Ed Reavy

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Ed Reavy
Barnagrove, County Cavan, Ireland
Died1988 (aged 90–91)
Occupation(s)Musician, composer

Ed Reavy (1897–1988)[1] was an Irish-American musician and composer of numerous traditional Irish dance tunes. Born in the townland of Barnagrove (aka Barnagrow, Barnagrows or Barr na gCnó), Knappagh, County Cavan[2], he emigrated to Philadelphia in 1912 where he settled in the Irish-American enclave of Corktown (now part of Powelton Village). Except for two visits back to Ireland, he remained in the Philadelphia area for the rest of his life.

Reavy was a fiddler, and recorded in 1927 for the Victor record label, including two reels ("The Boys of the Lough" and "Tom Clark's Fancy") and two hornpipes ("The Donegal" and "The Cliff"). More than one hundred of his compositions have been published, and his sons have estimated that there may be more than five hundred in total.[3] His most famous tune may be "The Hunter's House".[4] His compositions and style of fiddling found their way back to Ireland and were very influential in the development of modern Irish Traditional Music.[5]

Reavy was president of the Irish Musicians' Association of America. In 2000, he was posthumously awarded the title "Composer of the Century" by an Irish-American organization[6][citation needed].


  1. ^ US Passport application, 1922, and SS death index
  2. ^ http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Cavan/Knappagh/Barnagrows/1046485/
  3. ^ "The Collected Compositions of Ed Reavy", Joseph M. Reavy, Green Grass Music, 1996, ISBN 978-0952837008
  4. ^ Irish Tune Composers' page for Ed Reavy
  5. ^ "Celtic Music : 3rd Ear - The Essential Listening Companion", Kenny Mathieson, Hal Leonard Corporation, 2001, ISBN 978-0879306236
  6. ^ Irish Echo
  • "The Companion to Irish Traditional Music", Fintan Vallely, NYU Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8147-8802-5