Horse Keane's Hornpipe
The Rath Cairn Reel
The Charleston Reel
(c) Jimmy Keane - Cappal Beag Music BMI

Jimmy Keane

Irish music accordion virtuoso Jimmy Keane was born in London of Irish-speaking parents from Connemara and Kerry. His late father Jimmy was a magnificent sean-nos (old style) singer, and along with young Jimmy’s mother Mary, actively encouraged him to take up traditional Irish music.

Jimmy’s accomplishments are far reaching. He has achieved astonishing and unprecedented success in competitive playing, having won five consecutive All-Ireland titles on the piano accordion. He has always been an avid collector and arranger of old tunes and is becoming increasingly known for his original compositions, many of which have become part of the mainstream of traditional Irish music around the world. He also has recorded and produced numerous albums

Many regard Keane as the premier exponent of traditional Irish music on the piano accordion. Noted University of Limerick Professor, composer, and musician Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin praised Keane as the "savior of the piano accordion." eMusic described him as "one of the true giants of Irish traditional music of the past fifty years," and the voice of Ireland, singer-songwriter Christy Moore, described Jimmy's playing as "wild and beautiful."

In 2010, Jimmy was named "Male Musician of the Year" by the Irish American News. In 2011, Jimmy was honored with the "Male Musician of the Decade" award by Live Ireland and by the Irish American News.

Jimmy’s early instrumental musical influences were local greats Joe Cooley, Kevin Keegan, Balbriggan’s Paddy Gavin (button accordion), Johnny McGreevy (fiddle), Kevin Henry (flute), Joe Shannon (uilleann pipes) and Eleanor Neary (piano) along with the many other fine Irish musicians in Chicago.

In the early 1970s Jimmy began playing with his Chicago contemporaries, the brilliant fiddler Liz Carroll, and flute player and stepdancer Michael Flatley (of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance fame).

During those formative years, his playing took on a new dimension as he became exposed to the many styles of traditional music both in America and Ireland. The style of piano accordion playing that Jimmy has developed is vastly different from other exponents of the instrument and it has caused many people to reexamine their attitude to the often-maligned accordion. He has incorporated the techniques, ornamentation, and subtleties used by fiddlers, uilleann pipers, flute players, and button accordionists. In the process, he has created a unique approach to the playing of traditional Irish music on his instrument.

Jimmy started his professional career with fellow All-Ireland fiddle champion and All-Ireland Senior Duet partner Liz Carroll in Chicago during the 1970s.

He joined with banjoist and singer Mick Moloney and guitarist and singer-songwriter Robbie O’Connell in the early 1980s to form Moloney, O’Connell & Keane with whom he recorded two critically acclaimed albums: “There Were Roses” and “Kilkelly.” He was also featured in the highly acclaimed BBC TV series and recording, “Bringing It All Back Home,” and was featured on the soundtrack and recording for the award winning PBS documentary “Out Of Ireland.”

In the mid-1980’s he became part of the revamped Green Fields of America with Mick Moloney, Robbie O’Connell, fiddler Eileen Ivers (Riverdance), multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan (Solas) and recorded an album called “The Green Fields of America: Live”

During the late 1980s Jimmy began playing with internationally acclaimed guitarist Dennis Cahill (of Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill fame) and continues performing with Dennis whenever the opportunity presents itself.

In the mid-1990s Jimmy and Robbie O’Connell formed the group Aengus and recorded “All on a Christmas Morning” for the RCA Victor label.

Jimmy founded bohola in 1999 with Pat Broaders (bouzouki and vocal) and recorded several albums on the Shanachie and Bohola Music labels. The latest bohola release, “Jimmy Keane & Pat Broaders” was awarded “Celtic Album of the Year” from Just Plain Folks and “Vocal/Instrumental Album of the Year” from the Irish American News.

Jimmy was recently awarded “Male Musician of the Year” from the Irish American News and co-wrote the soundtrack for the PBS documentary “Irish Chicago.”

In addition to his solo work, Jimmy currently performs with bohola, Dennis Cahill, Liz Carroll, and once again as part of Moloney, O’Connell & Keane.

Jimmy is in pre-production on several recordings including a recording of his original compositions which will feature musical friends both old and new.


© 1999-2019 Jimmy Keane. Permission granted for publicity purposes only.
bohola is a trademark of Jimmy Keane

some of Jimmy's compositions appear on:

The Charleston Reel
There Were Roses (Moloney, O'Connell, & Keane) - Green Linnet Records
Dear Old Erin's Isle (Various) - Nimbus Records

Spider's in the Bathtub (aka Jimmy Keane's Hornpipe)
Kiss Me Kate (Liz Carroll & Tommy McGuire) - Shanachie Records

Aprils Fool
Uncommon Bonds (Mick Moloney & Eugene O'Donnell) - Green Linnet Records
Reeltime (Reeltime) - Green Linnet Records

Horse Keane's Hornpipe
Kilkelly (Moloney, O'Connell, & Keane) - Green Linnet Records
Dear Old Erin's Isle (Various) - Nimbus Records
Full Set

4 (bohola) - Shanachie Records
Jimmy Keane & Pat Broaders (bohola) - Bohola Music

On the Eve of Christmas
All on a Christmas Morning (Aengus) - RCA Victor

The Rath Carin Reel
Dear Old Erin's Isle (Various) - Nimbus Records

Pachelbel Crossing the Minch (aka Pachelbel's Canon Reel)
Reeltime (Reeltime) - Green Linnet Records

Sligo Jack
Green Fields of America Live (Green Fields of America) - Green Linnet Records

Hunting the Boyne
Green Fields of America Live (Green Fields of America) Green Linnet Records

4 (bohola) - Shanachie Records
Jimmy Keane & Pat Broaders (bohola) - Bohola Music

If you are interested in recording any of the above works or licensing their use in any media format, please contact me or visit this page 

selected discography

1974 Irish Music from Chicago
1977 Jimmy Keane
1984 Uncommon Bonds
1986 There Were Roses
1988 Kilkelly
1988 Bringing it all Back Home
1989 Green Fields of America Live
1989 Love of the Land
1990 Jimmy Keane
1992 Dear Old Erin’s Isle
1993 Never Learned to Dance
1995 Out of Ireland
1998 All On A Christmas Morning
2000 bohola
2001 A Childhood Christmas
2002 Far from the Shamrock Shore
2002 bohola
2004 bohola 4
2005 bohola 5
2008 Jimmy Keane & Pat Broaders
2008 bo-Ho-Ho-hola
2008 bits of bohola
2008 bits of bohola (and a bit)
2008 bits of bohola (and a bit more)
2009 Soundtrack: Irish Chicago