Honored February 17, 2007
Joanie Madden is one the greatest musicians and personalities in the history of Irish music in America. Born in New York of Irish parents, she is the second oldest of seven children raised in a musical household; her mother Helen comes from Miltown Malbay, County Clare and her father Joe, an All-Ireland Champion on the accordion, comes from Portumna in East Galway. Joanie was exposed to the finest Irish traditional music early in life in the Bronx listening to her father and his friends play music at family gatherings and social events.
She began taking lessons from the legendary East Galway flute player Jack Coen and within a few years she had won both the World Championship on the concert flute and whistle. During that time, Joanie also became the first American to win the Senior All-Ireland Championship on the tin whistle. She has since then gained many other awards including being the youngest member ever inducted into the Irish-American Musicians Hall of Fame and the recipient of the Wild Geese Award, She was also voted one of the Top 100 Irish-Americans in the country by Irish America magazine and Traditional Musician of the Year by the Irish Echo newspaper for her contributions to promoting and presenting Irish culture in America.
She is in constant demand as a studio musician and has performed on over a hundred albums with scores of artists including such luminaries as Pete Seeger and Sinead O’Connor. Joanie has played on three Grammy award-winning albums and her involvement on the Hearts of Space label's Celtic Twilight CD led to a platinum album with over 1,000,000 sales. She has toured with the Eagles’ Don Henley and was also a featured soloist on the final Lord of the Rings soundtrack. As well as her numerous albums with Cherish the Ladies, she has recorded three highly successful solo albums; A Whistle on the Wind, Song of the Irish Whistle (named the most successful tin whistle album in history selling nearly 300,000 copies) and Song of the Irish Whistle 2.
Joanie has become one of the most visible Irish musicians in the world over the past two decades touring the globe with Cherish the Ladies, a group she has led since its inception in 1985. Not only is she renowned as a virtuoso tin whistle and flute player but as a highly energetic and invariably hilarious stage performer. Her huge repertoire of music spans a wide range of expression from exuberant dance tunes to slow, stately and evocative pieces. She is a consummate musician and one of the most mercurial and best loved figures in Irish music today.
– Mick Moloney