Jimmy Keane

Irish Accordion

keanepanelWhere do you hear music in your community?


Jimmy Keane was born in London, England in 1958 to Irish-speaking parents who settled on Chicago’s South Side in 1965, where music stood at the center of Irish community life.  Jimmy gravitated to the piano accordion, won five All-Ireland titles, and was named Male Musician of the Decade by the Irish American News in 2011. 


“My father was a sean nos [old style] singer and there was always music in the house.  Everyplace we ever went there was music.  Hanley’s House of Happiness was the place because it was a family social place and it was music. 


I’ve been playing since I was seven and doing gigs since I was 13 or 14, associating with all the Irish musicians.  I was the same age as Liz [Carroll] so we basically grew up playing together. Chicago’s always had a vibrant Irish music scene.  We learned from Kevin Henry, flute, Johnny McGreevy, a great fiddle player, Joe Shannon, the piper, Eleanor Neary, a great pianist, Jimmy Neary, her husband, and it goes on and on.”