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Patrick Michael Karnahan - Banjo, melodeon, concertina, guitar, trumpet, French horn, vocals

Patrick Michael KarnahanPatrick started performing music at the early age of eight. His parents rented him a second hand trumpet and he played in the school band. Patrick wanted to play trombone but the music teacher said his arms were not long enough. Patrick's father, George, encouraged him to perform outside normal school events, and he had many performances at the local pizza parlors as well as family get togethers. While in high school he took up the French horn and was involved with classical music for the first time. Patrick also continued on the trumpet, and played in many rock and jazz bands after school. Throughout his college years Patrick performed on both trumpet & French horn.

In his mid twenties Patrick went to Ireland for the first time. In Ireland he performed on trumpet and played with many jazz groups. It was at this time that he began to enjoy ballad music and traditional Irish instruments. He felt that it was time to pick up another instrument and join in with the Irish Musicians. Throughout this time, Patrick loved to write songs also. While living in Ireland he put together a jazz band that had no material to play. Patrick spent a few days and wrote ten jazz charts for the bands first performance. When He returned to California, Patrick bought a used Irish long neck mandolin and started to play. He found a few Irish musicians to play with, and next bought a banjo, and a guitar. In a few more years he was playing melodeon and concertina.

Patrick and Richard Restivo started the Black Irish Band idea. Both are trumpet players and this fact is what brought them together for the first time. When the Universal Pictures movie Back to the Future 3 was being filmed in Tuolumne County, home to Richard and Patrick, they were both hired to be in the Hill Valley Band. During filming breaks they started to talk about music and about forming a new band. Patrick had not known that Richard was also a bass player and enjoyed folk music. The stage was now set for the Black Irish Band.

Though out the 14 years the band has been together, Patrick continues to write many of the songs, He has always been fascinated with story ballads and history. While in high school, Patrick's sister Laura bought an album called Sundown, by Gordon Lightfoot. This album changed the way Patrick thought about music forever. Up to that time he was playing jazz, funk, and classical. Everything he listened to had horns and loud passages. At last the music was soft and it reminded him of the outdoors. Words became important and the stories came to life. Because of this Patrick to date has recorded 56 of His original ballads with the Black Irish Band.

Patrick continues to perform in jazz and swing bands. He believes that you must keep your mind open to new ideas. Many of the original songs Patrick has written have been inspired by a personal connection or a spiritual belief. The song Captain Jack (The Modoc War) was inspired by a visit to the battle site at the age of 4. Many years later Patrick would learn that one of his ancestors on his father's side was killed during the battle. Underneath Montana Skies was written because Patrick learned of the Mann Gulch Fire (1949) in a fire class he had taken while working for the Forest Service. Later on he would drive near the site of the fire and have a feeling, inspiring the creation of the song. The Wreck of the Pomona was inspired when Patrick visited the Wexford Ireland Museum. On the third floor of the old castle museum there is a bow figure mounted on the wall. It is an Indian maiden with a food basket (Pomona). Alone, Patrick viewed the figure, as lightning flashed about the room. He had read about all the Irish Immigrants who died tragically. He walked out shaken and very disturbed. After, he ended up on a mountaintop, at sunset overlooking the Irish landscape, where he wrote the ballad. Patrick has always believed that some songs just have to be written, peoples lost voices must be heard, and they must not be forgotten!

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