Noel Lenaghan grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland amid bombs blowing up, bullets flying and people dying.
“It wasn’t easy but that was where you were,” he said. “Music guided me through it all. I had friends who didn’t make it though.”
Music helped guide him because it’s a specific interest that takes you into another world, he added.
He has been playing music “since I was a kid” and has played in Ireland, Scotland, England, all over Europe, New Zealand, the U.S. and Canada.
He says music has always been a part of his life and he comes from a very musical family.
“Even our sewing machine was a Singer,” he jokes.
Lenaghan recently moved to Terrace from Donegal, Ireland when his partner came to the city to work. Most recently, Lenaghan was treating music fans in the Northwest to his brand of traditional Irish music at the Heritage Park Museum on Canada Day and last weekend at the Intertidal Music Festival in Port Edward.
Lenaghan has recorded three albums on vinyl and three CDs and said he’s always thinking toward a CD. He’s also featured in many videos on youtube.
His music is Irish traditional music that’s song and dance music and played on a variety of instruments including the wooden flute, tin whistle and mandolin.
In the 1980s, he toured with fellow Belfast native Gerry O’Kane as “Rakish Paddy.”
They were based in Toronto in the late 1970s and early 1980s and played a lot in eastern Canada before folding in about 1981.
Since then, he’s played with various other bands and played solo.
“With these other combinations of musicians, there’s no real name. It’s just as it happens,” said Lenaghan, referring to bands that had no names. “Ireland is so full of musicians, you just pick up musicians no matter where you are and play away at your heart’s content.”
And over the years his music has changed by being enhanced by the musicians he meet and plays alongside.
He said he will continue to play and sing as long as his fingers and voice work. “Musicians don’t retire,” he said.