The Arts Council has expressed its regret at the death of musician and Aosdána member Tommy Peoples.
Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Arts Council said, “Tommy Peoples was a hugely popular and remarkable fiddle player and singer. His individual creativity and artistic output has had an enormous influence among traditional artists. Peoples was a prolific composer and he also championed individual interpretation of tunes. He encouraged his students to trust their ears to find the innate mood or emotion of a tune, while having the confidence to find their own unique interpretative voice."
Peoples has left a huge legacy for those who come after. In 2015 he published his book Ó Am go hAm – From Time to Time – Tutor, Text and Tunes, which includes 130 original tunes as well as careful instruction on bowing, fingering and phrasing. Peoples’ work has also entered the tradition through the playing of others. His compositions are part of the repertoire of other established artists and many of his works, such as The Greenfields of Glentown are now popular session tunes.
Peoples worked tirelessly from his teenage years. He was confident in his own creativity while honouring the musical excellence of the traditional genre and he inspired others to do the same.
This was more than evident in the special tribute organised for Tommy Peoples during Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2018 where many of his artistic collaborators, friends and one-time students performed to honour and thank him.
Despite ill health in his latter years, Peoples continued to write, record and compose. When he was no longer able to perform in public he said composition kept him ‘in touch with and contributing to the traditional music that I have contributed to and loved for a lifetime’.
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