Alec Finn

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Alec Finn is an English-born traditional musician who is famous for his unique style of accompaniment on the bouzouki. He is best known for founding De Dannan with Frankie Gavin, Ringo MacDonagh and Charlie Piggott after a series of music sessions at Tigh Hughes, An Spidéal, Co. Galway in 1975.


Finn took up the bouzouki in the 1970s. In contrast to most Irish players, he plays a round-backed Greek bouzouki, one of the older-style trixordo three course (six string) instruments tuned DAD. The Greek tuning gives him a versatile modal rhythmic background on which to create counterpoint to the melody.[1] In the late 1970s and early 80s, he accompanied several prominent Irish instrumentalists including Frankie Gavin, Mary Bergin and Noel Hill. He performed with De Dannan up to its dissolution in 2003.

After the dissolution of the group, Finn copyrighted the name De Danann. Ironically, a dispute arose in 2009 with his former colleague Frankie Gavin in July 2009 for using the name De Dannan for the Frankie Gavin Quartet, a group which had been in existence parallel to De Dannan since 1991.

Finn, along with fellow original De Danann member Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh, has recently reformed De Danann with banjoist/keyboardist Brian McGrath, accordionist Derek Hickey, fiddler Mick Conneely, and singer Eleanor Shanley.

Family and name[edit]

Alec Finn is the older brother of the author Gervase Phinn. He changed the spelling of his surname from Phinn to Finn upon moving to Ireland from his childhood home in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.