John Hoban. singer and song-writer.

John Hoban

Rossport 5

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'He would make music out of a sheaf of oats'























Last updated
April 9th, 2001

Castlebar singer songwriter John Hoban

John Hoban was born in Castlebar in 1954. Forty-six years later, on his CV, under work experience we read: "Music has been my life. I play all instruments e.g. guitar, harmonica, banjo, whistles, bodhran, violin. My main instrument is my voice accompanied by mando-cello. I sing and compose songs, poetry, stories".

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Song For The Rossport 5


Come gather 'round friends, I'll tell you a hell of a tale
As old as the hills; as hard as a piece of bog dale
5 innocent men lie in Cloverhill prison today
Injustice, treason, Shell oil, the Corporate way.

We all know your history in Nigeria
New Mexico, Russia and venues all over the world
Here in Mayo the sun sets in Broadhaven Bay
Never, go deo, will you win with your Corporate way

Send Shell to Sea/Safety not Profit
Justice Now for the Rossport Five

To Michael O' Seighin, Brendan Philbin too
Vincent and Philip McGrath, our prayers are with you
To Willie Corduff, the wives and children also
We praise you and stand beside you here in Mayo

Shell oil, a mhaicin, we're keeping this garden fair
For seven generations ahead, to live in and share
What is rightfully theirs, a gift from the Creator on high
Beir bua for Davitt, for Daly and the Rossport 5


Read The Full Story

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John Hoban chose to learn his music with care, over many years, from some of Ireland's most respected musicians and was content to transmit the music without inflicting "embellishments" on what he already knew was perfect. Thankfully, he has refused to listen to the many voices which continually try to entice him to abandon the path of the artist.

John is very well known at all the better gatherings of traditional musicians in his native County Mayo, from Carrowtigue to Ballyhaunis and from Charlestown to Clare Island, but he has devoted groups of admirers in such diverse locations as Brittany, Istanbul, London, Ontario, New York, San Francisco and Sydney-not to mention Galway, Clare and Sligo.

Perhaps better known as an accomplished player of fiddle, banjo and mando-cello, John is also a singer and a composer of wonderful songs and music. Listen to the work of John and you'll hear music from the heart -from the heart of a true modern-day minstrel, authentic and sincere.

Written by: Christy Tynan, Castlebar

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John Hoban is highly regarded in Ireland and internationally for the unique and deeply personal nature of his music. He has played with people like Sharon Shannon, Johnny Mulhern, Tommy Peoples, James O'Malley, John Doherty and groups like Muigheo, Arcady, General Humbert, Bumblebees to name but a few.

Recently, John has been included in Sharon Shannon's new CD "The Diamond Mountain Sessions" singing his original song "Slan Le Van". Jackson Browne, John Prine, Steve Earl and Carlos Nunez are included on the same CD.

John is also represented in a Mayo Compilation CD for Hospice alongside, Matt Malloy, Laoise Kelly, Mick Lally and others.

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1. The Cultural Poverty of the Irish Emigrant

What John Hoban started off, as a three-day seminar (on The Cultural Poverty of the Irish Emigrant) is now an annual event in Detroit.

2. Storytelling - the Art

John gives classes in Seattle for artists and writers on "Storytelling - the Art".

3. Music Therapy

John has worked at various music therapy projects in New York City, e.g. Music for Homeless People, Music for the Elderly etc. On these projects he has worked with top music therapist, Noah Shapiro. In Windsor he worked with refugees from Bosnia, Lebanon, Somalia on "Music is Our First Language".
Back home in Castlebar he worked as Music Director and performer in "Mise Freisin "- Interactive Theatre for people with disability.

4. The Shamrock Traditional Irish Society

He was a founder member of The Shamrock Traditional Irish Society in Fairfield, Connecticut, and developed teaching and music philosophy for the group. He has taught music to all ages all over the world and has played professionally, solo and with bands, in clubs, schools, pubs and concert halls.

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His music biography sums it up: "John's method of teaching music is to focus on the individual plus work on individual expression in a group/community setting. His work is to give children or adults (big children) the basic skills of music-making, then to help them find their own tone and rhythm in the music they make. His work helps people to develop and flow with their natural ability and intuition in music."
What he believes to be true in all cases is the African proverb; 'If you can talk you can sing, if you can walk you can dance'. Central to John's work is listening to and learning from each of his students.

'Mol an óige'
Encouragement is vital and he lives by the Gaelic proverb, "Mol an Oige agus tiocfaidh siad leat" - praise the children and they will respond.

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He says: " My vision is to continue making
cultural contributions as a Musician/Artist from Castlebar".


His plans for the future are to compose, play and teach music and to write a book about his teaching methods. He hopes to develop music in and around Castlebar with a view to employing others and contributing to the community and economy through cultural means.


Here is your opportunity to hear John sing. Simply click on the links below to listen to his song.
Castle Lane
Born In Mayo

More clips of John's Songs will be available on this site soon so please check back regularly

Contact John:
John Hoban,
c/o Clark's,
Davitt's Terrace, Castlebar,
Co. Mayo,

Telephone:   +353-94-38342
Email:      John



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