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'King of Pipers' performs Nov. 12

Paddy Keenan, world renowned "King of the Pipers," will perform at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center in New York Mills.

Admission is $12 advance sale and $15 the night of the concert. Paddy played once before at the cultural center about two years ago.

Articles and gossip about the man call him dark, enigmatic, a "massive presence," the long rider, moody, quiet, deep--Paddy Keenan once told Colin Harper for Folk Roots that, "I do have a bit of a reputation, I know." Something of an understatement, there. Dónal Lunny, a Bothy Band-mate, described him as "the Jimi Hendrix of the pipes," while others compare him to John Coltrane due to his genius for improvisation and counter melody, his musicianship in Irish and other styles of music from bluegrass to jazz, his sheer driving power. Stories abound of a hard-drinking, rock-and-roll lifestyle and mindset.

Nothing prepares one, then, for Paddy Keenan as he is today: a soft and well spoken man with an infectious laugh, who has found peace with himself and his past, who still fiercely believes in ideals that wouldn't be out of place in a younger man, and who has carved out a deeper place for himself in the pantheon of Irish traditional music with a critically acclaimed "comeback" following the old Bothy Band days and the darker days that marked his absence from the Irish traditional music scene.

Though they've called Keenan the "King of the Pipers" for years, the appellation embarrasses him, and he wishes they wouldn't. But it's too late--a head crowned unwilling is still a head crowned. Paddy Keenan is the piper's piper, the best of the best.