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Major musical achievement for Newry Traveller

September 18, 2012

William Dundon, a member of the Traveller Community from Newry, has been awarded runner up in the prestigious Young Musician/Singer of the Bann competition The talented accordion player faced some stiff competition among a field of world class musicians, including a three times world champion piper who has played alongside the Chieftains.  Overall winner of the highly sought after folk award was Emmett Conway, who has previously won two world championships with the Field Marshal Montgomery Band.

William says he first became aware of traditional music as a thirteen year old, when he met an inspirational accordion player in London, known as ‘Black Jimmy’ who played a black accordion. His interest in traditional music deepened when his father bought him his first, piano keyed accordion at the age of fifteen.

William then turned to the button row accordion and became interested in pipe playing under the influence of pipers, Johnny Doran, and John Rooney.  The young musician now has many strings to his bow as he is also a keen folk singer.

In 2011, he was honoured in a chapter in the book, “Free Spirits: Irish Travellers and Irish Traditional Music” written by Tommy Fegan and Oliver O’Connell, which celebrated the legends of Irish Traveller music.

2012 has been an exciting year for William. Since becoming County Armagh accordion champion in the Fleadh Cheoil in July, he has also contributed to a documentary celebrating cultural diversity in Northern Ireland entitled “Tapestry of Colours.” The film, made by well-known film producer, Zhenia Mahdia, will be screened in the Lyric Theatre on the 17th September.

The future certainly looks bright for this multi talented musician, with folk legend, Tommy Sands, interested in recording William for his show and Neil Martin (Colm Sands’ successor on Radio Ulster Folk Club) featuring his new CD, “Smilers” over the next few weeks.

Anyone wishing to hear for themselves the talents of this young Traveller, can catch William in the Canal Court on the 19th September, where he will be playing music from his new CD, in honour of his father, at a major conference on Traveller men’s health.

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