Paddy Fahey (1916-2019)
Paddy Fahey (aka Paddy Fahy) was an Irish composer and fiddler who is considered one of the finest ever composers of traditional Irish music.
Fahey was from Kilconnell in East Galway. His music has a distinctive yearning quality due to its ambiguous modal nature. He is particularly noted for his use of minor keys and modes. His music has been recorded by many of the finest traditional Irish musicians including Martin Hayes, Planxty, John Carty and Kevin Burke. In recent years a few recordings featured Fahey's music prominently including recordings by Liz and Yvonne Kane, Dave Flynn and Breda Keville.
Fahey is something of an enigma in the traditional Irish music world in that he never made a commercial recording despite the fact that he was an exceptional fiddler, nor did he publish a book of his compositions. There are some privately made recordings of Fahey which have been distributed amongst musicians since the 1970s, and transcriptions of his tunes are found in many tune collections and on Internet resources such as www.thesession.org.
There is a Master Thesis on his music done by Maria Holohan through the University of Limerick in which most of his tunes are notated.
Fahey never gave his compositions names, instead they tend to be simply named "Paddy Fahey's Reel No.1", "Paddy Fahey's Jig No.2", etc. His known compositions number around 100 tunes, all of which are either jigs, reels or hornpipes.
In 2001 Fahey was named Composer of The Year by Irish Language TV station TG4 at their annual award ceremony 'Gradam Ceoil TG4'.
He passed away on 31st May 2019 at the age of 102.