The TG4 Gradam Ceoil Young Traditional Musician of the Year, Bryan O’Leary and friends will play at Browne’s Bar on this Saturday night, March 1 from 9-30pm. Host, Peter Browne is preparing a big Sliabh Luachra welcome for the young hero from the very heartland of the culturally, musically framed area.
Writing in the Irish Times just after the announcement of Bryan’s award, Castleisland native, Siobhan Long summed him and his music thus:
“Disentangling the impact of nature and nurture would be impossible in his case: he is a grandson of the late Sliabh Luachra master of the accordion Johnny O’Leary, of whose voluminous repertoire it was remarked that the only way to stop him from playing tunes previously unheard would have been to shoot him.
Johnny O’Leary’s inventive playing style has left a deep impression on his grandson. “With a lot of accordion players, you can listen to them and copy what they do, note for note, but when Johnny was playing he did something different every time,” says Bryan. I don’t think there’s anyone who can really sound bang on like him. I know that I can’t anyway.”
A musician can hardly emerge from Sliabh Luachra without having a taste for dance music, and O’Leary admits to a primal attraction to the polkas and slides of his home place. From childhood, he was a regular visitor at the famed Dan Connell’s pub in Knocknagree, Co Cork, a mecca for generations of dancers. He is wary of the demands dancers make on musicians these days, however. There’s a constant pull and push between those on the dance floor and the musicians who bring those polkas and slides to life.”
They’re expecting a crowd at Browne’s on Saturday night. It’s usually no harm to be there early on occasions like this.