Two of the finest of Sliabh Luachra’s many young musicians have teamed up and will launch a CD at the heritage centre in Scartaglin on Saturday night at 8-30pm. Bryan O’Leary and Colm Guilfoyle have been playing music together on a regular basis in recent years and they have chosen organically from their own rich ground for this recording.
Where the Bog Is is the title of the collection of 16 tracks and its name is taken from the famous one-liner by Patrick O’Keeffe in answer to a question from Ciarán MacMathúna.
Bryan O’Leary is twenty one years of age and comes from Tureencahill, a townland in the heart of Sliabh Luachra. Among his many honours rests the highly prized 2014 Young Musician of the Year Award from TG4.
Colm is a native of Kilcummin. He considers himself lucky to come from a musical family. He was introduced to music from an early age. Early influences on Colm were his mother Geraldine and aunts Noreen and Kathleen (RIP) who began to teach him the local tunes. It was from teacher, Padraig Buckley that he developed a keen interest in flute and whistle music. Padraig introduced him to a variety of regional styles while maintaining ties with the music of Sliabh Luachra.
Shortly after his grandfather, the great accordionist, Johnny O’Leary, passed away, ten-year-old Bryan started to learn the accordion from Henry Cronin at his local national school.Through his teens, he attended classes with the respected teacher and multi-instrumentalist, Nicky McAuliffe from Castleisland. He also took a great interest in his grandfather’s music, learning it by ear and researching the old recordings.
Not surprisingly, he quickly became aware of and was influenced by the music of other Sliabh Luachra stalwarts such as Denis Murphy, Julia Clifford, Patrick O’Keeffe and Paddy Cronin. In the past few years, he has also enjoyed sharing and playing music with Billy Clifford thus extending into another generation the musical links between the O’Leary and Murphy/Clifford families.
The great Sliabh Luachra accordionist Jimmy Doyle has been a pivotal part of Bryan’s musical development. Jimmy was a great friend and neighbour of Johnny O’Leary and would have learned much of his repertoire from him.
From an early age Bryan has been encouraged greatly by Jimmy, his music and style has been and continues to be a great influence on him. This has insured that the music of the region has been handed down from one generation to the next in its purest form. Other strong musical influences on Bryan’s music include Flute player Joe O’Sullivan, the late fiddle player Paudie Gleeson as well other accordion players such as: Paudie O’Connor, John Brosnan, Brendan Begely and the late Stephen Carroll.
In Colm’s case it was through his friendship with the late Sliabh Luachra, accordian player, Stephen Carroll that he became submerged in the music of the locality. Influenced by recordings of the fiddle and accordion legends of the area such as: Denis Murphy, Julia Clifford, Paddy Cronin and Johnny O Leary, and living local musicians such as flute players: Joe O’Sullivan and Billy Clifford as well as Jimmy Doyle and Paudie O’ Connor, Colm became engrossed in Sliabh Luachra Music.
Colm is keen to promote the local music through performance and has done so on numerous occasions afforded to him by RTE, TG4 and Radio na Gaelthachta. In recent years he has enjoyed playing regularly with Bryan O’Leary who shares his enthusiasm for keeping alive the tradition they hold dearly.