Frank Maher

A stalwart of the Newfoundland music scene, Frank Maher is a master of the button accordion. Frank grew up in The Battery, a closely knit community hugging the east end of St. John's harbour. Armed with a harmonica, he busked as a youngster from a dory to American servicemen during the summers of WWII. He acquired a four-stop single row accordion during his late teens and was taught many tunes by his mother, Bridget Maher, and local accordion player Frank Stamp, who studied the playing of John Kimmel.

The McNulty Family and the Flanagan Brothers were other early influences. In 1958 he became the manager and bartender of the Harbour Inn, a lively downtown watering hole, renowned for its sessions. Frank dispensed beer and played music with the great Newfoundland musicians of the time including Emile Benoit, Rufus Guinchard, John White, and international stars like Dolores Keane and Jackie Daly.

The Harbour Inn burned down in 1986 but by then Frank had been playing with Figgy Duff for three years. Figgy Duff broke up in 1993 and Frank then played with the Plankerdown Band and the Planks for an additional year. For the past several years Frank has played regularly at local concerts and events, and occasionally appears with Mahers Bahers at mainland festivals. He is in constant demand as a studio musician and has been recorded on over 35 albums. He is a source of inspiration and repertoire for many of Newfoundland and Labrador's finest young traditional players, including Graham Wells, Dave Penny and Allan Ricketts.

In recognition of his significant contribution to Canadian culture, Frank received the 2002 Tradition Bearer Award from the Celtic Roots Festival in Goderich, Ont., the 2003 St. John's Folk Arts Council Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2007 Stompin' Tom Connors Award from the ECMAS. His solo album, entitled "Mahervelous", was nominated for two Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2006.