In Focus – Padraig O’ Connor

Sporting a finely tuned guitar and a pocket full of energy, Padraig O’ Connor may very well be one of the last of the dying breed of pastoral balladeers. Although based in Madrid, his songs recall the contradictions, characters and changes of his native Ireland, painting a depiction of the island that’s as reverent as W.B. Yeats, although sung in a more contemporary vein. Indeed, many of his works are performed on guitar, although he is an expert piano player, demonstrating a flair for the instrument that’s pleasantly McCartneyesque. Anthems “Porcelain Doll” and “Cream Seems Fine” are suffused with melody, but that’s not to say that they are dumb – au contraire, they offer an insight into the Irish milieu that is fragile, feverish and deeply human.

A fixture on the open mic scene in Madrid, O’Connor’s work continues the myth that Irish writers piece together their truest depictions of home when they’ve removed themselves from it. With one album, City Lights, to his name, O’Connor is currently working on a followup, which promises to expand on the worldbuilding that it’s predecessor so beautifully set up.

Key Track: “Universe of Sand”: Based on a stark image, this liturgical ballad queries man’s purpose on a globe that pivots from certainty to uncertainty, by way of a Shakespearian quote or two. One of the first songs written by O ‘ Connor when he moved to Madrid, the pastoral tune was written in the music rooms in Conde Duque, the music library. Inspired by the calm, reflective aura, O ‘ Connor allows the words to dictate the feeling of the tune, an elegy that celebrates the beauty of the moment as it does contemplating the soul after death.

For Fans Of: Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Neil Young, Robbie Robertson

Photo: Padraig O’Connor (facebook)