Patrick O'Flaherty

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Patrick O'Flaherty is a world-class mandolin player and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a singer/songwriter. Many of his original compositions are written in Gaelic, a rarity in a time when new material…
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Patrick O'Flaherty is a world-class mandolin player and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a singer/songwriter. Many of his original compositions are written in Gaelic, a rarity in a time when new material usually is not written in that language. However, it is quite natural for O'Flaherty. He was born in Connemara, Ireland, and Gaelic was his only language until he turned 17, when he started to learn English. O'Flaherty was a member of the Poor Clares since its formation in 1993 in New Orleans, and later a member of the group's successor, Re Mor. He also embarked on a solo recording career with the release of Himself in 1991 and Andrea's Brown Eyes in 1998.

The singer/songwriter was raised on an island on Galway's coast, Inis Mor. When he was in his twenties, he headed to Washington, D.C., with brother Danny. There the siblings established themselves as a duo. Under the name the Celtic Folk, they spent about 20 years appearing at venues worldwide, including the Capitol's Solidarity Day in 1981. With his brother, O'Flaherty played for numerous dignitaries and heads of state, among them President Ronald Reagan of the U.S., Pope John Paul II, and Israel's President Chaim Herzog, who is a native of Belfast. During the 1980s, the two brothers settled in New Orleans and made frequent appearances at Ryan's Irish Pub, a club on Bourbon Street.

At the dawn of the following decade, O'Flaherty and his brother launched their own French Quarter nightspot and christened it O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Pub, where the brothers performed with Robin James-Jones, a harpist. While juggling restaurant duties that included food preparation, entertainment booking, and bartending, O'Flaherty found time to form a duo called Across the Atlantic with guitarist and vocalist Betsy McGovern. By 1993, with the addition of Justin Murphy and Beth Patterson, the duo had expanded into the Poor Clares. O'Flaherty and the others made it to the national charts with their Change of Habit album in 1997.

O'Flaherty also plays the harmonica and the button accordion. His other musical projects include Murphy & O'Flaherty, a duo he established with the Poor Clares' Murphy. He started playing the mandolin while he was still a schoolboy in Ireland.