Wisconsin Public Radio

Milwaukee’s Tallymore Plays Irish Fest

Local group formed in 2012 featured at one of the world’s biggest Irish music festivals.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Aug 16th, 2019 02:51 pm
Irish music group Tallymoore. Photo from Tallymoore.

Irish music group Tallymoore. Photo from Tallymoore.

The Milwaukee Irish Fest starts Thursday on the Summerfest grounds in downtown Milwaukee, with Celtic music groups from all over the world on multiple stages. One of the featured bands is Tallymoore, a mostly-Milwaukee group that started playing Irish music back in 2012.

Wisconsin Public Radio’s Melissa Ingells talked to two members of the band — David Kennedy, a guitarist and vocalist for the group, and Sean Ward, who plays mandolin and sings. Other band members are violinist Patrick Wade and vocalist Pete Ford.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Melissa Ingells: Irish music started out as homemade music, back in the days of playing in people’s kitchens. Then it got to the album era, and now it’s into the realm of streaming. Where does it go from here? What’s the future of Irish music?

David Kennedy: To me, the future of Irish music is really bright. It’s very vibrant. That’s because it’s not only accessible through streaming, but through live festivals. If you look across the lineup of our own Milwaukee Irish Festival, it’s international, it’s the heavyweights of the festival scene descending on Milwaukee. And it’s the ability to see that music live that I think is going to really sustain it.

Sean Ward: One of the things that this band does is, we like to look in our past and make sure we still have a vision of what brought the music to our doorstep. And one of the perfect examples is Tommy Makem. He was a torch-bearer for Irish music. He came over in the ’60s and played with the Clancy Brothers, played on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” And Irish music wouldn’t be where it is today without him, and so we like to keep that in mind. A lot of that music did start at farm parties in Ireland, and now it’s crazy to see how vast the market is for it now, especially in America.

MI: What do you think it is about Irish music, Celtic music, that, even if a person is not from that background, that makes it so universally appealing to people?

SW: All the songs that we sing, if you take two seconds to listen to them, you can already know the chorus and sing along. There’s awesome songwriters in Ireland to this day, and forever there have been.

DK: Folks will be listening to songs that they likely are not going to know, and the melody is infectious. It just sounds very organic and the rhythm is very compelling. Those are the qualities of the music that just draw people in.

Listen to the interview here.

Milwaukee’s Tallymore Plays Milwaukee Irish Fest was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

One thought on “Music: Milwaukee’s Tallymore Plays Irish Fest”

  1. Thomas Gaudynski says:

    Heard them yesterday at Irish Fest. My daughter used to play them from her phone when we would drive her back to Iowa when she was in school at Cornell College. A friend of hers was among the original line-up. When they get to singing Caledonia, like yesterday, I can not get out of my head the lyric, “Lost the friends that I needed losing, found others on the way.”

    Intuitively, I’ve followed that sentiment since I figured it out for myself as a young person.

    Now, if they would write some new music, and add a horn section, and some Bluegrass, they might be as popular as the standing-room only (we were in the VIP standing room-only section!) as We Banjo 3.

    Irish Music-on!

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us