Sonny Brogan - 1930s and 1940s

1930s and 1940s

In the 1930s and 1940s, alongside his close friend Bill Harte, he played with the Lough Gill Quartet. Sonny gathered a lot of tunes from Bill Harte, some of which he would write down in tonic solfa for the record, and others which he simply committed to memory. It has been said that both Bill Harte and Sonny Brogan "are reputed to have been among the pioneers who saw the potential for Irish music making in the button accordion pitched B/C and subsequently devised and disseminated the fingering method". One of the tunes Sonny recorded with the Lough Gill Quartet, "Toss the Feathers" (78rpm HMV IM948), was his own composition, and he took great pride in playing it on selected occasions.

Sonny went to England briefly in the 1940s, and on his return, George Rowley (fiddler originally from Co. Leitrim) and Ned Stapleton (flute player from Dublin) wrote "Sonny's Return" in honour of him. Ned called it "The Wanderer’s Return", but it is more commonly known as "Sonny's Return".

A regular in The Piper's Club in Thomas Street, Dublin, Sonny played alongside John Kelly Sr, Tom Mulligan, Tommy Potts, piper Tommy Reck (who often played at Sonny's home), Leo Rowsome, Sean Seery and many other traditional musicians of the day. Sonny had his own Céilí Dance Band during the 1940s who played in Barry's Hotel and in the Teachers' Club, Parnell Square, Dublin.

"Sonny Brogan's Mazurka" is a very well known Irish Mazurka and has been made popular in more recent years by The Chieftains.

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