Owen Frain and Gene Frain – Hall of Fame 2005

CCÉ Northeast Regional Hall of Fame Inductee Owen Frain and Gene Frain

Owen Frain and Gene Frain

Owen Frain (far left in this photo of a Boston house party, c. 1946)   

Gene Frain

Gene Frain (standing against the doorway).

Owen Frain                   Gene Frain
Inducted to its The Hall of Fame by
The Northeast Region of the North American Province
November 5, 2005
Owen Frain (RIP) ~ (flute and piano) was born in 1896, and grew up in Roskey, Co. Mayo. At about age fourteen, he left Ireland to work in England’s coal mines. He joined the U.S. Navy and in fact was stationed on a ship that sank off the coast of France. At about age twenty, he arrived in New York City, and studied flute with a flute and pipe player who recorded with James Morrison.
Later settling in Boston, Owen made many records with Dan Sullivan’s Shamrock Band, including the Hanafin brothers and Neil Nolan, beginning about 1925— the first traditional ceili band recordings. They played in the famous dance halls of Boston, usually on Dudley Street in Roxbury, where the immigrant Irish people and their American Irish children danced the sets and ceili dances played by the finest musicans.


Gene Frain (tin whistle/ wooden flute and piano)

  Owen Train’s son, was born in 1926 in Somerville, Massachusetts, and at an early age moved to Watertown. Gene was given a whistle as soon as his fingers were big enough to cover the holes. And later, when his fingers had grown enough to span and cover the holes on a flute, he was given a wooden flute. At age fourteen Gene began to learn the silver flute, but at first everything he did to play good Irish wooden flute was incorrect for his classical music playing. He persisted, and played well enough to perform for his country in the U.S. Army Band for three years.

He made 78 recordings with Billy Caples on the piano, in the 1950s, Billy Caples having been a graduate of the Berklee College of music and a great teacher, and a performer for many years in the dance halls of Boston.

      Besides his lovely playing and repertoire, always welcome, Gene Frain has been known throughout his life as a rich source of music and Irish music history in the Boston area, generous with his knowledge and helpful to all-an essential part of the survival of such an oral music tradition.

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This Page  revised 9/7/2008

Update:  Gene Fain passed away on October 29, 2008.
A memorial tribute to him by Susan Gedutis Lindsay may be found at  http://sueandstevelindsay.blogspot.com/2008/11/boston-musician-gene-frain-passes-away.html

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This Page revised 4/1/2008 and updated October 2008


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Reynolds, Hanafin, Cooley Branch – Boston, MA