IRISH MUSIC NIGHT’S Big Names, Small Room Series:  Paddy O’Brien & Dáithí Sproule

Paddy O’Brien, Button Accordion A product of County Offaly in the midlands of Ireland, Paddy O’Brien is regarded by serious players and collectors of Irish traditional music as one of the tradition’s most important repositories; in a musical career that spans nearly forty years, he has collected more than 3,000 compositions—jigs, reels, hornpipes, airs, and marches, including many rare and unusual tunes. His mastery of the two-row button accordion was also acknowledged through prestigious awards: he was named Oireachtas champion four times, and All-Ireland senior accordion champion in 1975. In Ireland, he played and recorded with the famed Castle Ceili Band and Ceoltoiri Laighean. In 1978, Paddy began playing regularly in the United States, in Washington DC, Saint Louis, Saint Paul, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and many places between. He has been featured on six recordings with Shanachie Records since 1978, and in 1988 released his first solo album, Stranger at the Gate, on the Green Linnet label (and recently re-released by Compass Records). His most recent recordings include The Sailor’s Cravat, with fiddler Tom Schaefer, bouzouki player Paul Wehling, and singer Erin Hart (who happens to be his wife); and a new solo CD, Mixing the Punch. Both of these recent recordings are available from New Folk Records/Cló Iar-Chonnacht. Paddy has taught at the prestigious Willie Clancy Summer School held in Milltown Malbay, County Clare, Goderich Celtic College, The Swannanoa Gathering, and the Catskills Irish Arts Week, and has served several times as a master artist in the Minnesota State Arts Board Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program. Since 1994, he has received a number of grants and fellowships to undertake an unprecedented project, recording and cataloging 1,000 tunes from his vast repertoire of traditional music; the result of that effort, The Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection: A Personal Treasury of Irish Traditional Music, has received accolades from players of Irish music around the world. In 2012, Paddy was selected as Ireland’s TG4 Gradam Ceoil Cumadóir, or Traditional Composer of the Year, among the highest honors in Irish traditional music.


Dáithí Sproule of Derry, whose first group was the legendary Skara Brae, has lived for many years in Minnesota. He is one of Irish music’s most respected guitar accompanists, and one of the first guitarists to develop DADGAD tuning for Irish music. He is also a fine singer in English and Irish.

Dáithí has performed and recorded with two highly influential traditional music trios: Bowhand (with James Kelly and Paddy O’Brien) and Trian (with Liz Carroll and Billy McComiskey), as well as providing accompaniment for recordings by Tommy Peoples, Seamus and Manus McGuire, Liz Carroll, Paddy O’Brien and others. He has performed around the world with the Irish supergroup Altan, and continues to tour and record with Altan, Randal Bays and James Keane (under the name Fingal), and several Minnesota-based musicians including Laura MacKenzie and Jode and Kate Dowling. Dáithí’s original compositions have been recorded by Skara Brae, the Bothy Band, Altan, Trian, Liz Carroll, Aoife Clancy and others.

Sproule is known for his innovative arrangements of traditional songs, and in 1995 he released his first solo album, A Heart Made of Glass, with songs in English and Irish. In 2008 he released an instrumental guitar album, The Crow In the Sun, featuring thirteen original compositions. In addition to performing and recording, Dáithí is a sought-after teacher and lecturer in subjects ranging from guitar styles and song accompaniment to Irish traditional music, language and literature.

Show @ BLUE : 7:30pm  Doors will open at 6pm for dinner.

$25 seated tickets & $15 standing room

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