Larry Hamilton and Jimmy Kelly: Two Irish Songs from Shannon, Quebec

Last November, the communities of Valcartier and Shannon north of Quebec City welcomed this project to their area with an impromptu afternoon of music featuring a host of local musicians, set dancers, and listeners. I was lucky enough to capture some of the music on video. In honour of St. Patrick’s Day festivities this coming weekend, and with the people in Shannon getting into high gear to bring you their traditional Shannon Irish Show (now in its fifth decade), I wanted to share with you two Irish songs I recorded as part of this project’s archival collection.

First, we have Larry Hamilton, a strong-voiced singer from Shannon who grew up hearing his uncles Tim and Elmer singing many of the songs he still sings today. Here is Larry singing the old Irish comic song and tongue-twister, “Clancy’s Wooden Wedding.”

Larry Hamilton sings “Clancy’s Wooden Wedding” on November 15, 2019 in Valcartier, QC

Next up, we have a song from Jimmy Kelly, a fine singer and fiddler whose music was featured on the 2010 Prix Mnémo award-winning album, Ireland in Quebec/L’Irlande au Québec, with Valcartier’s late accordionist Keith Corrigan. Jimmy has a vast repertoire of unaccompanied ballads from Quebec and New England lumber camps as well as an almost inexhaustible collection of Irish comic songs – usually of the slightly more risqué variety. After some cajoling Jimmy told us, through a song, why “The Women are Better than Men.”

Jimmy Kelly sings “Women are Better than Men” in Valcartier, QC on November 15, 2019.

I’m greatly looking forward to sharing more of Larry and Jimmy’s music in the months to come. The Shannon Irish show will take place at the Shannon Community Centre, 75 Gosford Road, on Saturday, March 14, 2020. For information on tickets and the schedule, see here.

Jimmy Kelly. November 15, 2019. Photograph by Glenn Patterson
Larry Hamilton. November 15, 2019. Photograph by Glenn Patterson

Published by Glenn Patterson

I'm a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. I'm currently back in Montreal doing research for the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network and their 2019-2020 project "A Different Tune: Musical Heritage in English-Speaking Quebec"

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