ORIGINALLY, born in Limerick City my family later moved to Co. Clare where I attended Primary and Secondary School.
Following my Degree in Anthropology and Spanish at NUI Maynooth, Co. Kildare, I spent four years at the University of Limerick (UL) studying for a Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology. I grew up in a pub, with my father being a full- time musician, so I have been doing music in bars really since I was 15 years old. I only ever really decided to pursue it more seriously, however, when in my early 20s.
My personal policy is never to encourage people to do music.
If they have already started, and love it, I will support them all day long but you have to be passionate about it in the first place. Writing music takes time, a lot of time, and the more you put into it the more you get out of it. After that it comes down to the unique talents of the musicians and the writers themselves.
Currently, I am the lead singer with Los Paddys De Las Pampas.
We are a musical group, based in Co. Clare that combine Irish traditional music with South American folk and rhythm. In fact, it was at UL that I first met our lead guitarist Seán O’Brien. Other members include: Tessa O’Connor, Adam Shapiro, Angelo Heart, Paddy Egan, Kirsten Allstaff, James Sheppard and Eddy Guilloteau. Los Paddys made the national news recently for our lead guitar player filming a ‘Slash’ like guitar solo on the Ennistymon Cascades Waterfalls much to the chagrin of the Co. Clare Water Safety Officer. However, we subsequently used the solo in our new music video called ‘The Fall of Man’. By mixing Cumbias with reels and sambas we have developed a truly unique and original sound.
We have, pretty much, made-up our own kind of musical fusion. Usually, there is an element of traditional Irish music, an element of South American music, (that can range from a baseline to a new instrument) and then there is an original song, often (but not always) with the theme of South America and its Irish connections. With the members of the band on a kind of rotation, (some are only available for a few months of the year) there is always a fresh influence coming in and adding new ideas to the mix.
We produced our first album called ‘Come Home’ last summer and released it at Christmas time.
The recording of this album required co-ordinating ten musicians from five different countries who all had to be in Ireland for the same two week period. These included a third generation Argentinean Irish Charango and Ronroco player called Tommy Nelson and other musicians from Ireland, Scotland, Australia, South Africa, and France. However, we sent them the recording material to practice in advance via E-mail. Despite this, it was a very complicated and carefully organised project, but very good fun as well with lots of room for creative experimentation. This recording was funded as part of a ‘The Gathering’ Project.
Our decision to have so many performers was deliberate as the first album was more of a multicultural project.
We are currently writing songs for our second album which we hope to record next summer. The new songs are a little more streamlined as we now know what our sound is. Indeed, we have evolved to a stage where we know basically what a Los Paddy’s song should sound like. In this regard, we are very excited to have been announced to headline the closing of the ‘Even The Olives Were Bleeding’ event in Limerick. This commemorates all those who served in the Spanish Civil War. We, also, have The Clare Harvest Banquet, and a long tour of Brittany coming-up next St. Patrick’s Day, amongst other things.
My role in the group is to compose songs, write lyrics and to arrange the basic song structures.
However, we arrange the songs together with people free to write their own parts. We all give feedback so everyone is happy with the finished product. I first started writing songs with a friend of mine in Clare, and people seemed to really like them. That was encouragement enough to write more. I am a folk musician and a song writer, first and foremost rather than being a singer songwriter. My songs have always been more storytelling-based than anything else, usually, with the moral compass a little bit off centre. I like to write about complicated emotional situations, but in very broad simple terms, so the person listening can easily connect with them.
We are all working very hard at the moment to get Los Paddys to another level as we really believe in the music and the vibe.
Indeed, the release of our new music video has already earned us some new contacts and concerts. The addition of dancers is yet another dimension to our shows. Not only are the sounds being mixed but so, also, are the dance steps, with Flamenco (Sonia Posada) and Irish styles (Lenka Hoffmannova) blending seamlessly!
Los Paddys De Las Pampas will perform in Limerick on September 14, in a concert which commemorates all those who fought in the Spanish Civil War. For more information please see: www.limerickcityofculture.ie/content/even-olives-were-bleeding. Information on the band can be accessed at: www.lospaddysdelaspampas.com