Micho Russell was born in 1915, in Doolin. He grew up in a very musical house. His mother played the concertina and his father was a sean-nós singer, his two brothers Gussie and Packie Russell played for house dances and later in the village pubs of Doolin.
Micho had a very distinctive way of playing the tin whistle and won an All Ireland medal such was his talent. It was however his stage presence and storytelling which won him world fame. He was known for his spoken introductions to tunes in his live performances, which incorporated folklore and legend. His knowledge of tradition extended past music to language, stories, dance, herbal lore, and old country cures.From the 1980’s he started writing books putting down on paper collections of tunes, songs and folklore.
He toured all over Europe and the States, and he won friends wherever his music was heard. He was a patient and conscientious music teacher and he was a favourite at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay. Micho tragically died as a result of a car accident on 19th February 1994.
Gussie the shyest of the three brothers played the tin whistle and flute but only in company with whom he felt comfortable was greatly admired for his talent. When Topic Records made the famous recording of the Russell Family in Gus O’Connor’s Bar in 1974, it was a rare live recording of the three brothers together. It is also, fortunately, one of the few remaining recordings of Packie Russell. Packie played the concertina but his sharp wit was almost as legend as his musical talent. Such was Packie’s stature as a musical figure when he died on September 4, 1977 it made national TV news.