Paddy O’Brien Releases Volume Three of His Extraordinary Tune Collection

paddy-obrien-cdbaby_220x220September 9, 2015 — Paddy O’Brien of County Offaly, the All-Ireland accordion champion renowned as one of the most powerful and passionate players of Irish traditional music today, has released a third volume of his historic recording project, the Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection. Over the past half-century, Paddy has earned a reputation as a walking encyclopedia of Irish traditional music; according to conservative estimates, he carries in his head more than 3,000 Irish melodies.

No single individual in the world of Irish traditional music has ever undertaken such an ambitious project as 1,500 tunes from memory.

In 1995, he released Volume One of the Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection, including 400 reels and 100 jigs from his vast repertoire of Irish traditional music.

In 2011, Volume Two of the Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection was completed. The second volume comprised yet another 500 tunes—150 double jigs, and 120 hornpipes, 100 polkas, 100 reels, and 30 slip jigs.

Now Volume Three of the Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection is complete, containing 150 reels, 44 slides, 16 hop jigs, 29 slip jigs, 13 slow airs, 80 double jigs, 30 set dances, 50 single jigs, 43 harp tunes, and 45 marches.

The full Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection is available in CD format, and as digital downloads. Irish music learners and others can choose to download individual tunes, each of the 33 albums, or all 1,500 tunes in the collection.

Order the Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection on CD

Download from CD Baby

For more information, or to schedule an interview with Paddy O’Brien, please call + 1 651-698-2258 or e-mail

What also sets The Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection apart is the fact that it is created for players, like O’Brien himself, who learn music in the traditional manner—by ear.

In addition to his remarkable memory, Paddy O’Brien’s special gift is also that of a great ear, not only for variations and interpretation, but for techniques and even notes peculiar to certain regional styles, instruments, and players. His store of lesser‑known regional and personal versions of tunes includes, for example, three settings of “The Moving Cloud,” four settings of “Drowsy Maggie,” and three of “The Wild Irishman.” Many of the versions included in this second volume of the Tune Collection have never before been recorded or transcribed.

The Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection is also set apart by the written materials which accompany the tunes. Paddy O’Brien’s phenomenal memory extends not only to notes and variations, but to titles, and to the history that accompanies the tunes—when he received them and from whom; when and by whom they were composed or first introduced into the popular tradition. Keeping the learner in mind, the written notes on the music also include suggested keys, information on techniques used, and some basic ideas on how the tunes are arranged into selections. These considerations are as much a part of the tradition as the tunes themselves, and give the learner a depth of knowledge about Irish music and culture not available from commercial recordings.

The Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection is available exclusively online from CD Baby and Paddy O’Brien at


The Paddy O’Brien Tune Collection has been supported over the years, in part, by grants from the Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship Program, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Irish Fair of Minnesota Legacy Fund.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.


For more information, or to schedule an interview with Paddy O’Brien,

please call + 1 651-698-2258 or e-mail


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