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Hugh "Booy" Finn

Hugh Finn Jack Deacon ● jackdeacon.net Hugh Finn

Hugh hails from a small town in the midlands of Ireland, Rathdowney, in the County of Laois. His family has long been soaked in traditional Irish music and folk, and he loves these roots and is very proud of them. The annual Finn family holiday was to the traditional Irish music festival of 'The Willie Clancy Festival' in Miltown Malbay and Spanish Point in the West coast of Clare. This is where his love for music started to bud. He began playing tin whistle, then received a fiddle for his eight birthday, continuing to play that till the age of 18. He still feels sorry for his fiddle to this day, as the banjo from then on completely took over his musical life. A banjo lay in tatters in the attic of his home throughout his childhood, and often he used to get it out and look and wonder how it plays or sounds. He could only ever wonder, as there was never any strings on it.

Eventually as he grew older he began to voice his desire to change from fiddle to the banjo, he had asked his parents could he get it fixed and the rest is history. It was a 1960s John Grey tenor banjo and it stood with him for the first years of his banjo life. He had eventually outplayed this old instrument to what it had to give, so he then bought his second, an Epiphone Mayfair 1930s tenor banjo. This banjo was the one he first started gigging with at many sessions and small gigs around the country. However, the instrument he has today and treasures, is an Irish built banjo by Dave Boyle, a legend luthier from Celbridge in Kildare. Also, along the way, he had gathered a few other banjos including two prewar Vega 'Little Wonder's. As the banjo did rule king, he also had some time to play most other four string instruments, like the tenor guitar, which is prominent on the new Na Fianna album 'Unearthed', mandolin, bouzouki, (both made by luthier Dave Shapiro), and then other instruments like the didgeridoo that took to his liking. His career in music really took off when he had lost his job due to the recession in Ireland, and this in turn had encouraged him to make his living playing banjo up in the Dublin Irish music scene and eventually finding his musical comfort with Na Fianna.

Banjo playing has always been core to his music and forever will be, but he then started to put pen to paper and started to delve in to the songwriting part of music. His manager Darren, of his current band 'Na Fianna' and previous band, 'Púca' had always said, in passing, that songwriting is a fantastic skill to try and very satisfactory. Hugh had taken that advise on board and wrote songs and once the first one was written and performed, the other ideas for songs all came flowing out. Hugh now has two songs on the current Na Fianna album 'Unearthed', which are Green Umbrella and Earth Song, and has co-written two others, with Don Mescal and the the other band members, Toora Loora Lay and Let Me Take You There.

His love for folk music and traditional Irish music has overcome all other rock bands he had listened to in the past. Bands he grew up with were Incubus, and Tool, but his main influences to his musical career are the likes of Gerry O'Connor, Cathal Hayden, Crooked Still, Dick Gaughan, Wally Page, Stan Rogers, Planxty, Sweeny's Men, The Clancy Brothers, Rig the Jig, Flook, David Francey, Bellowhead, and most good folk songwriters, sea shanties, and traditional tune players from across the world. Music is not the only thing that floats his boat, as he is a keen admirer of nature and the beautiful outdoor living this world has to offer, and would travel anywhere to view a nice scenery of mountains to the sea, whilst using them as his playground too.

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