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Kristen Harbaugh

New Hampshire loses treasured Irish folk singer, songwriter

(Concord, NH): World-renowned Irish folk singer, songwriter and storyteller Tommy Makem passed away at his home in Dover, New Hampshire on August 1st at age 74 after a battle with cancer. 

“He was the quintessential Irish troubadour”, said Van McLeod, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources and friend of Makem. “He helped influence and shape the folk movement in the 50’s and 60’s when he was performing with the band The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.”

Makem, best known for his songs, “Gentle Annie”, “The Winds are Singing Freedom” and “Four Green Fields”, first appeared at the Newport Folk Festival in 1961, where he was chosen best promising newcomer (along with Joan Baez).

According to the biography on his website, together with the Clancy Brothers, Tommy appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, the Tonight Show and every major television network show in the US and together they soon became the four most famous Irishmen in the world.

Makem’s three sons, Shane, Cory and Rory continue in their father’s (and grandmother, singer Sarah Makem’s) footsteps. They have been performing for over 15 years as part of the Irish folk band Makem and Spain Brothers.

“The great impact that Tommy made on the New Hampshire cultural community will be missed,” said Commissioner McLeod.  “We join with many people in the NH arts community in both mourning his loss and celebrating his life.”

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