Paddy Canny grew up in Ireland's County Clare surrounded by fiddlers. His father played the instrument, as did both his brothers, and the blind fiddle instructor Paddy MacNamara boarded with the family during the winter. So it is no surprise that Canny himself grew up to be one of the finest fiddlers to play in the East Clare tradition and a co-founder of the highly regarded Tulla Ceili Band.
More surprising are Canny's many prominent performances through the years because, by all accounts, he is quite shy. He didn't record his debut solo album, Cló Iar-Chonnachta, until he was a septuagenarian. Despite his inherent reserve, he occasionally stepped into the main spotlight. During the 1950s, he played his fiddle during the live broadcasts of Radio Eireann. The following decade he also performed on R.T.E. television.
Canny is a native of Glendree, Tulla. Over the course of a career that spanned half a century, he played at a variety of venues, from small local dances to the stage of New York's Carnegie Hall. He played for almost 20 years with the Tulla band, along with fiddlers Peadar O'Loughlin and PJ Hayes. The three are noted for appearing on the first commercial album to feature traditional Irish music in 1959, All Ireland Champions -Violin. Noted fiddler Martin Hayes cites Canny, his uncle, as a major inspiration.