Virtual Music Trail

Micho Russell

Doolin. County Clare
Whistle, Flute, Song

Michael ‘Micho’ Russell was born in 1915 at Doonagore, Doolin, Co. Clare, overlooking the Aran Islands. The area around Doolin had a rich musical heritage with the Irish language still in everyday use. There was music at home too, with Micho’s mother Annie playing the concertina. House dances were common throughout the countryside when Micho was growing up and at the age of eleven he started to play music himself when he took up the tin whistle learning many of his tunes from Patrick Flanagan, a local concertina player. Micho left school at 14 to work on the family farm and along with his brothers Pakie and Gussie, started playing at local gatherings.

After the decline of the house dances, Micho and his brothers found a base for themselves in O'Connor's of Doolin, as well as playing in McGann's and McDermott's. Then, renouned broadcaster and accordian player Tony MacMahon invited Micho to Dublin to play at the famous Slattery's Listening Club where he made an immediate impact and this was followed by appearances on national radio and television.

With the folk music revival of the 1960's his popularity rose in the US, UK and continental Europe, especially Holland and Germany. He made numerous visits to continental Europe and 5 visits to the U.S. over the years. Many who heard Micho’s performances on those tours then travelled to Doolin which was to become a mecca for traditional music fans from around the world through the 1970’s. All wanted to see Micho perform in his own unique style, fashioned on the concertina playing he heard in his youth and to hear him share with them his great gift of storytelling.

Micho won the All-Ireland title for tin whistle in 1973 and made numerous solo recordings. He made several tours to the U.S.A in the early 1990's where some of his last recordings were made. He died in a car crash in 1994 just a few weeks shy of his 79th birthday. Micho was a true legend in his own lifetime, was much loved and is still sorely missed in his native Doolin.
Fermoy Lasses Drowsey Maggie - REELS - Micho Russell
Micho Russell
Micho Russell