Sarah Keane, the last surviving member of her generation of the famous musical family from Caherlistrane, Co Galway, died on December 21, 2010. She was aunt of singers Dolores and Sean Keane.
Sarah, who was 92, died at the family home at Carragh, Caherlistrane. Along with her sister Rita she had a store of rare folk songs and they displayed a style of traditional Irish singing in unison, which attracted interest among a new generation of lovers of Irish singing.
Sarah grew up in a musical home and, along with her brothers and sisters, played in the family band, Keane’s Ceili Band, for many years. They were frequently featured on programmes on Radio Eireann, especially Ceili House and in 1968 Sarah and Rita record their debut album Once I Loved, produced by Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains for Claddagh Records.
Paddy said they were so easy to work with and when they sang, they sang to one another and in perfect pitch and timing.
Rita passed away in June 2009.
The Keane sisters graced many international stages and in recent years they performed on occasions with their niece Dolores and nephew Sean around Europe and in Scandinavia.
In 1985 Sarah and Rita were joined by many other family members, including their singing sister-in-law Bridie Keane (nee Comer) on the album Muintir Uí Chatháin.
In 1997 Demon Records released Rita and Sarah’s album recorded in Caherlistrane by Barry Farmer and titled At the Setting of the Sun (Mustrad Review).
In 2006 the Keane sisters made a trip to Cork to collect a Life Achievement Award from TG4.
Since the death of her sister Rita, Sarah was lonely but still continued to take an interest in music and as recently as September she was present at a concert given by Dolores for the opening of the Tuam Trad Festival.