MIXING THE PUNCH
1. Reels: The Tinker's Occupation / The Rambling Reel
2. Jigs: The Hearty Boys of Ballymote / Young Tom Ennis
3. Reels: Tossing the Feathers in County Clare / The Shores of Donegal
4. Reels: Sean Ryan's / Bitin' Bread and Atin' It
5. Jigs: The Trip to Galway / Mixing the Punch
6. Slow air: The Flight of the Wild Geese
7. Reels: Arthur Darley's / The Glen of Aherlow
8. Jigs (Felim Egan): Michael Doherty's / The Western Road
9. Polkas: The Wooden City Polkas
10. Reels: Connemara Stockings / The Union Reel
11. Jigs: Apples in Winter / Sliabh Russell
12. Reels: The Fashion That The Ladies Wore / Cormac Lunny's
13. Hornpipes: Poll Ha'penny / Gerry Egan's
14. Jigs: The Humours of Rahey /The Rambling Pitchfork
15. Reels: Imelda Roland's / The Flags of Dublin / Paddy from Donegal
16. Jigs: The Boys of the Town / The Hag with the Money
17. Reels: The Crosses of Annagh / Tom Doherty's
Click on underlined titles to hear mp3 sound samples
are delighted to announce our release of this brilliant CD.
MIXING THE PUNCH
PADDY O'BRIEN, Button accordion
TERESA BAKER, Piano
GUEST ARTIST, FELIM EGAN, Button accordion
Paddy O'Brien, the All-Ireland accordion champion renowned as one of the most powerful and passionate players of Irish traditional music today, celebrates the release of his second solo recording, MIXING THE PUNCH.
MIXING THE PUNCH features Paddy O'Brien playing his old 1947 Paolo Soprani button accordion (an instrument that once belonged to legendary Dublin musician Sonny Brogan). The new CD offers a wide mixture of jigs, reels, and hornpipes, one slow air, and one selection of polkas, which are Paddy's own compositions. The tunes included are particular versions from Counties Clare and Donegal, or settings from players Paddy has known over the years, and filtered through his own taste and musical expression.
Paddy is accompanied on MIXING THE PUNCH by Teresa Baker, a wonderful piano player who hails from Portland, Oregon. Fellow Offalyman, Felim Egan from Cloghan, plays a selection of jigs on solo accordion as a guest artist.
A product of County Offaly in the midlands of Ireland, 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 the last half-century, Paddy has earned a reputation as a walking encyclopedia of Irish traditional music; according to conservative estimates, he carries in his head more than 3,000 Irish melodiesjigs, reels, hornpipes, airs, and marches, including many rare and unusual tunes. His mastery of the two-row button accordion was also acknowledged through prestigious awards: he was named Direachtas champion four times, and All-Ireland senior accordion champion in 1975.
Paddy's particular skill is in remembering not just melodies, but particular individual and regional settings learned from older players who are now gone. He has made his mark on Irish traditional music in many different ways: through live performances with some of Ireland's best-loved traditional bands, through classic recordings in the tradition; and, not least of all, through his work on The Paddy O'Brien Tune Collection: A Personal Treasury of Irish Traditional Music, a monumental undertaking that documents 1,000 melodies from his repertoire.
Paddy is also known for putting his own distinct stamp on the music of the groups he has founded: Bowhand, Hill 16, Chulrua, The Doon Ceili Band, and O'Rourke's Feast. He has worked to create a distinct sound with each group, in the process earning major accolades in the world of Irish traditional music.
In Ireland, Paddy played and recorded with the famed Castle Ceili Band and Ceoltoiri Laighean. In 1978, he began playing regularly in the United States, in Washington DC, Saint Louis, Saint Paul, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and many places between. He has been featured on six recordings with Shanachie Records since 1978, including two with fiddler James Kelly and guitarist/singer Daithf Sproule, which are now considered iconic examples of Irish traditional music all around the world. In 1988 Paddy released his first solo album, Stranger at the Gate, on the Green Linnet label (and recently re-released by Compass Records). His most recent recordings include The Sailor's Cravat, with fiddler Tom Schaefer, bouzouki player Paul Wehling, and singer Erin Hart (who happens to be his wife); and a new solo CD, Mixing the Punch. Both of these recent recordings are available from Copperplate.
Paddy has taught at the Willie Clancy Summer School held in Milltown Malbay, County Clare, Goderich Celtic College, The Swannanoa Gathering, and the Catskills Irish Arts Week, and served several times as a master artist in the Minnesota State Arts Board Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program. Since 1994, he has received a number of prestigious fellowships and grants tc support his work with traditional musicians, and The Paddy O'Brien Tune Collection.
"In its recalling of past masters, in its thoughtful and well-crafted performances, this recording is at once a wakeup call and a reminder of the things that matter in Irish traditional music." Irish Music Magazine
"The music. Button box wizard Paddy O'Brien gets it. Really gets it. 'What I like inra musician now,' states Paddy, "is the one who plays the nicest tune, even more than the technical musicianship." In that one sentence the legendary Offaly born button box player encapsulates a life spent in the center and soul of Irish music. And that center is the music itself. Not the current fashion. Not the current 'hot' group. Not 'the buzz.'The music. Period. Full stop." Irish Music Magazine
A native of Missouri, now resident in Portland, Oregon, Teresa Baker has been playing Irish traditional music on the tin whistle and piano for many years. She will sing if provoked. Teresa has performed at the Alaska Folk Festival, Portland's "Art in the Pearl" Kell's Irish Pub Festivals, and countless dances, weddings and parties.
Button accordion virtuoso Felim Egan hails from Cloghan in County Offaly. Born into an accomplished musical family, Felim began playing at the age of four. Tutored first by his father and then later by the legendary Irish fiddler Dan Cleary, Felim spent his youth in Ireland competing in numerous competitions on button accordion and bodhran (Irish hand drum).
Also by Paddy O'Brien: The Sailor's Cravat
The Living Tradition
Paddy OBrien, originally from County Offaly, is, by any standard you care to mention, one of the outstanding players of the two-row button accordion, with a string of awards to his name. He is also a prodigious collector of tunes, with an ability to retain regional variations and styles, as well as recalling the individual techniques of players who have now left us. He is quoted as saying that he likes musicians who play the nicest tunes even more than those who have technical musicianship surely the sort of thing that can only be said by someone whose own technical musicianship is an absolute given.
Paddys technical playing gives some of the cleanest, clearest playing that you could hope for, but never at the expense of the heart and soul of the tunes. Each set here involves the listener straight away, and you just know that theres been a lot of thought put into what youre hearing, so that everything sounds just right. There is a lightness of touch here that is extraordinary and a passion for the music that is evident.
The tune sets take
us on a tour all round Ireland, with Paddys playing reflecting the regional
styles perfectly. Mostly jigs and reels, as you might expect, with hornpipes,
polkas and slow airs thrown in for good balance, this selection really is a
showcase to treasure.
Teresa Baker provides piano accompaniment, and her non-obtrusive, complementary style should be a lesson to any who aspire to the genre. Theres a guest appearance from fellow-Offaly man Felim Egan as well, to add some extras to this really splendid production. Class this as essential listening. Gordon Potter