Musical Honours at Home and Abroad for P.J.

At the unveiling of rare photographs of Patrick O’Keeffe in Scartaglin on World Fiddle Day 2016 were from left: Jackie Daly, PJ Teahan, co-organiser and  Matt Cranitch. ©Photograph: John Reidy 21-5-2016
The water-colour cover by Pam Bozzi of The Doctor is In – on which PJ Teahan’s tune ‘The River Maine’ is included. Click on the image to hear the tune.

Dennis Botzer is a well known musician in the Maryland / Washington DC area of the USA. From the late seventies he has played fiddle, piano, guitar and sang in groups like the Boiling Spuds, Mitchelstown and the Hedgerows to name a few and is a regular at great sessions in that neck of the woods.

He has released four CDs to date and his latest, with a pandemic influenced title, is called The Doctor is In.

Unmistakably Castleisland

Nestled amongst the tune titles is a local and unmistakably Castleisland composition The River Maine written by PJ Teahan.

This waltz was named for a video project that The Maine Valley Post produced back in 2013 with environmentalist Sean Fagan – who looked at life along the town stretch of the river.

The tune was composed in 2012. Then, during a late night tune at the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in October 2013 visiting honeymoon couple Crystal Bailey and Patrick Cavanagh heard P.J Teahan playing it.

Brought it All Back Home

They brought it all back home, liked it enough to learn it and started playing it in the Washington DC sessions.

A message to P.J. in 2014 simply said: “The folks here love your tune and everyone is playing it.”

This year the message changed to: “The River Maine has reached America and permission is requested to record it,”

The request was received with a sense of mild shock and considered a fantastic honour by its composer.

The tune, its origins and source are acknowledged there in the sleeve notes: “The River Maine (waltz) written by PJ Teahan, we learned this tune from Patrick Cavanagh and Crystal Bailey who brought it back from their travels in Castleisland, Co. Kerry.”

Great Tune Selections

Dennis Botzer is joined by concertina player Pam Bozzi and the recording is filled with great tune selections.

His playing has been described as ‘outstanding and reminiscent of the late Micheál Ó Suilleabháin who was clearly an influence on his style.’

The CD is available to purchase online from Dennis Botzer via his Facebook page or by Messenger and is a lovely packaged product with original artwork paintings by Pam Bozzi.

US Honour Finds a Comrade at Home

PJ’s ‘request to record’ honour has found an equally impressive comrade on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

This is in a Jackie Daly composed tune for and named in honour of PJ and for what he’s doing for the ceol áitiúil and the culture with his Scart based Handed Down and World Fiddle Day initiatives.

The tune called PJ Teahan’s Jig is one of over 220 polkas, slides, jigs and reels composed by the Kanturk musical genius and ready to be published in book form over the coming weeks.

Handed Down Night in Scart

PJ’s tune got an airing, ‘a world premiere’ as Jackie announced it, in a session on the eve of the May 19th World Fiddle Day 2018 in Scart when Jackie and Matt Cranitch topped the guest list.

It was a nice surprise for PJ then and it hasn’t lost an ounce of its charm since.

PJ learned just last week that it’s now part of a forthcoming book on which the print of Matt’s hand will also be found.

And for fans and followers of the Handed Down nights, the good news is that the series is planning a return to the stage in Scart in early 2022.

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