Honored posthumously, February 14, 1997
Johnny Cronin was born in Gneeveguilla, in the Kingdom of Kerry. His heritage was the music of “Sliabh Luachra,” the east Kerry-northwest Cork region, home of some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, Johnny among them. He died in 1991, at age 57.
Although largely self-taught, Johnny was for a time a pupil of Sliabh Luachra’s legendary fiddler, Padraig O’Keefe.
Emigration broke up the famous Cronin Brothers when Paddy left for Boston. Seven years later Johnny came to New York, and his own legend began.
Living on Bainbridge Avenue, Johnny Cronin’s fiddle, and the hearty, scraping sound that was his trademark, soon sounded his love for traditional music in almost every pub and hall in New York. Comhaltas Hall of Fame flutist Mike Rafferty is but one of the greats who regularly shared the stage with Johnny. All-Ireland button-box champ Billy McComiskey credits Johnny with some of his first pub gigs, forming a duo with Johnny that often shared a stage – and the quality of playing – with Andy McGann and Joe Burke. Playing with Johnny soon was a pleasure for many other younger musicians, Brian Conway and James Keane among others.
For years he regularly played with Joe “Banjo” Burke; theirs is the only album starring Johnny. In 1990 he reunited with brother Paddy for the Boston College Fiddle Festival album.
Johnny never stopped playing, and his later years led to new musical heights performing with his wife, Maureen Glynn.
Johnny Cronin’s influence as a fiddler and a man who loved life and his heritage, makes his place in the Comhaltas Hall of Fame justly deserved. Ar Dheis De go Raibh A Anam.