Liam Looks at the Changing Styles of Paddy Cronin

Sliabh Luachra Immersion: Liam O'Connor visiting Patrick O'Keeffe's old school at Glountane during a recent visit there. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Sliabh Luachra Immersion: Liam O’Connor visiting Patrick O’Keeffe’s old school at Glountane during a recent visit there. ©Photograph: John Reidy

If the inhabitants of Sliabh Luachra ever need an affirmation for what we have in the air, in the water, in the music and in the poetry of our spoken word – let us pause and wonder why the initiated from the likes of Séamus Ennis to Peter Browne spent and spend so much time immersed in the culture and music of the area down here.

Why the late Ciarán MacMathúna threw his arms in the air in The Crown Hotel one Sunday evening in October 1993 and implored all within earshot to ‘mind your music.’

Exalted Company

On Saturday night in Scartaglin, a decorated, young, Dublin fiddle player, Liam O’Connor will join the exalted company of the aforementioned in making the trip to Scart with the music of the locality in mind.

None of these people come empty handed. They bring that affirmation in bucket-loads with them. Some have even been known to ask if we realise what we have here at all.

Members of the O'Connor family from Dublin: Mick,  Niamh, Liam and Anne pictured with Matt Cranitch and PJ Teahan, World Fiddle Day co-organiser on a visit to Patrick O'Keeffe's during world Fiddle Day 2015. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Members of the O’Connor family from Dublin: Mick, Niamh, Liam and Anne pictured with Matt Cranitch and PJ Teahan, World Fiddle Day co-organiser on a visit to Patrick O’Keeffe’s during world Fiddle Day 2015. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Arms in the Air

I think that’s what Ciarán MacMathúna was at when he threw his arms in the air that evening as himself and his RTÉ Radio One colleague, Peter Browne were launching a CD of the music of ‘The Master’ O’Keeffe and the festival in his honour.

On this Saturday night, March 25th the Handed Down lecture and concert will feature an all-star line up at Scartaglin Heritage Centre.

The subject on this occasion will be the late Paddy Cronin (1925 – 2014) of Raeboy, Gneeveguilla – who was widely acknowledged as one of Ireland’s greatest fiddle players.

Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival 28-10-2011
The late Paddy Cronin (1925 – 2014) will be the subject of Liam O’Connor’s lecture in the Handed Down series in Scartaglin on Saturday night. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Eclectic Repertoire

With the music of his native Sliabh Luachra at its heart, Paddy’s repertoire was eclectic due to long periods of exile in the USA and Killarney.

Brilliant Dublin fiddler, Liam O’Connor will deliver the lecture and there is a fine programme of music and song to entertain the crowds over the course of the night.

“We’re delighted to welcome 2002 TG4, Young Traditional Musician of the Year winner, Liam O’Connor back to Scartaglin for this special Handed Down night on Paddy Cronin.

“Liam’s presentation will look at the way Paddy’s style evolved from recordings of his playing. From learning the fiddle as a boy from Patrick O’Keeffe to emigrating to the USA where he fell under the influence of the Sligo tradition,” said Handed Down co-founder, PJ Teahan.

Audio and Video Footage

The lecture with be punctuated by audio and video footage of an interview Liam made with Paddy in 2012. “Our guests on the night are the master box player and radio presenter, Danny O’Mahony along with Con Moynihan, Aidan Connolly and Padraig Moynihan.

“Our returning, young musicians on this occasion are the group Strings from North Cork with their teacher, Emer Twomey.

Oireachtas Winner

“We’ll have songs with Oireachtas winner, Nollaig Ni Laoire. Nollaig has strong Scartaglin connections as all her family competed at Scart Feile Cheoil when visiting her uncle Jerry who lived in the village and was married to Joan Tangney.

“Strings will play at 8pm sharp and there are 25 of them on fiddle and they will play a 20 minute tribute to Paddy Cronin from the music of his recordings,” said PJ.

Patrons are asked to be in their seats early as the event will start at 8pm sharp.


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