|Traditional Irish musicians Paddy O'Brien and Nathan Gourley.|
We were lucky enough to see accordion player Paddy O'Brien and his protégé, fiddler Nathan Gourley, perform at the Coatesville Cultural Society on Sunday evening as part of the Coatesville Traditional Irish Music Series. The contrast between the two -- generation-wise and culturally -- is striking, but when it comes to the music the older gentleman from County Offaly, Ireland, and the younger one from Madison, Wisconsin, are completely in sync.
The concert was full of lively reels, jigs, hornpipes and even polkas (Paddy quipped that you have to be in good health to either dance or play Irish-style polkas). Paddy and Nathan preceded each selection they played with stories about the piece's history, where it came from, and who had popularized it. One hornpipe was called "The Drunken Sailor" -- or, as Paddy said he liked to call it, "The Inebriated Mariner."
One of the many pleasures of hearing live music is that unexpected things happen. Paddy was playing an emotional, dramatic solo piece about a soldier dying on the battlefield when the building's air conditioning kicked in with a rumble just as the music was swelling to a crescendo. Perfectly timed.
Thanks to Frank Dalton and Emily Fine of Embreeville who keep this music series going. About 30 people came out to hear Paddy and Nathan on Sunday night -- a very enthusiastic audience.