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Micho Russell – a bibliography and discography

Micho Russell - whistler, fluter, singer and entertainer - lived his entire life in Doolin, County Clare. His influences, however, were wide-spread. There is a good reason that one of his recordings (and accompanying video) is entitled “Ireland’s Whistling Ambassador”. His skills and warmth as a performer helped spread Irish traditional music across his own country, Europe, North America and the rest of the world.

Each year, in February, Doolin hosts the Russell Memorial Weekend in his honor. The 2015 festival marked the centennial of Micho Russell’s birth. As part of the celebration a 49-track recording (see Rarities & Old Favorites 1949–1993 in the Commercially Available Recordings section below) was released offering tunes and songs from a wide span of time. To further this recognition, we decided to try to develop the following bibliography and discography related to Micho Russell, his music, and the community that helped shape him.

This annotated bibliography and discography is an attempt to include commercially available materials (including those from public libraries and the internet), bringing them together in one place for the convenience of those interested in furthering their knowledge of Micho Russell, the man and his music. We deliberately avoided including private holdings because, well, they are private.
We hold no pretense that this listing is entire and complete and hope that others will help us add to it. If you have additional material (or corrections, clarifications, or necessary changes), please contact Steve Bliven at

Special thanks to Peter Laban and Bernard Keilty for their assistance in this project and to Clare County Library for hosting the results.

Steve Bliven
24 April 2015

Books & Printed Materials:

Specific to Micho Russell:


• “The Man and His Music - Micho Russell”, 1970, Breandan Breathnach, Ceol: A Journal of Irish Music, V. 3, N. 4, pp 98–102.

Doolin’s Micho Russell: A portrait of the Whistle from Clare, his brothers Pakie and Gussio and their village, 1990 Dennis C. Winter, 43 p.

Over Hills and Mountains and to Amerikay - Ramblin' with Micho Russell by Dennis C Winter

The Well of Spring Water, Michael Coady, self-published, 1996; Relay Books, 1999.
A personal memoir of the author’s longstanding friends, the Clare musicians Pakie and Micho Russell. Review at

• “Out of the Heavens in Showers: Interviews with Micho Russell”, John Doorty, in Departures Vol. 5 (1993), New Series: Departures Vol. 1 (1996), New Series: Departures Vol. 2 (1997).

Out of the Heavens in Showers [play], John Doorty.
Based on the interviews in Departures, John Doorty wrote this play. Originally performed by Doorty himself with musicians Tommy McCarthy (concertina, whistle), Marion McCarthy (whistle) and Michael Hynes, flute and whistle and four dancers (Mary Clancy, Paddy Neylon, Aidan Vaughan and Deirdre Comber). Following its premiere in Kilshanny (Co. Clare, Ireland) in 1998, it was performed in other locations around Clare and in Ireland. There were some US performances including at the Milwaukee Irish Fest.

Blooming Meadows: The World of Irish Traditional Musicians, Fintan Vallely & Charlie Piggott, 1998. Town House and Country House, Ranelagh, Dublin.
Charlie Piggott provides a brief (6 page) article on Micho Russell and his music.

• “Seanchas: Micho Russell and ‘The Piper’s Chair’”, 2008. Martin Breen. In An Piobaire, V.4 #46 (July 2008), pp. 22–25. Available on the web at
A description of “The Piper’s Chair” south from Doolin with stories and a tune from Micho Russell.


Ireland's Whistling Ambassador, Micho Russell. 1993. Producer: Bill Ochs. Pennywhistler's Press N.Y. In VHS format, see

Tune Books and Resources:

Micho’s Dozen: Traditional Songs from the Repertoire of Micho Russell, Doolin, Co. Clare. 1991, published by the Ennistymon Festival of Traditional Singing. Available through the Clare County Library at

The Piper’s Chair; a collection of tunes, songs and folklore from Micho Russell, Original publication, 1980. Reproduced in 1989, Ossian Publications LTD, P.O. Box 84, Cork, Ireland. Compiled by Micho Russell.
Contains 22 tunes and “bits and scrips of folklore to go with them.” This merely shows the tunes, it doesn’t provide details of how Micho Russell played them.

The Piper’s Chair No. 2; a collection of tunes, songs and folklore from Micho Russell, 1986, self-published by Micho Russell.
Includes an Introduction by Dennis C. Winter, 17 tunes, and lyrics to 11 songs from the repertoire of Micho Russell along with bits of background on each tune and song. This isn’t an instructional book, it merely provides the notes to the tunes.

The Road to Aran: Songs, Folklore and Music of the West of Ireland, 1988. Micho Russell

Music and Folklore of Doonagore, 1992, Micho Russell

Publications related to Micho Russell context (music in Doolin, etc.)

Turning the Tune: Traditional Music, Tourism, and Social Change in an Irish Village, Adam Kaul, Berghahn Books, 2009, 2012.
An “anthropological study” of Doolin, County Clare, Ireland investigating the relationship between the traditional music there (including the Russell brothers) and the changes in local tourist-based economy and development in the area.

Internet Resources:

• British Library sound recordings,
Eighteen songs and tunes from the Terry Yarnell English and Irish Folk Music Collection. Recorded ca. 1973at the West London Folk Club, London, England, UK. To access go to and search on “Miko Russell”.

• Brother Steve’s Whistle Pages
Seven tunes on whistle provided by Peter Laban. Recordings and transcriptions of the tunes are available.

• The Russell Memorial Festival
The site provides information on the annual Russell Memorial Festival held in Doolin, Co. Clare on the last week in February. There are biographies of the Russell Brothers and photos from the festival and the area.

• Micho Russell’s Obituary from The Independent, 05 March 1994:

• Material in the Clare County Library
This includes a brief biography of the Russell brothers with links to recordings of songs, tunes, and stories.

• YouTube
There are numerous videos of Micho Russell singing, playing and discussing his life and music available on YouTube. Be sure to search on alternate spellings of Micho/Micko/Miko Russell for completeness.

Commercially Available Recordings:

Specific to Micho Russell:

The Russell Family of Doolin, County Clare, 1975 (Topic Records), 1993 (Green Linnet Records), 2009 (Free Reed Records as The Russell Family).
Recorded in O’Connor’s Pub, Doolin, Co. Clare in January 1974. Includes Micho, Gussie, and Pakie Russell on 19 tracks; 26 tracks on the Free Reed re-release.

Traditional Irish Music From County Clare, 1976, Free Reed Music [FCLAR 01]
Nineteen tracks originally recorded in 1975 for a vinyl recording. Re-mastered and released as a CD as part of the Free Reed Revival re: Masters series. Track list available from Irish Traditional Music Archive search on “Micho Russell”

Micho Russell, 1982, Triskell: TRL 1009
Twenty-seven tunes and songs originally issued as an audio cassette. Track list available from Irish Traditional Music Archive search on “Micho Russell” Apparently out of print at present.

Under the Cliffs of Moher, 1990, Limerick, Xeric records: XER 05
Fourteen tunes with introductory remarks. Originally issued as an audio cassette. Track list available from Irish Traditional Music Archive search on “Micho Russell”. Apparently out of print at present.

The Man From Clare, 1993, Trad Ireland [Trd CD 011]
Eighteen tracks of Micho singing, whistling and fluting on four of which he is joined by Eugene Lambe. Some spoken word. Two solo tracks by Eugene Lambe. Track list available from Irish Traditional Music Archive search on “Micho Russell”

In Our Own Dear Land, 1993, Trad Ireland.
Eleven tracks of Micho’s playing. Further details at

The Limestone Rock, 1993, Trad Ireland [TRAD CD 104].
Sisteen tracks of Micho singing, whistling and fluting. Track list available from Irish Traditional Music Archive search on “Micho Russell”

Wind That Shakes The Barley, 1993, Trad Ireland.
Eleven tracks of Micho whistling and fluting, Additional information at

Ireland's Whistling Ambassador, 1995, Pennywhistler’s Press.
Twenty-two tracks, recorded by Edward Haber and Bill Ochs at various locations between 1990–1993. Includes a 28-page booklet. Review available at

The Rising Sun, 2001. Folktrax, [SA] [FTX 155]
This appears to contain identical tracks to Ireland’s Whistling Ambassador listed above. Additional information at

Rarities & Old Favorites 1949–1993, 2015, Pennywhistler’s Press
Compiled by Bill Ochs and released in 2015, this CD includes 49 tracks of Micho Russell whistling, fluting, lilting and singing. As the title implies, the tracks are taken from the 44-year span of 1949–1993. Many of the tracks were “field recordings” and include sounds of dancing, pub conversations, etc.- this is not a studio recording.

Compilation Recordings which include tracks by Micho Russell:

Come let us buy the license: songs of courtship and marriage, Various Artists, 1998, Topic records, Voice of the People V. 1, Track 22. Micho Russell, Nora Daly [song]

My ship shall sail the ocean: Songs of Tempest & Sea Battles, Sailor Lads & Fishermen, 1998, Topic records, Voice of the People V. 2, Track 15, Micho Russell, The Poor Little Fisherboy [song]

Irish Folk Festival - Live 1974, Vol. 2, Various artists [S.L.] :Bell records, 2009
Includes Micko [sic] Russell, The Names I've Forgotten

The 2nd Irish Folk Festival : live 1975 , Various artists, [S.L.] :Bell records, 2009
Disc 1 includes: Micko Russell "Paddy's green shamrock shore / I remember your love and my prayers (Airs)" (Track 14), "Lilting" (Track 15), and "The college grove (Reel)" (Track 16).
Disc 02 includes Ted Furey and Micko Russell, "The Donnybrook Jig" (Track 1), "Bonny Kate" (Track 2) and "The Caledonian Hunt" (Track 3).

The 4th Irish Folk Festival : On The Road, Various Artists, © 1978 Intercord; Double LP] - © 1993 Wundertute Music TUT 72.7477.1-2
Disc 1 includes Micho Russell (Concert Flute, Tin Whistle, Vocal) “The Red Dog [Madra Rua]” (Track 1), “The Battle Of Aughrim / Saint Ruth's Bush” (Track 2) and “Boys O Boys” [song] Track 3).
Disc 2 includes Micho Russell (Tin Whistle, Vocal) “Lilting” (Track 1) and “The Green Groves Of Erin / I Will Leave [=Ivy Leaf]” (Track 2)

The Best of the Irish Folk Festival: The Seventies, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2) [1974-1978] / Various Artists Club Edition / Wundertüte, 1988 [2CD]
Wundertüte ?– TÜT 72.7478, Xenophon ?– TÜT 72.7478 Includes Micho Russell, The Red Dog.

Clare Tradition, Various Artists, 1993 Galway: GTD Heritage records, 1993 [GTDH 082]
Track 10; Micho Russell, “Katie Moloney's/The Lisdoonvarna Polka”

Celtic Dawn, Various Artists, 1993, Galway: GTD [Cassette Tape].
Side 2 Micho Russell (tin whistle), “Barney Brannigan” (Track 4)

Irlande – Ireland, Various Artists, 1997 New York : Smithsonian Folkways / Unesco, 1997 [UNES08271], Track 12 “ Micho Russell's jig”/”The Banshee”. See

The Otherworld : Music & Song from the Irish Tradition, 2012, [edited by Rionach uí Ógáin & Tom Sherlock]. Dublin : Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éirreann- ISBN 978-0-9565628-3-8. Book and two accompanying CDs including Disc 2/14 “Ceann Boirne” [“Black Head”], Micho Russell, story and lilting [tune: “The Cliffs of Moher”]

Totally Traditional Tin Whistles, Various Artists.1991, Ossian Ppublications, [OSS CD 53]. Track 2, Miko and Gussie Russell “The Walls of Liscarroll/The Battering Ram”, Track 8 Miko Russell “The Fair-haired Boy/The Black-haired Lass” These tracks were taken from The Russell Family (of Doolin) listed above.

Ceol agus Foinn - Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy (Music and Songs from the Willie Clancy Summer School), [[Date?]] RTE Raidio [RTE280CD]
A 2-CD set of music from the famed school. CD1, Track 8 is Micko [sic] Russell singing “Ta Bó agam ar an tSliabh” in 1990. CD2, Track 16 is Micko Russell on Tin Whistle playing the reel “Bean an Tinceara” in 1991. For more information see

Ireland, 1997, UNESCO,
One track of Micho Russell playing “Micho Russell’s Jig/The Banshee”. More information and download available from Smithsonian Folkways web site at


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