Paddy Keenan & Tommy O’Sullivan

with special guest Pete Grant

Thursday, August 28th, 2008, 7:30 pm

El Dorado Hills, CA House Concert

Reservations: (916) 934-0822

Friday, August 29th, 2008, 8 pm

Auburn, CA House Concert

Reservations: (530) 885-4292


Generally acknowledged as the most accomplished uilleann piper performing today, Paddy has been hailed as one of the most brilliant musicians of his generation. Both Paddy’s father and grandfather were uilleann pipers. Paddy himself took up the pipes at the age of ten, playing his first major concert at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, when he was 14. In the seventies, he was a founding member of the influential and highly successful Bothy Band.

The Bothy Band forever changed the face of Irish traditional music, merging a driving rhythm section with traditional Irish tunes in ways that had never been heard before. Those fortunate enough to have seen the band live have never forgotten the impression they made -- one reviewer likened the experience to “being in a jet when it suddenly whipped into full throttle along the runway.” Paddy was one of the band’s founding members, and his virtuosity on the pipes combined with the ferocity of his playing made him, in the opinion of many, its driving force. Bothy Band-mate Donal Lunny once described Paddy as “the Jimi Hendrix of the pipes”.

“In Irish music there are legends and legends and then there’s Paddy Keenan. Paddy Keenan’s playing is now at its peak.” - John O’Regan -- Rock'n Reel


Born in London into a family with their roots deep in the heart of the West Kerry Gaeltacht.Tommy was raised in a melting pot of sounds from the rhythms of The Beatles on the radio and his parents Irish records on the turntable. Tommy was always a keen singer and by the time the family moved back to West Kerry in 1972 he had already begun playing guitar.By his mid teens he started performing locally in Dingle,already a popular tourist destination largely due to the movie epic ‘Ryan’s Daughter’which was filmed in the locality.Encouraged by local publican and musician Fergus Flaherty,Tommy started to explore the world of traditional music.He dabbled with open guitar tunings and listened to everybody from Paul Brady and Dick Gaughan,to the acclaimed West Kerry musicians The Begley Family.Through trial and error he eventually settled into the DADGAD tuning,a trademark sound of his later recordings.In 1982,with Ireland in deep recession,Tommy again moved to London.There,amongst the swell of a wave of  Irish immigration,he found himself engulfed in a stream of  traditional music from all over Ireland.Amid this vibrant scene,Tommy quickly established himself as a useful guitar player and singer.Many of the musicians in and around this circle would later come to national and international  attention such as John Carty, Mike McGoldrick, Dezi Donnelly, Sean Keane, Ron Kavana, and actor Patrick Bergin (a regular bass player on the scene).

In 1997 Tommy also began touring regularly with ex-Bothy Band virtuoso piper Paddy Keenan. Having been featured on Paddy’s solo album ‘Na Keen Affair’,Tommy booked a sellout tour of Ireland for the duo. They later went on to record the much acclaimed album ‘The Long Grazing Acre’which was released on the Compass label in 2003. The pair continues to tour and appear at festivals worldwide.

Tommy’s long overdue second solo album was recorded in 2006 and released this year. Entitled ‘Song Ablaze’ it is an ambitious project with songs that range from traditional Irish and traditional American to the works of contemporary writers again from both sides of the Atlantic. The album includes an international cast of such stellar musicians as 2006 grammy award winner Tim O’Brien(USA), Shetland fiddle master Chris Stout, champion harp player Catriona McKay (Sco), David Robertson, James Blennerhassett (Irl), Eilis Kennedy (Irl), and Pete Grant (USA)


Pete Grant plays dobro, banjo, and pedal steel guitar. He has Gold, Platinum, and Double Platinum albums to his credit and has played with people and groups as diverse as the Grateful Dead, Vassar Clements, Tony Toni Tone, Guy Clark, Railroad Earth, Vince Gill, the Incredible String Band, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Persuasions, the Dillards, Gerry O’Connor & Brendan O’Regan, Cathy Jordan, and David Lindley. In the summer of 2005, Pete toured Ireland with Paddy Keenan and Tommy O’Sullivan.

Pete says, “It was an exciting tour. We'd launch into a set of reels that just make you grin from ear to ear, then Paddy would play something so sweet and heart tugging that it would grab you and turn you inside out. At the next moment you'd be awash in a set of driving jigs. The music takes you along for the ride, and you’re so glad you're right there at that time. And at no time does Paddy’s virtuosity outdistance his expressiveness and joy; it’s all part of the same package. And surprises. There were surprises that make me grin just to think of them.”

Pete Grant, Paddy Keenan, and Tommy O’Sullivan

Manorhamilton, County Leitrim, Ireland, June 2005