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Mixing the Punch

By Paddy O’Brien, New Folk Records

Reference: NFR WCM 0003  

Paddy O'Brien, the All-Ireland accordion champion renowned as one of the most powerful and passionate players of Irish traditional music today, celebrates the release of his second solo recording, MIXING THE PUNCH.

MIXING THE PUNCH features Paddy O’Brien playing his old 1947 Paolo Soprani button accordion (an instrument that once belonged to legendary musician Sonny Brogan). The new CD offers a wide mixture of jigs, reels, and hornpipes, one slow air, and one selection of polkas, which are Paddy’s own compositions. The tunes included are particular versions from Counties Clare and Donegal, or settings from players Paddy has known over the years, and filtered through his own taste and musical expression.

Paddy is accompanied on MIXING THE PUNCH by Teresa Baker, a wonderful piano player who hails from Portland, Oregon. Fellow Offalyman, Felim Egan from Cloghan, plays a selection of jigs on solo accordion as a guest artist.


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 career that spans the last half-century, Paddy has earned a reputation as a walking encyclopedia of Irish traditional music; according to conservative estimates, he carries in his head more than 3,000 Irish melodies—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.

Paddy’s particular skill is in remembering not just melodies, but particular individual and regional settings learned from older players who are now gone. He has made his mark on Irish traditional music in many different ways: through live performances with some of Ireland’s best-loved traditional bands, through classic recordings in the tradition; and, not least of all, through his work on The Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection: A Personal Treasury of Irish Traditional Music, a monumental undertaking that documents 1,000 melodies from his repertoire.

Price: €15.74