Pat Broaders grew up in Dublin, the son of parents from Wexford. He began his journey in traditional music at the age of eight, and attended the School of Music in Chatham Street in Dublin. He started out on the whistle, and later moved on to the uilleann pipes under the tutelage of Leon Rowsome. He took up the bouzouki in 1988, inspired by the sounds he grew up hearing from bands like Planxty, and the popularity of the instrument in Dublin’s vibrant traditional music scene. Pat’s singing began naturally enough. His father was a singer, and having grown up around Dublin’s singing tradition, it was a natural step for him. Pat’s repertoire today reflects his interest in the great songs of the Irish tradition as well as songs and ballads from the English and Scottish traditions.
In the early ’90s, Pat followed a girl named Sara from Dublin to Chicago, married her and today has a thriving family and career in Chicago, a city associated with many prominent Irish musicians. On top of holding one of the longest running gigs in the history of Chicago (and possibly the world), he has performed and recorded with Dennis Cahill, Liz Carroll, and Martin Hayes, as well as a host of other musicians in and around Chicago. He has also fostered a healthy career outside of Chicago, playing with such musicians as John Doyle, Paddy O’Brien, Mick O’Brien, Robbie O’Connell, and Danú. For years, he worked with the Norwegian new age musical group Secret Garden and he has had a long-standing relationship with Kongshavan Studios and their many musical projects in Norway. He has performed on numerous national commercials and jingles in the US and Ireland.
Pat is currently a member of the trio Open the Door for Three, with uilleann piper Kieran O’Hare and fiddle player Liz Knowles. The trio’s uniquely harmonized sound stems from their combination of old and unearthed tunes, new arrangements of great songs, and musical homages to the musicians and bands they grew up listening to. They have released two albums to date: the eponymous Open the Door for Three, and 2015’s The Penny Wager.
Pat has had a long-time performing career with Jimmy Keane and their group bohola. “Pat is a real veteran of the Irish music scene both here and abroad, playing, recording, and performing with many artists and bands over the years. Pat has this acute sense of music and rhythm that enables him to “lock in” his bouzar (bass bouzouki & guitar hybrid) playing to whatever I might do musically and rhythmically. The synergy that results spurs on Bohola and draws in the audience. And his singing is brilliant – if I could sing, I’d love to sing like Pat,” writes Jimmy.
Pat has toured throughout Europe, South America, and Asia with various large-scale productions of Irish music and dance, including Celtic Legends and Fête de la St.-Patrick, in incredibly demanding roles as accompanist and singer. When he is not performing, Pat teaches the pipes and operates Pipedream Studio in Chicago. He has engineered albums for Liz Knowles, Larry Nugent, Aengus, bohola, and Celtic Legends, and tracks for Liz Carroll and many other artists.