Susan and Steve Scanlon

Susan and Steve Scanlon began performing in folk clubs in their native Ireland during the folk music boom in the late 1970s. While children interfered with any plans for touring the world (or even most of Ireland) they continued to perform quite regularly in their adopted home of Clonmel, County Tipperary until they migrated on 1982. During this period they got to play on the same bill as Irish folk luminaries such as Christy Moore, Clannad, Paul Brady and de Danann along with visiting British artists such as Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, John Martyn and Hamish Imlach. A year in Sydney was followed by a year in Nigeria and music in that time was generally social and informal. After their adventures in Nigeria the family moved to the UK where they lived for almost five years. On arrival in Perth in late 1988, steve became involved in the Irish traditional music scene and played with a large variety of musicians including Sean Doherty, Bernadette and Andy Hawkins, Russel Johnsen, Ormonde Watters, Steve Barnes and a teenage rob Zelinski. Along with occasional gigs in Perth, Steve performed at the Toodyay Folk Festival on two occasions with a group of these musos. Moving to Geraldton Steve continued to gig with local folkies and cover bands including the Bullants Bush Band. While in Geraldton, Steve and his son Cormac 'accidentally' scored a regular Sunday session gig and called themselves 'Reels in D'd'. This instrumental duo (guitars , mandolin, tine whistle), frequently joined by Susan on vocals began to build up a cult following locally. The family moved back to Perth in '87 and with Susan now as a permanent member and Russel Johnsen on fiddle, hurdy-gurdy and darabuka 'Reels in D'd' began a Sunday session residence at JB O'Reilly's which went on for almost three years and expanded their list of admirers. Family, work and study commitments during this time restricted other gigs but they did get out of town occasionally including their first 'tour' to Albany to play at the Earl and being one of the featured artists at the Araluen Festival. The Scanlons moved to Albany in 2000 and Susan 'retired' from performance (although she has made occasional appearances with Steve's bands.) Steve continued to perform locally in duos, trios and beyond including notable stints with 'Well Strung' and "Crossbow", both of whom appeared at the Fairbridge Festival. During this time he has played with a plethora of local musicians including Mike Hyder, Rod Vervest, Geoff Waldeck, Joe Fowler, Jude Addison, Rob Zeilinski and more. Over the years, since their earlier gigs in Ireland, many songs in Susan's repertoire have remained dormant, almost forgotten, because they are not pub songs. Among these are some beautiful traditional songs about sailors usually a Willie or a Johnny, learned from the singing of Sandy Denny, Maddy Prior, Triona Ni Dhomhnaill and others. It is time to give these Songs of Sailors and Sailing and airing and a listen.