The Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota Presents Acclaimed Irish Musician and Vocalist Paul Duffy in “WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING”
A Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day
Sunday, March 12 • 3 p.m.
Paul Duffy joins master fiddle and mandolin performer Greg Holt to celebrate the music of Ireland with its vibrant traditional songs and sea shanties. This musical celebration will include both musicians on the rousing Celtic tune “The Swallow Tail Jig.”
(Sarasota, FL) Described as one “one of the greatest musicians to ever come out of Ireland,” vocalist/guitarist Paul Duffy teams up with master fiddle and mandolin performer, Greg Holt for an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Sunday, March 12, 3 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door. Proceeds from the concerts will be used to help fund the church’s various programs. For more information, call 941-371-4974.
Duffy, who performed around the world with the legendary Irish band The Commitments for six years, is one of Sarasota’s most popular entertainers. He is known for presenting a multi-faceted program of Irish lore, sea shanties and folksongs.
Duffy was the owner of the Irish Rover in Sarasota until its closing in 2011. A multi-talented musician, composer and vocalist, Duffy was born, literally, under the big tent. His parents were Irish circus entertainers; he was delivered by a midwife after a performance in North Donegal. Their act was called Duffy’s International Circus and he was the youngest person to walk the tightrope while playing the saxophone—self-taught, of course. He was only nine years old.
He promises to resurrect some of his circus acts at the Sarasota concert. “We’ll give the audience a taste of what it’s like to be born under the ‘big top’,” he says.
A gifted musician, Duffy plays the saxophone, trumpet, flute, guitar, keyboards, drums, bass, tin whistle and bagpipes. He attended the Dublin Conservatory of Music to learn to read music; his prowess with wind instruments is self-taught. “I practiced the sax with a John Coltrane record playing for hours on end,” says Duffy. “Mum would yell at me to go out and play, but until I discovered pints and women, all I wanted to do was practice me music.”
Duffy’s journey from Dublin to Sarasota was lengthy and arduous. At 17, he played sax for the popular Irish band, The Miami Showband. By the ripe old age of 21, he joined The Irishmen and gained a reputation around Dublin as a talented and reliable studio musician. At 26, Duffy started his own band, MPH, with his siblings. Noticed by a promoter while touring with MPH in Texas, Duffy received an invitation to tour internationally with the legendary Irish band, The Commitments, and remained on tour with the group for the next six years. He has since performed with Ben E. King, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Brian Johnson, Suzi Quatro, Chris de Burgh, Paul Hazel, The Corrs and Hazel O’Connor.
“This is an extremely popular concert,” says Don DeMaio, concert coordinator. “I strongly recommend buying your tickets early. And remember: This is not just a concert; it’s an Irish celebration of St. Patrick’s’ Day, which is why we call it an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration.”
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota is the largest Unitarian church in Florida with nearly 500 members and friends. Founded in 1952 with 12 members, it is now a growing church with an active calendar of cultural and social events, including its popular series of Freethinkers presentations on the first Friday of every month.