Miriam meets.... Seamus Begley and Brendan Begley
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Miriam meets... Seamus Begley and Brendan Begley
This week, Miriam O'Callaghan interviews musicians and brothers Seamus and Brendan Begley.
Both men recall their childhood in West Kerry. They lived on the family farm where the household included their grandparents, parents and the nine children.
It was a life of hard work. They recall the arrival of electricity, radio and the neighbour's first television set.
Music was extremely important. Their father ran the local dance hall. This encouraged them to learn tunes on the accordion so that they might play there. Seamus began playing the accordion there while a schoolboy while Brendan played the drums. Their mother was a great singer.
As the eldest son, Seamus was destined to work on the family farm while Brendan went away to teach. Both found these paths in life to be very difficult. Seamus dreamed of going to America but that was not to be. He hated farming and in particularly hated the cows. As his life as a musician took off, he realised that farmers didn't consider him to be a proper farmer, musicians didn't consider him to be a proper musician. So when his parents died, he sold the cows and now travels the world playing music.
Brendan got a place to study to become a PE teacher and worked as a teacher in Dublin for about twenty years. He never settled, but continued teaching as a way to earn money for his young family. But his health suffered and he returned to Kerry and eventually left teaching. Though not keen on horoscopes, he read his stars on the day that he left teaching and the advice was Follow your heart, a moment of madness is better than a lifetime of logic. He has been working as a musician ever since.
Both men reflect on their good fortune in doing what they love and earning a living from it. Seamus has just been awarded a TG 4 Gradam Cheoil Singer of the Year Award
They perform selections of jigs, slides and polkas on accordion and Seamus sings Oilean Dun na nOir while they both sing An Buachaillin Donn