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Patrick Bonner Recordings



Patrick Bonner Recordings

The O'Donnell Collection of Patrick Bonner Recordings

(Return to Bonner's Fiddler Page)

There are quite a few recordings of Patrick Bonner. Famous folklore collector Alan Lomax recorded Bonner -- and in fact, one of his recordings was my first introduction to this fiddler. The below picture shows Patrick Bonner and Alan Lomax together. Lomax did not necessarily record the fiddlers of greatest skill or renown while on his trip through Michigan and Wisconsin. Still, Bonner's music is interesting because he represents a fiddler who learned from the first generation of Irish fiddlers on Beaver Island; Bonner was not necessarily a fiddler of remarkable skill, but he was a fiddler of remarkable connection to the past. Yet Bonner was not an isolated fiddler; Beaver Island was a common shipping stop in the Great Lakes, a safe port and a source of wood for steamers. Bonner's repertoire reflects this connection with other areas both in the United States and Canada. An aggressive fiddler used to playing for dancing, Bonner was an interesting character in a lot of ways. In the summer of 2010 I spoke with a musician on Beaver Island by the nickname of "Buck." Buck is one of the last musicians living who played with Patrick Bonner, though Buck was young at the time. He related that Patrick Bonner had the tendency to rhyme considerably, even in normal conversation, and that he left a lot of the farm work to his wife. Bonner also worked other jobs, such as sailing.

(Patrick Bonner and Alan Lomax Play on radio station WUOM, University of Michigan)

These recordings of Bonner were made originally by Edward "Edgar" O'Donnell in the 1950's and 1960's. Bonner was at this time a fairly elderly individual, and this must be kept in mind when listening to the music. The recordings were also home made, which must be kept in mind when hearing the quality of the recordings themselves. Edward O'Donnell's sons Charlie and Joe continued the preservation process, and in 2008 Joe O'Donnell had the recordings digitized. Richard Marquis did the digitization. These recordings are presented here by permission of Joe O'Donnell.


The O'Donnell Recordings are divided up into four CDs, presented here in individual javascript mp3 players. For a list of tracks, see the O'Donnell recording CD covers linked below. These track lists are innacurate to an uncertain degree. A more accurate list will hopefully be attained soon.

(Warning: Below files are TIF format and are a few megabytes each).

The Bonner CD Front Cover

The Bonner CD Back Cover

CD #1 Track List

CD #2 Track List

CD #3 Track List

CD #4 Track List

CD #1 (Note the blue slider bar to the right. Use this to scroll down the list).


CD #2

CD #3

CD #4