Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

They say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day; at the very least, I hope everyone gets to hear a little Irish music today. If you aren’t headed to one of the Irish-themed events on our calendar or in your area, here are a few Irish accordionists who can provide the soundtrack to your day:

  • Joe Burke
    Hailing from East Galway, Burke sparked a revival of interest in Irish accordion music in the early 1960s. Influenced by early players like Paddy O’Brien and Joe Cooley, Burke’s masterful playing, live performances, and charm have established him as a living legend of Irish music.
    Joe Burke: The Morning Mist mp3
  • Sharon Shannon
    Sharon is a traditional musician in the loosest sense of the word; her influences are all ‘traditional’ but from various parts of the globe. Incorporating Portuguese, French Canadian, and Scottish influences, her 1991 debut album is the best-selling traditional Irish music album ever.
    Sharon Shannon: Blackbird mp3
  • Joe Derrane
    Born in Boston to Irish immigrant parents, Joe Derrane recorded a series of 78rpm records in the late 1940s that stunned the Irish music world with their unique styling, power, and flawless technique. After a 40-year hiatus from the button box, Derrane is again wowing audiences and received an NEA National Heritage Fellow award in 2004.


  1. Good choice. But I would include Joe Cooley. Primitive music on the accordion!

  2. Absolutely, Ronan. Obviously ours isn’t an all-encompassing list, but for those who want to learn more about Joe Cooley, check out these links:

    Biography from RamblingHouse:

    1973 video from YouTube: