When it comes to Irish tenor banjo, it is hard to define exactly what type of banjo that is. Yes, it is a four string tenor banjo. But is it a 17-fret or a 19-fret? Does it have a resonator or is it open back? How is it tuned - standard tenor tuning C, G, D, A or Irish tuning G, D, A, E? After spending years playing and talking to Irish tenor banjo players, going to Irish sessions, even traveling to Ireland to watch and listen, I have determined that there is no exact standard although there are some generalizations.
Kieran Hanrahan is an Irish radio host and high profile musician, born in Ennis, Co. Clare. He began playing traditional Irish music on the tenor banjo at the age of fourteen, and had won the All-Ireland banjo championship by the time he was eighteen. Over the years, Kieran has helped found a number of traditional bands, including Inchiquin, Stockton's Wing, and the Templehouse Ceili Band. Kieran has hosted radio programs for the Irish national broadcaster RTÉ since 1991. Currently he hosts Céilí House, the anchor radio program on traditional Irish music aired weekly in Ireland on RTÉ Radio1.
We lost another banjo icon this week. Barney McKenna, the last surviving original member of the Irish band the Dubliners passed away unexpectedly in his home.