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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON Barley Bree (the group) (13) RE: Barley Bree (the group) 10 May 99


I first met Tommy Sweeney about 20 years ago when he was playing with an Irish group called Chaff, originating in Derry. Their female vocalist was Fran St. Clair, and another member of the group was Roy Arbuckle. When this group broke up, Tommy and his brother Jimmy ( who thge hell came upt with the name Roscoe)teamed up with P.V. O'Donnell to form the group Barley Bree. Our local Comhaltas branch brought them to Kingston for about three years in a row, and after that a group near Smiths Falls, ON, brought them to that area for concerts.
It was about five years ago that they broke up.
I last spoke to Tommy during March 1998, when he played in West Palm Beach Florida at the Irish Festival. I understand he played there again this year. Following the WPB performance he was on his way to Washington to play at the White House. His song, Anthem for the Children, especially appealed to President Clinton, and he requested that Tommy perform it at the White House St. Patrick's celebration with all the politicians from both traditions in Ireland.
Tommy now lives in Omagh, Northern Ireland, most of the year. His brother Jimmy, lives in Halifax, NS, and I thing he is a teacher. As previously reported, PV O'Donnell lives in Connecticut.
It was a pity they broke up, but I guess 20 years is a good run for an Irish band. Anyone interested in Irish music of the finest quality would be well-advised to keep Tommy Sweeney's name in mind, and catch him when you can.
Jack Hickman


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