Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Mid-Atlantic Region

Dan Collins RIP by midatlanticcce
May 18, 2013, 12:09 pm
Filed under: General Announcement, New York

Dan Collins RIP

Daniel Michael Collins (1937-2013)

Born in Harlem to immigrant parents – William Collins from Meelin, County Cork and Bridget (nee Donohue) from Mountcollins, County Limerick – Dan Collins inherited a love of Irish music and dance that remained with him all his life.  Along with his sister Kathleen and brothers David and William, Dan studied music with Mayo-born fiddler/button accordionist John McGrath and dancing with Kerryman James T. “The Professor” McKenna, becoming highly accomplished both as a fiddler and a step dancer.

Later in life, Dan did as much as anyone in modern times to preserve and popularize the traditional music of Ireland. His first venture in music publishing came in 1961, when he performed a huge service to Irish traditional musicians worldwide by re-issuing Francis O’Neill’s famous 1903 tune collection Music of Ireland: Eighteen Hundred and Fifty Melodies in an affordable, paperback edition.

In 1973, with partner Richard Nevins, Dan founded Shanachie Records (now Shanachie Entertainment) and launched a historic series of traditional music recordings. These included LP resissues of classic New York-made 78 rpm discs by County Sligo fiddle greats Michael Coleman, James Morrison and Paddy Killoran as well as new recordings from many leading contemporary Irish musicians, notably including Dan’s fiddling sister Kathleen, east Galway flute player Paddy Carty, New York fiddlers Paddy Reynolds and Andy McGann, and the Irish supergroup De Danann.  Building on this foundation, Shanachie would go on to release a wide-ranging catalog of world music audio and video recordings.

For younger Irish traditional musicians in New York, Dan was an accessible living link to the Golden Age of immigrant music making in New York. He was a sought-after source of rare tunes and tune settings, as well a free-flowing font of knowledge about the musicians and dancers of the old days. He didn’t just talk the talk – he was an excellent fiddler in his own right who played with many of the greats of Irish music, most notably his sister Kathleen, who included several duets with Dan on her 2009 Shanachie disc My Book of Songs.

Dan is survived by his wife Mary Foley Collins, children Margaret, Bridget, Noreen and William , as well as grandchildren Michael Collins Litke, Patrick Collins Litke and Daniel Michael Collins.


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