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date: 10 August 2020

Coleman, Michael locked

  • Tes Slominski


(b Knockgrania, Co. Sligo, Ireland, Jan 31, 1891; d New York, NY, Jan 4, 1946). American Traditional Irish music fiddler and stepdancer. The most influential Irish fiddler of the 20th century, he first learned tunes and techniques informally from Philip O’Beirne, John O’Dowd, Richard Brennan, and other local musicians, as well as from family members. He was also an accomplished stepdancer who could fiddle and dance simultaneously. Coleman competed in several nationalist festivals, including the Sligo Feis Ceoil and the 1913 Oireachtas, where he encountered musicians from around Ireland, including Bridget Kenny, the so-called Queen of Irish Fiddlers. Soon thereafter, Coleman traded local respect for international fame: he moved to New York in 1914, and after a brief stint in vaudeville on the Keith theater circuit, he embarked on a broadcasting and recording career that produced 80 commercial 78 rpm sides. He married Marie Fanning in 1917, and their one child, Mary, was born in ...

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