John Rea

John Rea Information From

John Rea (musician) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Folk Music Performer Index - R to Rec

Glenarm Castle Concert

Out of Obscurity Discovering the Dulcimer in Ireland See page 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

New ‘Causeway Dulcimer Festival’ for Co. Antrim, N Ireland – 2005 : Cimbalom World Association – CWA

FolkWorld Article T-)M's Night Shift - Books

Concerning recent years, we should mention John Rea (1922-83) of Carnalbanagh in the Glens of Antrim. Rea's father taught all his six sons the fiddle, but in absence of an instrument for the youngest, he made him a dulcimer. John recorded with uilleann piper Sean McAloon in the 1970's. The Boys of the Lough's 1977 album "Good Friends, Good Music" featured Scottish dulcimer player Jimmy Cooper.

The initial purpose of this trip to Ireland was to participate in the Cork Dulcimer Festival

Nat Magee was a cousin of John Rea of Glenarm, Co. Antrim, one of only two older Irish dulcimer players of note during the last century. (The other was Andy Dowling, from Clonmeen, Errill, Co. Laois.) Nat’s dulcimer is an exact copy of John Rea’s and does not have a sound hole in it. Just like John Rea, he elevates it with a small wooden box; if laid flat on the table, all of the sound is dampened and the instrument is very quiet. Nat spent most of his time talking about his relationship with John Rea and how they became interested in the dulcimer and learned to play them; he played only a few relatively simple tunes. Nat’s beaters, as he called them, were made from old bicycle spokes; he said that John Rea’s beaters were made from the wire of an old bird cage. (In contrast, when I visited Andy Dowling in 1989, his hammers were made from the aluminum rods of an old television antenna.) Nat made several strong comments on how the music and the dance had no politics. He said that he was a Presbyterian but many times that he had played with Catholics and there never any problems.

Hammered Dulcimer in Antrim

John worked on the tug-boat in Belfast Lough and lived on board a lot of the time, which I suppose gave him plenty of time to practice. Today people play the dulcimer with little wooden hammers but John Rea used hammers made of thick steel wire, wound with wool, which were his own idea.

See Albums: Drops of Brandy