Arts Week with Judy Murphy
Pádraic Keane de Maree was seven when he started playing uilleann pipes – a learning set, he explains. His original instrument was the tin whistle, but he quickly turned to pipes, which are a family tradition on both sides. Pádraic’s father, Tommy Keane, is a renowned recorder player and member of na Pióbairí Uilleann, who has worked with greats of Irish music including Liam Clancy, Liam O ‘Flynn and Alec Finn de Danann, as well than with Elvis Costello. . Pádraic’s mother, Jacqueline McCarthy, plays the concertina and her father, Tommy McCarthy, was a highly regarded West Clare bagpipe, whistle and concertina player. He and his wife, Kathleen, spent many years in London, raising their family before returning to live in Miltown Malbay.
London-born Jacqueline and her husband Tommy, who is from Waterford, moved to Maree in the late 1980s and music was everywhere as they raised their three children. Pádraic has an older sister, Siobhán, and a twin, Maisie, who both play the violin and “a bit of concertina”, while the violin is his second instrument.
Pádraic, a teacher at Coolarne National School, Turloughmore, has now added his link to the family piping chain with his debut album, In Full Tune. It’ll have an official launch in the city’s Crane Bar later in the spring, when the lockdown eases, but it’s available for purchase now.
Pádraic, 31, won the Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana in the TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2011 when he was only 19 years old, making him one of the youngest recipients of this distinction. He has toured throughout Ireland and the United States as a soloist with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and has collaborated with the late composer and pianist Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, who once jokingly described uilleann pipes as ” like an octopus ”, given the many elements.
To find out more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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