Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Peter Browne - The Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Master: Pádraig O'Keeffe (1993)

Peter Browne - The Sliabh Luachra Fidddle Master: Pádraig O'Keeffe (Irish Music - 1993)

Another excellent biographical essay, exploring in detail the life and times of the legendary Sliabh luachra fiddler Pádraig O'Keeffe. Written by Peter Browne, it stands alone as an excellent piece, but it is the fruit of research conducted by Browne for the RTÉ broadcast The Rolling Wave in 1993. Browne presented four programmes commemmorating Pádraig O'Keeffe's life and music, which can be heard on The Rolling Wave website.

Programme 1
Programme 2
Programme 3
Programme 4



  1. What a good text - and what a guy that Padraig O'Keeffe: "For much of his life Pádraig has no fiddle, except one which he left out in the rain during a session" lol

    Of all the irish regions the music that I am most fond of is the Sliabh Luachra's. I like the variety os styles, the blend of the irish tradition with a european or scottish mood...

    By the way, I just listened to the O'Keefe's recording (mentioned in the text) of the Wounded Huzzar (The Banks Of The Danube).What a beuatiful record. Very haunting and full of soul. A very unique slow air playing , indeed!

    Well, thanks for the textes and records. Nice to see the blog back on tracks!

  2. It's interesting that you should mention the European and Scottish influences on this music, and it's certainly true in terms of the repertoire: European polkas were introduced in the mid-Eighteenth Century, and there are many Scottish marches which have been turned into polkas. But in terms of other musical traditions, I would say that Sliabh Luachra fiddling from this period shares much with the music of the Appalachians. Listen to the Denis Murphy recording and you'll se what I mean. It's an interesting coincidence, or a fascinating yet unexplained relationship...

    And you are, as always, very welcome.

  3. That's it. Polkas, in my opinion, opens the SC's sound to a more european feel (you see, even a slow air like The Wounded Huzzar, as it's second title also implies, is european "inspired" - at least in it's theme). About the scottish tunes it seems that Johnny Cope as a polka (O'Keefe recorded and I also listened on the album you posted here from Denis Doody) was a favorite there - I always knew it as the jacobite song the Tannahill Weaver's recorded!

    I think that this variety of tunes is great to keep my ears fresh and fully interested listening to a whole album (and I guess it's the same in sessions).Well, maybe after spend some months in Ireland ( - not in the SC) I will return as a "reel converted" lol. 'Till then I quite enjoy the richness of polkas, hornpipes, slow airs (love'em), jigs and reels together (at least O'Keefe played lots of reels too - as the text mentioned). Up the Blackwater! lol

    I got what you mean about the apalachian style - though I dont know if I'd de able to distinguish D. Murphy's playing from another non-SC's old time irish fiddler player (I think I would distinguish only Donegal's more straight and stacatto playing - I'm still a great filistine in irish music :)

    All The Best,