It was in 1970 that Tom Cussen first named the new band “Shaskeen”. 50 years on the band and its members are known and respected across the world in music circles and loved by the many hundreds of thousands of people whose lives they have enriched in that time through their music.
Ahead of the launch of the band’s new CD, titled “Shaskeen Live and Kicking” Ger Sweeney got an opportunity to speak the founding father, Tom Cussen and the newest addition to the line-up, David Sanders. The album was recorded at two live events but the majority of the material is from a gig in Corofin, Co. Clare which was held on January 4th 2020.
On Friday 17th April 2020 the album will be officially on sale via the band’s website, http://www.shaskeen.net, and the timing of the release was meant to kick-start a series of gigs to celebrate the 50 years of Shaskeen. The onset of the Covid-19 virus has put paid to that but there is another very poignant reason why 2020 will not be the year that the members thought it would be for Shaskeen. On the 28th March the band’s piper, Pat Broderick died suddenly. This blow was followed four days later when Pat Costello, vocalist, mandolin, five string and tenor banjo player passed away.
In this interview Tom and David talk about Shaskeen, its origins, ambition, the need to constantly evolve, the passion each member has for playng music and entertaining crowds. They also pay tribute to their fallen colleagues and friends for whom, in these uncertain times of Covid-19, they can’t start the mourning process in earnest.
The story of Shaskeen is a very special one and it cannot be told in a brief interview with two people. However, that story WILL be told and it will be told in words and music as soon as circumstances allow. In the meantime the interview below will give you some idea of the mammoth tale that is ready to be told – when the time is right.