Paddy Graber's New CD Available

Paddy Graber is a traditional singer and story-teller who lives in Vancouver, B.C.  He was born in 1923 in Clonmel, County Tipperary, in southern Ireland. He grew up in a rich musical family. His mother was a Sephardic Jewess, whose lineage can be traced back to the Spanish Inquisition. Her ancestors came to Ireland about ten generations earlier. She was also a well-known traditional singer in Counties Limerick and Tipperary. His father, first-generation Irish born, was a political/labor activist. As a youth, Paddy also lived in China and England before coming to Canada many years ago.

I met Paddy about seven years ago through the Seattle Song Circle at Rainy Camp, a weekend singing retreat outside of Seattle. He is a frequent performer at Northwest Folklife and other festivals and traditional Irish venues. With little formal schooling, Paddy is an expert on Irish history, folklore, and music. He has a phenomenal memory, and probably knows most Irish folk songs and stories sung or told. Much of his musical repertoire comes from his family in Ireland and often includes local variants of traditional Irish songs.

Paddy has suffered some small strokes in recent years and uses a cane, but mostly as a backup for balance if needed. I have seen him break into a jig on stage after throwing his cane aside (gasps from the audience!), or he will use the cane as a prop in his story telling.

As Paddy grows older and is subject to more strokes, we are all-too aware of the treasure contained in his mind. Paddy says these songs and stories “stand a real chance of being lost forever, much like when the sea washes over a beach, then recedes, washing all that was left on the beach away.” It is important that we preserve these traditions from people like Paddy who have experienced much of it themselves, otherwise they will be lost forever.

In November, 2003, I spent a couple of days with Paddy in Seattle, recording his stories and songs in my living room. Here is a sample of some of them; there are more to be released in the future. I hope you will preserve these and pass them on to future generations.

Stewart Hendrickson, November, 2003


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