Paddy O'Brien's Memoir
After being awarded the Gradam Ceoil Traditional Composer of the Year Award earlier in the year, the two-row button accordion player, tune collector, teacher and composer Paddy O’Brien has ended the year publishing a memoir.
The Road from Castlebarnagh includes this anecdote about a family friend, Mick, visiting the house in Offaly, and the young O’Brien being forced to play a tune:
… I was in no mood for playing because I was tired of my small repertoire. However, after my father pressed me a little I grabbed the box and did a bit of ﬁngering on its keyboard. The sound of a few notes reminded me of a jig called ‘The Geese in the Bog’ that I hadn’t thought of in months. I began playing the tune and it went better than expected. When I’d ﬁnished my father said, ‘That’s a great one, a haymaker. What do you think, Mick?’
Mick didn’t say anything and his silence didn’t go unnoticed by any of us. ‘Do you like music?’ my father asked him.
Without a moment’s hesitation Mick replied, ‘I hate it.’ My father was visibly shocked. He looked at Mick like he had two heads. ‘Do you like any kind of music at all?’
‘None of it,’ said Mick.
I put away my instrument quickly and went outside to the haggard and from there I walked to the bog to clear my head. I had never met anyone who disliked music, not just my music but other kinds of music as well. It was unbelievable! I thought about it and wondered if something strange had happened to Mick while he was living in England. When I returned to the house Mick had gone back to Daingean. ‘Good Christ,’ my father was saying, ‘I never thought such a man existed.’
‘Just imagine,’ said my mother, ‘not likin’ music. It’s beyond me to even think about it!’ As for myself, I couldn’t imagine it either.
The book is published by Orpen Press with a foreword by Martin Hayes.
Published on 30 November 2012