Described as one "one of the greatest musicians to ever come out of Ireland," vocalist/guitarist Paul Duffy teams up with master fiddle performer, Mario Santana, for an early St. Patrick's Day celebration at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. The program celebrates the music of Ireland with traditional and contemporary Irish songs.
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.
A multi-talented musician, composer and vocalist, Duffy plays the saxophone (for this concert, he promises to play two saxophones at one time!), 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 Brady, The Corrs and Hazel O'Connor.
Santana started his music education in 2002 when he was seven and living in Cuba studying violin and piano. He graduated from Booker High’s Visual and Performing Arts program and was part of the school’s Jazz Juvenocracy band. He has performed at music festivals across the nation and globe.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door. Partial proceeds from the concert will be used to help fund Special Olympics Manatee. For more information, call Paul Duffy at 941-376-1390.