Tony MacMahon is an Irish button accordion player and former radio and television broadcaster. One of Irish traditional music's most influential figures, MacMahon is widely considered as a leading exponent of both airs and dance music, who has influenced generations of Irish traditional musicians.
MacMahon enjoyed a long career with RTÉ, as both a presenter of traditional-music TV programmes, and then as a radio producer. He is responsible for productions such as The Long Note, The Pure Drop, Come West Along the Road, and The Green Linnet (a 1979 television series documenting MacMahon's travels through Western Europe with banjoist Barney McKenna in a green Citroën 2CV van).
A vocal commentator on issues relating to Irish traditional music, MacMahon has frequently voiced strong criticism of modern trends in the performance of Irish traditional music, and of growing commercialism in particular. His address to the 1996 Crossroads Conference provides a summary of his views.
MacMahon's discography includes: Traditional Irish Accordion, (1972), I gCnoc na Graí, with Noel Hill, concertina (1985), Aislingí Ceoil (Music Of Dreams), (1993) with Noel Hill, concertina, and Iarla Ó Lionáird, voice, MacMahon from Clare (2001), Scaoil Amach an Pocaide - Live in Spiddal (2014), with Steve Cooney, guitar, and Farewell to Music (2016).
At once elegiac and celebratory, this deeply affecting collection is as fitting a valediction as any artist could hope for”
Siobhán Long, The Irish Times
“this is glorious, powerful playing that squeezes every drop of emotion from these ageless melodies; at the same time stark yet lush-textured, with an unerring precision and a beauteous, unparalleled sense of poise”
David Kidman, The Living Tradition
“This is an album that musicians will forever now turn to in order to better understand what air playing is. An instant classic”.
Daniel Neely, The Irish Echo
#10 on Jim Carroll’s (The Irish Times) 50 Best Albums of 2016
Farewell to Music is a collection of slow airs that Tony recorded some years back, before retiring from public performance due to a hand tremor. It was initially produced by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, with sound engineering by Kieran Lynch, and then by Jack Talty. Across thirteen previously unreleased tracks, the album represents the profound beauty and unsentimental empathy that Tony achieved and is so celebrated for in his playing of slow airs.
Produced by Tony Mac Mahon, Jack Talty, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Paul O'Connor
Recorded (with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland) by Kieran Lynch in November 2009
Edited and mastered by Jack Talty
Artwork and photography by Maurice Gunning
Thanks to Peadar Ó Riada, Noel Hill, Neil Ó Loclainn and Saileog Ní Cheannabháin