Clara’s Luke Kelly
Céilí House on Radio One on Saturday is my favourite radio show of all time for a lot of reasons, not least because of Kieran Hanrahan’s laid-back brilliance. I was driving home to Dublin from Mayo on Saturday night when the programme came live from the trailer of an articulated truck in (what sounded like a sopping wet) Tullamore.
Anyways, the Offaly town is hosting the Fleadh Ceoil for the second-year running. And among the highlights of the week was a concert featuring an amazing 2,852 musicians.
Well, Hanrahan and producer Peter Browne plucked one of those 2,852 from obscurity to showcase his talents. His chosen instrument for the mass concert was the bodhrán but it was as a vocalist that he was hauled onto stage.
The unknown musician – a fellow called Cowen originally from Clara – was clearly nervous in the interview because he gave answers to very open questions that seemed cautious, guarded and (to be frank) as damp and soggy as the Bog of Allen after August’s rain.
But when he launched into the song – a version of Paul Brady’s Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore – suddenly it was all heart and soul. So emboldened did he become that towards the end he threw in a couple of trills and ornamentations that didn’t really work but showed how passionate he was about it all.
And if that young fella ever turned his hands to politics, you’d wish he could inject a bit of that passion into it.
If you want to hear Cowen’s rendition, listen HERE.
(He appears about 30 minutes in)