The traditional fiddle player and arranger Tommie Potts, who died suddenly at his Dublin home is remembered by his nephew Séan.
Renowned Dublin fiddler Tommy Potts, died suddenly at his home in Walkinstown on 19 March 1988. Tommie came from a family of musicians, his father John Potts was a well known uilleann piper. His nephew Séan, who carries on the tradition, says his uncle’s death,
Has come as a terrible shock to the whole lot of us and particularly his own family.
Séan describes his uncle’s style.
Unique I suppose would be the first word. He was very creative and very inventive in his music.
Tommie Potts listened to all forms of music and he would,
Occasionally incorporate one of the pieces or a section of a classical piece of music into some of his own traditional music, that was one of his great characteristics.
When he was about 20 years old, Séan Potts stayed with his uncle for two weeks where he learned tunes and an appreciation of traditional music. He is now trying to hand that part of the tradition down to his own family and to other young people.
Tommie’s only record 'The Liffey Banks' was produced by Claddagh Records in 1972 and the fiddle player did not find performing easy.
One of the tragedies of Tommie’s playing.
However when he visited County Clare he became a different man and played freely and was comfortable among musicians like Willy Clancy, Seán Reid and Peadar O'Loughlin, who he felt appreciated his music.
Following his wife Helen's death, Tommie became more reclusive, seeing his friends in traditional music establishments for two or three weeks at a time and then not seeing them again for six months.
Tommie was a deeply religious man and did nothing without saying a prayer first. He always hoped his death would be peacefully and he got his wish, dying in his sleep at home.
Tommie Potts is buried at Saint Fintan's Cemetery in Sutton.
A 'Morning Ireland' report broadcast on 21 March 1988. The reporter is David Davin-Power. The drawing of Tommie Potts by the American artist Ben Long is courtesy of Na Píobairí Uilleann.