Celtic Junction Arts Center

Weaving the traditions of Dance, Music, Art & Language

836 Prior Avenue
St. Paul, MN, 55104

Michael Dean: Indefatigable Irish-Minnesotan Singer and Song Catcher, Oct 21

2pm in the EML. This event is part of our Fall Colloquium Series: Free lectures held in the Eoin McKiernan Library.

Brian Miller (Director, Eoin McKiernan Library) 

Irish-American Michael C. Dean (1858-1931) lived in Minnesota for most of his life and possessed a repertoire of over 160 folk songs picked up from his mother and from time spent "wandering around on the Lakes and in Lumber Camps and Rail Road Construction works" of the Great Lakes region. Dean’s dual role as compiler of his own song book, The Flying Cloud, and as source singer for multiple academic song collectors make him a unique and important person for the history of Upper Midwest folk song. 

Brian has researched and revived Dean's music for the past ten years. This presentation looks at Dean’s life and songs as an intriguing example of the Irish presence in pioneer Minnesota and Irish influence on the “woods” song tradition. Brian's groundbreaking discovery of wax cylinder recordings made in 1924 of Dean's singing illuminate aspects of his singing style and his relationship to the songs themselves.