A Giant has passed on

I just received the following from Ed Ward of the Milwaukee Irish Festival "Hello friends - it's a sad day today as Irish music has lost it's most passionate and ardent advocate. Tommy Makem passed away tonight at 7 p.m. after what I would have to call a heroic struggle to maintain his life style, love of music and performing, and contact with his many admirers and friends. He battled his cancer in his own way and fought it bravely and without complaints. "Ever onward and upward' he would say. I spoke to him about 2 weeks ago the day after he returned from Ireland. We talked for about a half an hour about his trip, how wonderful it was to see the parade of people who came to visit him in the hotel, relatives, old friends, the archbishop. He said he was very sad when he boarded a plane to leave Ireland - clearly knowing he would not see it again. He desperately wanted to make it to Milwaukee this year so we discussed plans on what we would do as it was evident he would not be able to perform. But he planned to be there anyway. We are going ahead with these plans and Tommy's slots will be billed as "REMEMBERING TOMMY MAKEM" and will be led by his nephews Tom and Jimmy Sweeney, Brian Doherty, Kevin Evans and Eugene Byrne and other close friends. The Makem and Spain Brothers will also be in Milwaukee so it should be a special celebration of Tommy's life and love for the music of Ireland. " Tommy was a living legend on the Irish Music scene, as most of you know. In fact, he will still be a living legend and will continue to be so for as long as people play and sing about the beauty, pride, and glory of Ireland. His association with the Clancy Brothers was probably the biggest influence in popularizing Irish folk music. I know for certain that they were responsible for bringing many performers into the business. His sons and anyone else who performs these days will continue to perpetuate his music and his integrity. He stood by his guns and in doing so, he led by example. I was proud to have known him, honored to have shared stages with him and will continue to thank him and his memory for kindnesses shown to me. May God Bless him and his family including my friends Rory, Conor and Shane.

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