Doras

Paddy Keenan
Paddy Keenan's father John came from Westmeath, his mother, Mary Bravender, from Co. Cavan. Both Paddy's father and grandfather were uilleann pipers and his father was a pipe-maker. Paddy's brother Johnny was a well-known banjo player up to his death in March 2000. In 1955 the family settled in Ballyfermot, Dublin, under a government settlement scheme. Another Traveller family to settle in Ballyfermot around that time was the Fureys. Their father Ted was a fiddle player. They were neighbours and friends of the Keenan's. Johnny also taught the pipes and has been an important influenced Paddy's style. Paddy himself took up the pipes at the age of ten and at 14 played on stage in Dublin's Gaiety Theatre at a travellers' benefit show. .
He went on to play with the Johnny Snr and brothers Tommy and Brendan, a whistle player, in a group called The Pavees in a regular session in Slattery's in Dublin's Capel Street.
At 17 he travelled around Europe and England. Returning to Ireland after a few years, he began playing around Dublin with singers Micheal and Triona Ní Dhomhnaill. Fiddler Paddy Glackin then joined them followed by flute player Matt Molloy. Next came accordeon player Tony MacMahon and then Donal Lunny. They called themselves "Seachtar," the Irish word for "seven."
Seachtar's first major concert was in Dublin. They played a few more gigs around the country before Tony MacMahon left. When the rest of the band decided to turn professional Paddy Glackin was replaced by Donegal fiddler Tommy Peoples, (later replaced by fiddler Kevin Burke). Renamed The Bothy Band in 1975, they became one of the most exciting traditional groups anywhere in the Seventies. They played for the last time at the Balisodare Festival in Co Sligo in 1979.
After the break-up of the Bothy Band, Paddy Keenan spent time in Brittany and West Cork before eventually going to America and settling in the Boston area in the early 1990s. In demand in the US for festivals and coffee houses, he is also a regular visitor to Ireland and the Continent. He has composed and arranged two pieces for the soundtrack of the film Traveller. He also recorded with fiddler James Kelly.
People can't help connecting Paddy's flowing, open-fingered style of playing with that of those other great travelling pipers, Johnny and Felix Doran, but both Paddy's father and grandfather played in the same style. Although often compared to Doran, Paddy was 19 or 20 before he heard a tape of Johnny Doran's playing; his own style is a direct result of his father's teaching and influence.

Discography
Na Keen Affair, Paddy Keenan, 1996, Hot Conga
Port an Piobaire, Paddy Keenan, Gael-linn
Doublin', Paddy Glackin and Paddy Keenan, 1979, Tara, CD & LP

 


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