during their time with Sullivan's Gypsies.

Ryan's Fancy played their first show at the Nag's Head pub in Toronto. For the next several months they played gigs in both Toronto and Halifax. In March 1971, the band made their first trip to Newfoundland, playing a show at the Hotel Newfoundland. [7]

1972–1983: Move to Newfoundland and Critical Success

The trio relocated to St. John's, Newfoundland in 1971 to attend Memorial University of Newfoundland. Making a splash in the local music scene, the group caught the interest of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Produced by Jack Kellum, a television series entitled Ryan's Fancy involved the trio traveling and playing across Atlantic Canada. A second series entitled Tommy Makem and Ryan's Fancy was also produced by CBC in the 1970s. Later, accordion virtuoso James Keane from Dublin became the band's fourth member. Shortly after Keane left the band in 1983, Ryan's Fancy split. [8] Keane moved to New York City, where he became part of the traditional scene there through the 1980s to the present day. [8]

1983–present: Disbanding and current status

When Ryan's Fancy disbanded, Ryan moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia [ citation needed ], while O'Byrne and O'Reilly remained in St. John's.

O'Byrne returned to Newfoundland's Memorial University. In 1988, he became a director of the St. John's Folk Arts Council and between 1990–1991, he chaired the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival. [9]

O'Reilly started a production company called Piperstock Productions in 1993, producing 25 albums. He remained active in music post-Ryan's Fancy, frequently performing live with O'Byrne at gigs in St. John's over the years. His last performance took place the night before he died. [10] He died of a heart attack on 17 February 2007, at age 64. [10]

In 2004, Ryan's Fancy were awarded the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award of the East Coast Music Association. [8]

Members

Discography

Related Research Articles

Music of Ireland Music created in various genres on the island of Ireland

Irish music is music that has been created in various genres on the island of Ireland.

Newfoundland and Labrador is an Atlantic Canadian province with a folk musical heritage based on the Irish, English and Cornish traditions that were brought to its shores centuries ago. Though similar in its Celtic influence to neighboring Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador music is more Irish than Scottish and has more elements imported from English and Cornish music than those provinces.

Celtic music in Canada

Celtic music is primarily associated with the folk traditions of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Wales, as well as the popular styles derived from folk culture. In addition, a number of other areas of the world are known for the use of Celtic musical styles and techniques, including Newfoundland, and much of the folk music of Canada's Maritimes, especially on Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island.

Tommy Makem Musical artist

Thomas Makem was an internationally celebrated Irish folk musician, artist, poet and storyteller. He was best known as a member of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. He played the long-necked 5-string banjo, tin whistle, low whistle, guitar, bodhrán and bagpipes, and sang in a distinctive baritone. He was sometimes known as "The Bard of Armagh" and "The Godfather of Irish Music".

Paddy Keenan Irish player of the uilleann pipes (born 1950)

Paddy Keenan is an Irish player of the uilleann pipes who first gained fame as a founding member of The Bothy Band. Since that group's dissolution in the late 1970s, Keenan has released a number of solo and collaborative recordings, and continues to tour both as a soloist, and with singer/guitarist Tommy O'Sullivan.

Patrick Moran (musician) Musical artist

Patrick Moran is a professional fiddler born in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, Canada.

Celtic fusion is an umbrella term for any modern music which incorporates influences considered "Celtic", or Celtic music which incorporates modern music. It is a syncretic musical tradition which borrows freely from the perceived "Celtic" musical traditions of all the Celtic nations, as well as from all styles of popular music, it is thus sometimes associated with the Pan-Celtic movement. Celtic fusion may or may not include authentic traditional music from any one tradition under the Celtic umbrella, but its common characteristic is the inspiration by Celtic identity.

Fergus OByrne Musical artist

Fergus O'Byrne is a Canadian folk musician, best known as a member of the popular Irish-Newfoundland band trio Ryan's Fancy, and as a banjo, concertina and bodhrán player.

Green Fields of America

The Green Fields of America is an ensemble which performs and promotes Irish traditional music in the United States.

Ugly stick Canadian folk percussion instrument

The ugly stick is a traditional Newfoundland musical instrument fashioned out of household and tool shed items, typically a mop handle with bottle caps, tin cans, small bells and other noise makers. The instrument is played with a drum stick or notched stick and has a distinctive sound.

Dermot OReilly Musical artist

Dermot Anthony O'Reilly was an Irish-born Canadian musician, producer and songwriter.

Irish Repertory Theatre

The Irish Repertory Theatre is an Off Broadway theatre founded in 1988.

Denis Ryan is an Irish-Canadian folk musician, best known as a member of the popular Irish-Newfoundland band trio Ryan's Fancy, and as a singer and tin whistle player.

Irish traditional music Genre of folk music that developed in Ireland

Irish traditional music is a genre of folk music that developed in Ireland.

James Keane is an Irish traditional musician and accordion player. The Italian Castagnari company issued and continues a line of signature instruments called keanebox in his honor.

Tommy Sands (Irish singer) Musical artist

Tommy Sands is a Northern Irish folk singer, songwriter, radio broadcaster, and political activist. He performs with his three siblings as The Sands Family; solo as Tommy Sands; and with his son and daughter as Tommy Sands with Moya and Fionán Sands. Tommy was the prime songwriter for The Sands Family, one of Ireland's most influential folk groups of the 1960s and '70s.

The Tulla Céilí Band is an Irish cèilidh band.

Ann “Ma” McNulty (1887–1970), was a Melodeon (accordion) playing vaudevillian. She was widowed in 1928 in the wake of the Great Depression and determined to support herself and her 2 minor children. She took to the stage with these children, who were Eileen McNulty (1915–1989), a songstress and dancer, and Peter McNulty (1917–1960), a singer, dancer, violinist, pianist and, eventually, a composer of music and lyrics. Known as “The McNulty Family’s Irish Showboat Revue”, the trio first appeared on stage around 1932-1933 and through Ma’s astute show business acumen they almost immediately achieved a success that lasted for decades along the U.S. East Coast entertainment circuit.

References

  1. Osborne, Evelyn (January 2013). The Most (Imagined) Irish Place in the World? The Interaction between Irish and Newfoundland Musicians, Electronic Mass Media, and the Construction of Musical Senses of Place (PDF). Memorial University of Newfoundland. p. 246. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  2. Osborne, Evelyn (January 2013). The Most (Imagined) Irish Place in the World? The Interaction between Irish and Newfoundland Musicians, Electronic Mass Media, and the Construction of Musical Senses of Place (PDF). Memorial University of Newfoundland. p. 247. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  3. Osborne, Evelyn (January 2013). The Most (Imagined) Irish Place in the World? The Interaction between Irish and Newfoundland Musicians, Electronic Mass Media, and the Construction of Musical Senses of Place (PDF). Memorial University of Newfoundland. p. 248. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  4. Osborne, Evelyn (January 2013). The Most (Imagined) Irish Place in the World? The Interaction between Irish and Newfoundland Musicians, Electronic Mass Media, and the Construction of Musical Senses of Place (PDF). Memorial University of Newfoundland. p. 249. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  5. Osborne, Evelyn (January 2013). The Most (Imagined) Irish Place in the World? The Interaction between Irish and Newfoundland Musicians, Electronic Mass Media, and the Construction of Musical Senses of Place (PDF). Memorial University of Newfoundland. p. 250. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  6. Osborne, Evelyn (January 2013). The Most (Imagined) Irish Place in the World? The Interaction between Irish and Newfoundland Musicians, Electronic Mass Media, and the Construction of Musical Senses of Place (PDF). Memorial University of Newfoundland. p. 251. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  7. Osborne, Evelyn (January 2013). The Most (Imagined) Irish Place in the World? The Interaction between Irish and Newfoundland Musicians, Electronic Mass Media, and the Construction of Musical Senses of Place (PDF). Memorial University of Newfoundland. p. 252. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  8. 1 2 3 Whelan, Janna. "Ryan's Fancy". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  9. Pitt (1 January 1981). Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador (vol. 4). p. 144.
  10. 1 2 "Ryan's Ryan's Fancy singer dies in St. John's Singer Dies in St. John's". CBC. Retrieved 27 June 2020.