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Biography

  • Born

    1944

  • Died

    16 November 2018 (aged 74)

Alec Finn (1944 - November 16, 2018) was an English-born, traditional musician from Galway, Ireland, who is famous for his unique style of accompaniment on the bouzouki. He is best known for co-founding De Danann (De Dannan) with Frankie Gavin, Ringo MacDonagh and Charlie Piggott after a series of music sessions at Tigh Hughes, An Spidéal, Co. Galway in 1975.

Finn took up the bouzouki in the 1970s. In contrast to most Irish players, he played a round-backed Greek bouzouki, one of the older-style trichordo three course (six string) instruments tuned DAD. The Greek tuning gave him a versatile modal rhythmic background on which to create counterpoint to the melody. In the late 1970s and early 80s, he accompanied several prominent Irish instrumentalists including Frankie Gavin, Mary Bergin and Noel Hill. He performed with De Dannan up to its dissolution in 2003.

After the dissolution of the group, Finn copyrighted the name De Danann. Ironically, a dispute arose in 2009 with his former colleague Frankie Gavin in July 2009 for using the name De Dannan for the Frankie Gavin Quartet, a group which had been in existence parallel to De Dannan since 1991.

Finn, along with fellow original De Danann member Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh, had recently reformed De Danann with banjoist/keyboardist Brian McGrath, accordionist Derek Hickey, fiddler Mick Conneely, and singer Eleanor Shanley.

Alec Finn was the older brother of the author Gervase Phinn. He changed the spelling of his surname from Phinn to Finn upon moving to Ireland from his childhood home in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

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