A stalwart of the Newfoundland music scene, Frank Maher is a master of the button accordion. seeitnow.ca/mahersbahers
Frank Maher grew up in The Battery, a closely knit community hugging the east end of St. John’s harbour. Armed with a harmonica, he busked as a youngster from a dory to American servicemen during the summers of WWII. He acquired a four-stop single row accordion during his late teens and was taught many tunes by his mother, Bridget Maher, and local accordion player Frank Stamp, who studied the playing of John Kimmel.
The McNulty Family and the Flanagan Brothers were other early influences. In 1958 he became the manager and bartender of the Harbour Inn, a lively downtown watering hole, renowned for it’s sessions. Frank dispensed beer and played music with the great Newfoundland musicians of the time including Emile Benoit, Rufus Guinchard, John White, Andy Oliver, Billy Boyles, Art Stoyles and international stars like Dolores Keane and Jackie Daly.
He was part of several groups including the Quidi Vidi Minstrels and the Newfoundland Kitchen Band and was a tremendous source of music for the new generation of Newfoundland groups such as Figgy Duff, Red Island, Tickle Harbour, and Christina Smith and Jean Hewson and is an inspiration to today’s fine accordion players such as Graham Wells and Dave Penny.
The Harbour Inn burned down in 1986 but by then Frank had been playing with Figgy Duff for three years. Figgy Duff broke up in 1993 and Frank then played with the Plankerdown Band and the Planks for an additional year. For the past several years Frank has played on Tuesdays at the Auntie Crae Food Shop and regularly at benefits and at Folk Night at the Ship Inn with the Auntie Crae Band, and occasionally appears with Mahers Bahers at mainland festivals. He is in constant demand as a studio musician and has been recorded on over 35 albums.
In recognition of his significant contribution to Canadian culture, Frank received the 2002 Tradition Bearer Award from the Celtic Roots Festival in Goderich, Ont., and the 2003 St. John’s Folk Arts Council Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Considering he’s been a stalwart of the Newfoundland music scene for decades, it’s rather astounding that this is Frank Maher’s first solo CD… This is a great first effort from a master of the button accordion. Let’s hope that we dont’ have to wait so long for the next one, Frank!”
“The sheer dexterity of Maher’s accordion skills puts him in a league of his own when it comes to his instrument…With the talented skills of the Mahers Bahers band behind him, Mahervelous is a unique showcase of one of our greatest living accordion players.”
The Newfoundland Herald
“… really enjoyable romp with one of the Rock’s finest …. full of bouncy melodies and quirky humour.”
Penguin Eggs (Album Review, summer 2005)
“Supple, good-humoured and just plain fun, the whole effort is pure joy from start to finish, a jolly companion whether you are zipping down the highway or hoisting a few with friends.”
Penguin Eggs (Feature Article: “Frank’s Wild Years”, Autumn 2005)
“Accompanied by a dandy little trio of guitar, cello/violin and bodhran, Maher coaxes subtlety and no small amount of humour from his accordion. He also sings, recites a limerick, plays harmonica and performs a gorgeous cover version of Let me Fish off Cape St. Mary’s.”
Patrick Langston, Ottawa Citizen
2005 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee: Best Traditional Album, Best Solo – Instrumental
2002 Tradition Bearer Award from the Celtic Roots Festival
2003 St. John’s Folk Arts Council Lifetime Achievement Award
No shows booked at the moment.