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RIP Barney McKenna
We've just received word the Dubliner has passed away.
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 05 Apr 2012
The very sad breaking news is that the legendary Barney McKenna has died aged 72.
The Donneycarney banjo, mandolin and melodeon man spent a few months with The Chieftains before in 1962 becoming one of the founder members of The Dubliners with whom he’s remained ever since, and enjoyed enormous worldwide success.
It seems extra poignant that this larger than life character should pass away as the group are in the thick of their 50th anniversary celebrations.
Hot Press editor Niall Stokes reflected on Barney's eventful life.
"Barney was an amazing man and a great banjo player," Stokes said. "He was an essential part of The Duliners since the early days and survived all sorts of personnel changes in the interim. The group's contribution was extraordinary. But while singers came and went – and towering vocalists like Luke Kelly and Ronnie Drew passed away – he was a fixture. Mercurial and enigmatic are two words that fit the legend of Barney – but ultimately he was a great musician, dedicated to his craft and to the minstrel's life, as well as to his love of the sea.
"We did a fantastic interview with him many years ago in Hot Press – and I am truly glad that we did. We need to find ways of remembering the pioneers, the maverick's and the raconteurs – of which he was indisputably one. To have got a memorable portrait of Barney down for posterity is something everyone at Hot Press will treasure. He will be greatly missed."
The official statement from his band:
"It is with great sadness that The Dubliners announce the sudden passing of Barney McKenna this morning at his home in Howth, Co. Dublin.
The band, his family and friends would like to thank everyone for their kindness and support. Words cannot describe how we all feel.
He was one in a million.
The greatest tenor banjo player of his generation, Barney spent his life travelling the world playing Irish music.
He loved it. The world loved him.
May he rest in peace.
Funeral arrangements to follow in due course."