Flowered Up!

Ahead of his night of stories and songs with Tom Dunne and Alan Connor on December 18th, Fiachna Ó Braonáin reveals where the life of music first took root…

Already a familiar face around his adopted hometown, Fiacha Ó Braonáin has long been merrily lost in music.

From his early years in Booterstown to his current Greystones bliss, that sweet spot between diddley-aye and Bo Diddley has sparked a long and winding musical journey.

Including, of course, fame and something on the road to fortune with The Hothouse Flowers.

Ahead of his Whale love-in with another rock’n’roll survivor-turned-presenter Tom Dunne and multi-instrumentalist Alan Connor at The Whale on Sunday, December 18th, Fiachna took time out to chart his journeys into sound…

Music has always spoken to me as if it were a family member! It’s just always been there…

Early memories of coming downstairs on a Saturday morning to find my parents’ vinyl records scattered all over the floor after having friends over the night before – The Chieftains, O Riada, Alan Stivell, Brendan Behan Sings Irish Folk Songs, Na Filí and many more.

Is it any wonder then that when I first went out to buy records it was the music of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and the Who that first ended up sneaking its way onto the trad turntable at home!

And ahem…. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack!

These were quickly followed by The Beat, The Specials, Led Zeppelin and Elvis. But traditional music was in my blood and I never really forsook it in favour of rock n’roll. Music is music – that’s all there is to it for me.

As I grew up my father took me to trad sessions and tin whistle classes. I really loved those nights. The pin-drop silence as someone sang a sean-nós son, the whoops and yelps propelling the jigs and reels along, the stomp of the set dancers to the Kerry polkas. The chats, the conversations, looking up to the older fellas who had an encyclopedia of tunes at their beck and call. I tried to learn them as I played along. Listen first, then play on the second round through, off by heart the third time round. Forgotten until the next time!

They were exhilarating sessions for a young Fiachna. At the same I heard the blues wail of BB King and Muddy Waters somewhere, the psychedelic dreamings of Jimi Hendrix, the moody snarl of the Rolling Stones and the a-changing times of Bob Dylan.

I never really imagined I would or could do anything else other than play music. My careers guidance officer once handed us a questionnaire in and around 5th or 6th year, and all my answers pointed to a life in music. I went off to study law in UCD for a year, but spent my time organizing gigs for Hothouse Flowers or The Incomparable Benzini Brothers.

And 38 years later I am still doing just that!



Leave It To Mr O’Brien
As funnyman Danny O'Brien brings his latest stand-up to The Whale, we find ...
Frankie Goes To Greystones
The Swing Cats bring their Kings of Swing tour to Greystones. It’s har...
You Hum It, Son
Ahead of his Mother's Day concert, Paul Harrington digs his rock'n'roll roo...