Tommy Makem biography
Born in Keady, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, on November 4, 1932, Tommy Makem was best known as a member of the foursome the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. He sang traditional Irish folks songs from a young age, but moved to New York City to pursue drama. Instead, he launched a lucrative singing career. Makem played the long-necked five-string banjo, guitar, tin whistle and bagpipes. He was also well-known for his storytelling and witty humor on stage.
Born November 4, 1932 in Keady, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, Tommy Makem is the son of legendary folk singer Sarah Makem. Makem sang traditional Irish songs from a young age, though he aspired to be an actor. He moved to New York City to pursue drama, but instead launched a lucrative singing career, first performing in small bars in Greenwich Village. A talented musician, Makem played the long-necked five-string banjo, guitar, tin whistle and bagpipes. Makem was also well-known for his storytelling and witty humor on stage.
Clancy Brothers Collaboration
In the 1950s, Makem joined Tom, Liam and Patrick Clancy to form the Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem. The foursome rode the wave of folk music's resurgence, signing with Columbia Records, and appearing regularly at Carnegie Hall and on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1975, Makem teamed with Liam Clancy, and the pair recorded and toured as a duo for more than a decade.
The internationally famous Irish folk singer died on August 1, 2007, after battling lung cancer. Continuing the family folk music tradition are his sons, Shane, Conor and Rory ("The Makem Brothers"), and nephew Tom Sweeney. He also had a daughter, Katie.