Some twenty-five years or so ago, I started playing Celtic music. I had the enthusiasm, if not the talent, but happily there were experienced traditional musicians in town who were willing to help along a young aspiring player such as myself. One of those players was a harmonic player named Don Kavanagh whom I met through the late Joe McFadden, both of them members of a group called The Celts.
Joe had a pub called The Celt's Room, above the old Lido Restaurant on Queen Street, and it's there, and at house parties, sessions and the like, that I learned many fine songs from Joe, and many great tunes from Don. Joe had three house bands for the club, his own Celts, a group of Irishmen (and one German) Diddly Dory, and my own band Wickentree. In a time when the only gigs one could get were playing in bars to drunks, the Celt's Room was a wonderful haven where people who loved traditional music came and actually listened. One of the three bands might be booked for any particular night, but members of the others were usually there and many impromptu sessions ensued, both on stage and after hours, sitting around the tables. Don was invariably "in the house."
All these years later, Don and I still meet up at sessions. I can listen to his harmonica playing all night—not to mention his gift for whistling slow airs.
For years I, and pretty much everybody who has ever heard Don play, has been after him to make a CD and finally he's done just that in 1998. Don, of course, being the generous soul he is, wanted as many of his friends as he could get together to play on the album, and MaryAnn and I were delighted to accompany him on one of the sets of tunes included on A Dubliner & His Harmonica.
This is a treasure of an album, and while I can only approach it with a highly subjective ear, I'm sure it's one any lover of traditional music would enjoy. To order a copy, contact Don and tell him who sent you.
61 Elizabeth Street
Canada J9H 1E8