I was saddened to hear a couple of days ago of the death of one of the great stalwarts of Irish music in Australia, Billy Moran.

Billy Moran

A fine accordion player, I shared a number of great sessions with him over the years at the National Folk Festival and other places. I was privileged to share a stage with him at the 2005 National in Canberra. And at the sessions if you sat too long without playing, he would raise an eyebrow and suggest you start the next tune. Of course he would know it – I doubt there are many tunes he didn’t know.

Billy Moran

Billy was a rough diamond who played music since he was a lad. According to IrishAustralia.com he spent some time working in the Midlands of England, and his accent was a mix of Irish and north country. Migrating to Austrlia in 1950, he worked on the Snowy Mountain scheme and at Maralinga – site of the British nuclear weapon tests. He finally settled in Melbourne and he haunted the sessions. He certainly had stamina. At the National Folk festival several times he would start a session mid afternoon, and if you were around at two or three in the morning, you could still hear his accordion playing.

Billy Moran

Billy, we will miss you.

Jerry

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