The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #172018 Message #4162220
Posted By: Felipa
12-Jan-23 - 11:32 AM
Thread Name: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
a post on Damien Dempsey's facebook page:
An Ard Ri of mighty west Kerry has passed over the great divide my friends, Seamus O'Beaglaoich, one of the greatest singers to ever lift an audience towards the heavens with the sweetest most beautifully toned singing voice I ever heard on a man, and with his majestic soul-filled ceol, and that box playing from the heavens, and the intuitive lightning fast Kerry wit and his way with the English language you could tell was rooted in his wonderful Gaeilge, as native speakers of the Gaeilge tend to speak a far more poetic version of English than anyone else in my experience.
I can safely say, ní bheidh a leithead aris ann, we won’t see his likes again.
I had the honour of singing with the great man manys the time, even though I haven’t got the best of voices he saw something genuine in me, and saw I sang with every fiber of my being, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I had to sing with him, and he gave me great encouragement, and I sat at his feet in awe, and learned so much and felt encouraged, enamoured, and mistified by his example.
I was chuffed to be asked to duet with him on his incredibly beautiful and mighty album 'The Bold Kerryman', that he made with our brother the mighty John Reynolds, and he sang then on my album Union, and I learned a lot about tenderness and being a big strong fella but baring your soul and soft side in a song.
I first met the mighty Seamus in John Reynolds house in Kilburn.
I heard a thick Kerry accent roar 'geehup', and I looked around to see a mountain of a man twenty feet away across the garden hoist up a massive piano accordion and hurl it at me. It hit me square in the chest and I thankfully held onto it and didn't drop it.
I asked him later on that night, is that how folks say hello in West Kerry? Turf a large accordion at you?
'Only if they like the look of you,' he says.
It was John Reynolds 50th birthday that night and Seamus sang a song for him as Gaeilge in the early hours and his voice sounded thousands years old, like it had been steeped in Kerry honey since before the De Danann landed.
It sounded like the sun lighting up the passage grave in Newgrange on the solstice, the soul of his ancestors rang true and clear in his ancient breath when he sang, and he was there in the song, he felt the ancestors pain, or joy, or anger and anguish, he could transport himself back in time to the songs true events, he felt it deeply, so beautiful to witness a singer doing this, draíocht [magic].
Whenever I was down on the Dingle peninsula, if he wasn't off touring, he would insist on driving me to Farranfore airport when I was leaving, and we'd talk deep as the Atlantic and when he'd drop me at the airport, he'd get his accordion out of the back of the motor and play and sing me a farewell tune, thats Gaelic Ireland, that's the old warmth, the draíocht, go hiontach ar fad, majestic.
I recall being in an ale house somewhere in Dingle in the early hours of the morning, with Seamus and his great pal Lawrence Courtney, another great singer, and the legend Pauline Scanlon, and we were singing a few songs, and i sang a Pecker Dunne song, and Lawrence said 'I know where the Pecker is living these days, he's up by Killimer in Clare', and Seamus says, 'we should go up and drop in to the Pecker to say hello.'
I thought nothing more of it till I gets woken out of my slumber at midday, someone’s banging down my hotel door. I hauled myself up and opened the door and Seamus is standing there fresh as a daisy, he'd been drinking water the night before, and he says, in a thick Dublin accent, 'are ye bleeding right or wha, we're going to find the Pecker.'
I was a big fan of Pecker so I got dressed in a flash and off we went tearing up over the Conor pass on the way to Tarbert and the broad majestic Shannon. I was texting the mighty Declan O'Rourke who wanted to meet up that day in Kerry and was on his way.
I told him, change of plan man, Seamus and myself and going to find the Pecker Dunne. Declan says 'I'm coming!!!,' so he met us at Tarbert on the Shannon and the three of us got into Seamus's van and got on the ferry to the Banner
We then drove towards the directions that Lawrence had given us (Pauline and Lawrence were busy that day otherwise they'd have been there) and got a bit lost, so we stopped a man at the side of the road to ask directions.
Seamus pulled up and said to him, 'I've two very famous men here from Dublin, Declan O'Rourke and Damien Dempsey, and were looking for the Pecker Dunnes house'.
The man looked at me and Declan and says, 'I've never heard of these two lads but you're Seamus Begley aren't you; me and my family are all huge fans, you're the best singer we've ever heard, and your box playing beats the band, the Peckers house is a right at the white cottage, and the second boreen you see, take that past the woods till you can go no further and he's on the right'.
We got to this white cottage with turf smoke curling out of it, and weren't sure we were where we needed to be, and we got out of the van and i hear a fiddle, i says to the lads, that's Pecker, no one ever played the fiddle like him , and we walked around the back of the cottage and sure enough, standing at the half door is the bould Pecker Dunne, playing the fiddle out into the ether, and we says howaya Pecker, and he's a bit wary, and we tell him who we are and we're all huge fans and just wanted to say hello, and were invited in for tea, with his lovely wife and beautiful family who arrive after a phonecalll, and we have an oul singsong.
Pecker couldn't sing because of a tracheotomy , but he played a little and told stories which was brilliant.
He knew Seamus and had a great chat about the old days and old players and fairs and the old ways, he didn't know me and Declan, but we sang a few of his songs to him and he had tears in his eyes, and his wife turned to us and told us that he hadn't picked up the fiddle in a year, and picked it up around thirty minutes before we arrived and went to the back half door and played it. He knew we were coming i reckon. And he passed over the great divide a few months later.
That was an example of the ancient draoicht of Seamus, his old soul and intuition and spontaneity.
Im pretty sure Seamus had some of the greatest gigs and nights and craic that any mortal has ever experienced, so a celebration of the magic he brought to the world is in order, an incredible force of musical nature on earth.
More power to you Seamus, you Laochra Gael, best of luck on your travels, and may the great spirit hold you in the hollow of her hand, see you along the Rocky Road
Slán go fóill mo chara