From Fermanagh to New Zealand, fiddler extraordinaire Charlie Montgomery delivers the gift of Irish traditional music to people half way across the world.
Charlie was raised between Lack and Ederney, in the townland of Tiermacspird and has influenced the lives of many people with his exceptional talent.
Self-taught as a youngster, he started playing by ear with his family, at local sessions and in ceili bands.
At the young age of 21, Charlie left Fermanagh to travel to New Zealand, and met a tenor from Fivemiletown, Leo McCaffery and the two musicians later played in the Pride of Erin band in Auckland.
Long settled in Auckland, New Zealand, Charlie now opens his home for musicians to come and play with him in sessions and is generous with his time as he encourages people to get involved in music.
His playing style has been described as lyrical, relaxed, rhythmic and ornamented with a rich tone.
Speaking of her father, Mary Hobby said “He has encouraged countless people with their musical endeavours no matter what their level of playing, age or aspirations.
If Charlie knows that someone can play an instrument or sing he will delight in hearing and including them in music in any way he can.
This has led to so many amazing eventualities including inspiring others to write their own music. Even today Charlie is setting the bar and influencing others with his recent clips on Youtube.”
Charlie has been retired for 15 years, and at the age of 81, he continues to play music everyday, and inspires others to join in.
Several musicians who have played these tunes with Charlie, have transcribed some to sheet music and made them available as a book.
When Charlie was in his 70s he decided to start writing tunes and has now written about 30 tunes.
“Often musicians come to visit Charlie when they are in town.,Others who are keen on Irish music hear about Charlie and are keen to meet him. While on their last tour, members of the Irish Rovers came for a session at Charlie’s home.
Although Charlie doesn’t see himself as a teacher of music he has had quite a few students and has been a resource of tunes for so many.
Through his kindness he has united many people in sharing and social fun of which there is so many fond memories.
Charlie is not only admired in his music but he always has a words of wisdom and practical advice for those who need guidance in any way,” added Mary Hobby.
To listen to Charlie playing Cooley’s Reel visit, “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmIkDkn2F1o“.