The CD cover to Na Keen Affair which is dedicated to his mother, Mary Bravender Keenan and his children.























Seamus Creagh playing the fiddle (photo by Marie-Annick Desplanque)











Fergus O'Byrne (Photo by Rick West)





















Don Walsh (Photo by Rick West)























"Slow Ayre For The Avalon: Portrait of the poet Des Walsh, Painting by Gerald Squires












The "Na Keen Affair" CD


As I walked into a concert in a packed Dublin venue, a friend and music lover remarked that Paddy Keenan was playing on stage as well as ever. When I mentioned I had spoken to Paddy only the previous day in Boston, a mixture of disbelief and confusion set in. Both of us edged closer to the stage to see the apparition which was, in fact, a fine young piper playing Colonel Frazier in the same vibrant and energetic style associated with Paddy. This incident is an example of Paddy's seminal influence on Irish music and on a younger generation of pipers in particular.

I first met Paddy in the mid' 70s in the middle of the Bothy Band era - an exciting and innovative perused in Irish music The Bothy Band represented a new, fresh and experimental music and Paddy was a key figure in developing the band's unique driving rhythm. Around that rime Paddy recorded his first solo album (Gael-Linn, 1975) which remains a landmark in piping Although he was busy on the road roaring or recording, Paddy was generous with his rime for aspiring pipers like myself, with hints on playing and reed making. After the demise of the Bothy Band, Paddy embarked on a solo career, playing in Ireland and Europe with more solo and duet recordings. He eventually moved to the US and settled in the Boston area, where he has become an established figure in the New England Irish music scene. As well as playing around Boston, Paddy has been in demand through out North America at both large festivals and small coffeehouses.

Although much has been said and written about the influence of the famous Doran brothers, and Johnny in particular, on Paddy's music and piping style, Paddy cites his father, the late John Keenan, as his mentor. John Keenan was an admirer of the Dorans and communicated their style and choice of tunes to Paddy and his brothers. Paddy, however, has developed his own unique style, molded not only from the Dorans through his father, but also from his contact with other traditional musicians. His piping combines passion with tight control, fluency with technical brilliance, as in Rakish Paddy (Track 12) which exemplifies Paddy's mastery of the instrument. On this album Paddy is joined by friends from Ireland and Newfoundland to produce an exhilarating selection of dance music and evocative slow airs.

by Padriac MacMathúna


Indicates mp3 audio samples


Land of the Fish
For Paddy Keenan

Across centuries of salt-drenched myths,
this is where we live now,
this is where we belong,
our hearts lined with fragments,
but like the lichen-covered rock,
unaffected by storm.

Our souls are in every boulder
that inches its way to the sea,
we rule the meadows they
have claimed and the
gulls that rest there.

We sing to the drowned,
tear-soaked families and
cling to the broken truths that
made us call this home, our voices
crying out over the pounding waves,
only to be blown back to a sparrow's throat,
to have the melody cradled
in the arms of spruce and wind.
We are the songs of the weather.

Back then, when these harbours
showed themselves only to
St. Brendan and the Beothuck,
we came for fish, their scales becoming outs,
their justice becoming ours.

Back then, when the echoes of a
single note would ring out and
caress our granite graves,
we would sing ourselves to sleep,
women would kiss the ocean,
their mouths smoothing the water that has
called us all back, to this place,
to hear that note again, that
will sound in our hearts forever.

by Des Walsh


1. Reels

Jenny's Wedding\Gregg's Pipes

Two exciting reels to set the tone with Paddy being joined by an old friend,fiddle player Seamus Creagh, who made Newfoundland his home several years before returning to live in Cork, where he is a central figure in the local music scene. Jenny's Wedding is an old piping tune first published in Boston in Ryans Mammoth Collection (RMC) in 1883. Who Gregg was remains a mystery, but the tune came originally from Scotland to Ireland around 1760 and is found in Ceol Rince na hEireann (CREI, No. 96). Still a favorite in sessions around Ireland and North America, it owes its popularity in part to the playing of the Bothy Band, a dominant musical influence in the 1970s, of whom Paddy was a founding member and leading force.

2. Hornpipe

Cuckoo's Nest

This hornpipe is given great lift and bounce by Paddy in this recording. This is both a song-air and hornpipe collected originally by Bunting in the 18th century and later Perrie in the 19th century, published in the latter's Ancient Music of Ireland (1840).

3. Reels -

The Flagstone of Memories (V. Broderick)
/Anderson's/Molly Bawn

The Flagstone reel comes from the pen of the prolific and affable Galway flute player Vincent Broderick, who with his late brother Peter was an integral part of the Kincora and Eamonn Ceant Ceili bands. The Broderick legacy continues with Pat, a fine piper and a close friend of Paddy, who is based in his native Galway.  Andersons is a popular reel from the Sligo tradition, found as No. 163 in CRE, vol.l. Molly Bawn was first recorded in RMC as No. 51.

4. Air

Kildevil Air (Gerry Strong)

A lyrical and evocative air from the pen of Gerry Strong in honor of site  of the festival where he performed in his native Newfoundland where he first met alot of his musical comrades. Gerry (whistle) and Paddy (low whistle) interweave through this air with the tasteful backing strings of Tommy O'Sullivan and haunting keyboards of Don Walsh.

5. Reels

Corner House/Paddy Taylors (Tripping up the Stairs)/Reavy's

This set starts with The Corner House reel played by Tommy Peoples, former member of the Bothy Band, originally from Donegal and now living in Claire for over two decades. Tripping up the Stairs is associated with the late Paddy Taylor, a great flute player who was a central figure in the Irish music scene in London from the 1950s until the 1970s. The third tune comes from Ed Reavey, an accomplished fiddle player who was born in Ireland but spent most of his life in Philadelphia. Reavey composed hundreds of tunes, many of which have become popular for recording and sessions.

6. Singles

Herb Reids/She Said She Couldn't Dance/Shootin' the Bull

Three dance tunes, native of Newfoundland. Although singles are more usually associated with the fiddle than pipes, Paddy shows how well they can be rendered on the chanter. The third, Shootin' the Bull, was written by Goeff Painting.

7. Hornpipes

Dinny O'Brien's/Garden of Daisies

Although traditional Irish music was developed primarily for country house dances, the population shift within Ireland in the last 40 years has seen Dublin city emerge as a major center for music. Several families, including Kelly, Mulligans, Rowsomes, Potts and Keenans, have all contributed to the development of the vibrant musical scene in the capitol city. Another such family to leave its mark has been the O'Brien family, which boasts pipers, fiddle and flute players, headed by the father figure Dinny, an accordian player of renown within Dublin and far afield. The Garden of Daisies is a great melodic set dance sadly often neglected in recent years. According to Capt. Francis O'Neill, Patsy Touhey heard it from a fiddle player on his arrival in Boston from Ireland. The latter had heard it in turn from Stephenson, the Kerry piper. It can be found as No. 47 in Pat Mitchell and Jackie Small's fascinating collection "The Piping of Patsy Touhey" (PPT, Na Piobairi Uilleann, 1986).

8. Reels

Andy McGanns/The Old Copperplate

Seamus Creagh and Niall Vallely join Paddy in a tune named after the legendary New York fiddler player Andy McGann. McGann represents a direct link with the music of Michael Coleman (whom he knew in the 1940s) and the current generation of Irish American musicians. The Old and the New Copperplate reels are reliables in sessions and remain popular because of their vitality and suitability for set dancing.

9. Air

Johnny's Tune, For The Avalon (P. Keenan)

Johnny's Tune, written for Paddy's father, was inspired by the landscape near Gallows Cove on the northeast coast of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula.  Paddy's father, John Keenan, was a seminal influence in Paddy's life and music. John himself was a multi-instrumentalist and he imparted this passion for music and for piping in particular to all his family, including Johnny, Brendan and Thomas, all of whom have made their mark in Irish Music. Paddy plays a haunting melancholic and gripping tribute to his father and teacher, who sadly died too young in 1992.

10. Reels

Scotch Mary/Earls Chair/Pigeon on the Gate

Niall Vallely launches into a lively Scotch Mary (PPT, No. 9, M1 1510) and is joined by Paddy for The Earl's Chair (CRE, vol. 1, No. 142). A few versions of the Pigeon on the Gate exist and this version has been popularized over the years by the Cork flute player Conal O'Grada. This track illustrates again the tight combination of pipes and concertina playing three common tunes.

11. Jig

Out on the Ocean

Paddy starts in the conventional key of D and then switches to A, a change in key that gives extra colour and lift to this jig. O'Neill had it as No. 795 in his Music of Ireland collection.


Bonny Kate/Rakish Paddy/Ivy Leaf

Paddy starts the final set with Bonnie Kate (CRE1 No. 176), a favorite of Michael Coleman and later published in Breathnach, where reference is made to its Scottish origin before reaching Ireland in the mid-18rh century. This is followed by a remarkable and exhilarating Rakish Paddy, also hailing from mid-18th century Scotland and closely associated with famous traveling pipers Johnny and Felix Doran. Paddy takes Rakish Paddy beyond Dorans' historical rendition and puts his own unique style on this classic piping tune, combining an ecstatic, flowing and exciting quality with brilliantly controlled, tight playing. Don Walsh and Jim Fidler join in to conclude this set with a vibrant version of another of Paddy's favorites, The Ivy Leaf (RMC No. 89, PPT No. 24, DMI 627).


Produced by Paddy Keenan and Don Walsh
Arranged by Paddy Keenan
Recorded at Dadyeen Studios, St. Johns, Newfoundland
Engineered by Don Walsh

Arty McGlynn recorded at Rescue Music Studio, West Cork, Ireland
Engineered by Paddy McNicoll

Tommy Peoples, Niall Vallely and Tommy O'Sullivan recorded at West One, Galway, Ireland Engineered by Pat Neary

Mixed by Neil Bishop at Dadyeen Studios, St. Johns, Newfoundland except for track 9, re-recorded and mixed at New Solution Studios, Maine

Engineered by Jay Hardy
Keyboards by Mick Felder
Mixed by Paddy Keenan and Jay Hardy

Irish Musicians
Arty McGlynn-Guitar (all tracks, except 4,6,9,12);
Tommy Peoples-Fiddle (track 5);
Seamus Creagh-Fiddle (tracks 1,2,3,6,8);
Niall Vallely-Concertina (tracks 1,3,10);
Tommy O'Sullivan-Guitar (tracks 4,7)

Newfoundland Musicians
Sandy Morris-Guitar (track 6);
Don Walsh-Keyboards (track 4), Keyboards and Bass (track 7), Bass and Guitar (track 12);
Jim Fidler-Nyabinghy Percussion (all tracks, except 4,5,8,9,bathtub on 2, hands on 8);
Gerry Strong-Whistle (track 4);
Fergus O'Byrne - Bodhran (tracks 5 and 8)

Sleeve Notes by Padriac MacMathúna
Art Direction by Mind OverDesign
Photographs by Alex Rips (front and back), Rick West,Magdalena Lofstedt and Paddy Keenan (additional photographs)

Special thanks to:

In Newfoundland

A very special thanks to Sheila Lynch, for her hospitality, generosity and friendship; Dermott O'Reilly, Francesca Swan, Jason Whelan, Margaret and Vonnie Barron, Rick West, Ray Kenny,
The Ship Inn, The St. John's Folk Club.

In Ireland

Pat and Ann Marie Broderick, Johnny Keenan

In the USA

Linda Mason for her support and help; Don Meade; Magdalena Lofstedt, for her love and for keeping me sane (almost); and Ted Anderson for the Cane.


Track Listing information and Ordering Information

Donate to The Long Grazing Acre Foundation

 Also re-issues of Paddy's Gael Linn Solo Album ,
Poirt an Phiobaire and
Na Keen Affair on Hot Conya Records are available from

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