Paddy O’Brien is regarded by serious players and collectors of Irish traditional music as one of the tradition’s most important repositories; in a career that spans nearly forty years, he has accumulated nearly 4,000 compositions—jigs, reels, hornpipes, airs, and marches, including many rare and unusual tunes.
His collection, all the more remarkable because it is stored in his head, is the result of many years of careful listening, diligent practice, and sharing tunes with people for the sake of the music itself.
A product of County Offaly in the midlands of Ireland, Paddy traveled the countryside as a young man to spend time with older players, absorbing music and the accompanying oral tradition. His early influences came from many players he met in sessions, including Joe Delaney and Dan Cleary of Offaly, Donegal fiddler John Doherty, Paddy Fahy, Eddie Kelly from Galway, Frank McCollum of Antrim, Seán Ryan from Tipperary, and Johnny Henry from Mayo, among hosts of others.
In the 1950s and 60s in Ireland, the radio also played a large part in the stimulation of interest in traditional music; he listened diligently to programs likeCéilí House, and A Job of Journeywork, produced by Ciarán MacMathúna.
On this recording he has included a lot of compositions by fiddlers Paddy Fahy and Sean Ryan. Some rare versions of tunes tie it all together, and are softened into submission by three wonderful songs from Erin Hart.