Saturday, 9 May 2009


Keenan Barrett lives in Buncrana and is passionate about music. Originally from the Bogside in Derry, he now lives in Buncrana and teaches music through his own company Schoolyard Promotions. He also does work in Tullyarvan Mill in the town with the highly acclaimed music project, Simply Music. Keenan’s main instruments are the guitar, mandolin and tin whistle.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
The CD in the player in the car at the moment is Le Chéile by Anne Nelson, a local singer/songwriter. She is not long back from working in New Orleans.

What book are you reading?
I am reading Music Therapy for the Autistic Child written by Juliette Alvin and Auriel Warwick. It’s about teaching music to autistic children and is very interesting. This book was first published in 1978 and was the first of its kind to analyse the effect of music therapy on the development of the autistic child

What was your favourite childhood game?
Cowboys and Indians, Derry style. The good guys were the Indians and the baddies had the uniforms and guns.

Have you been to the cinema recently, what did you see and was it any good?
I haven’t been to the cinema in a long time, as I prefer to go and see live performances. The last two performances I went to see were both Greasepaint Productions, Oliver and the Sound of the Musicals, they were top class.

What section of the newspaper do you turn to first?
I skim through the paper to check out all of the headlines first.

What would you never throw away?
My pink fluorescent golfing trousers with matching shirt and hat….Class!

Most embarrassing moment of your life?
It was both embarrassing and scary. I was at a fancy dress party at the Gateway and the person I was with was rushed into hospital. My partner, who became ill, was dressed as Dracula, and instead of drinking blood, had to give blood away for samples. I was left standing for hours in the waiting room, dressed as a tart, wearing fishnet stockings, short skirt and high heels.

Favourite TV programme?
M.A.S.H. I still play golf with Hawkeye, a character from the programme. Though he tells everyone he is a plumber……

What job did you want to do when you were a child?
I really wanted to be a bus driver or conductor. It was either the uniforms or the fact that my father was a driver for Ulsterbus in Derry.

Where was your best holiday and what made it special?
Waterford in the early 1970’s with the whole family. My late father, Bertie, and I went fishing for sea bass and caught a few if I recall.

What famous people would you invite around for dinner and why?
Stephen Fry. He’s clever, charming and funny. Maggie Thatcher. There are a few questions I would like to ask her. Mozart, just so I could absorb some of his creative genius and Johnny Cash. He was my childhood hero and broke all of the boundaries

Favourite animal?
My dog. “He’s getting on a bit, going a bit deaf, getting crabbit and he has a touch on halitosis.” I heard Helena saying that on the phone yesterday. I hope she was talking about the dog…

What do you do for a special treat?
That comes under the later question about Biggest Thrill….

Biggest thrill?
I already told you – But it’s only for a special treat.

Biggest Challenge?
Trying to teach the guitar to Gerry O’Neill, who played Fagin in the local Oliver production at St Mary’s hall recently. He’s still trying.

What was the best present you ever got?
My first guitar from my mother, Olive Barrett. It’s the one I learned to play on.

What was the last thing you bought just for yourself?
I recently bought myself a double bass. I practice on it every day.

What charity would you support?
iCare –Inishowen Children’s Autism Related Education. They are a remarkable bunch of parents who got together and set up the organisation without funding from the Government.

The world’s most irritating/most useful invention?
The most useful- Venetian blinds – without them it’s curtains for everyone. (The old ones are the best). Most irritating – the mobile phone.

Favourite past-time?
Golf. Tee to green. I am brilliant but the putting and the swinging of the clubs let me down a bit.

Which period in history would you like to live through?
The next forty years or so. If you go back much before my time then life always seemed to have been short and harsh here in Ireland.

What do you have for breakfast?
I am very health conscious so I eat only the best of Irish bacon; local free range eggs, Doherty’s sausages and fresh bread with a big slap of butter.

Do you have a favourite cartoon character?
Yosemite Sam from Looney Tunes. He’s the short-tempered Western American outlaw with a great big red moustache and an intense hatred of rabbits, especially Bugs Bunny.

What was your first paid job?
I had a paper round from the age of about seven or eight. I remember getting paid a shilling a week.

Best/worst household task?
I really enjoy cooking but detest cutting the grass. I have a useless Flymo to contend with.

What is the best/worst piece of advice you have been given?
The best- Don’t be afraid to show your emotions… It’s good to talk.
The worst- Children should be seen and not heard.

Personal philosophy?
If you stop trying to learn, then you are already dead……

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