Irish musician to play in Oamaru

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A man who started his music career by playing burlesque music to accompany a French restaurant owner striptease for his guests is about to play in Oamaru next month.

Irish musician Gerry O’Beirne will be performing at the Oamaru Opera House in February.

He will be doing a short tour of the South Island from Nelson and Takaka down to Oamaru and Dunedin then some concerts in the North Island.

Mr O’Beirne said he was really looking forward to playing at the Oamaru Opera House.

“I was in Oamaru about eights years ago, all too fleetingly, but remember well the people I met and also something of the town at twilight sticks in my mind – a very atmospheric place.”

The musician’s compositions are a blend of traditional music and contemporary song.

“Being a songwriter, I live from song to song. All I really want to think about is the next song.”

Mr O’Beirne started his career in a slightly odd fashion by playing his first gig in a little French restaurant in the town of Kinsale, Ireland.

It was run by an eccentric French man who would need Mr O’Beirne’s accompaniment singing to his parrot as well as entertaining the guests, he said.

“I would play whatever I wanted for £10 and dinner and all the wine I could drink, but at the end of the night I had to accompany him with some burlesque music while he performed a mostly simulated striptease for his surprised guests.”

Mr O’Beirne currently lives outside Dingle in West Kerry, Ireland and gets inspiration for his songs from the “beautiful, wild” place, he said.

“I find I’m writing songs about the area and for people there.”

The musician has been working on a solo album which he has been recording from home for the first time.

“Previous recordings have been in studios, so with this one I’ll be able to spend much more time on it and experiment much more.

“I have quite a collection of stringed instruments at home, some of them quite exotic indeed, so I think the next album will be very colourful.”

The performance will be held in the Oamaru Opera House Grand Foyer at 8pm on Saturday, February 8.

Tickets are $19 and SIP Bar Cafe will be open for drinks and refreshments.

By RUBY HARFIELD