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Bob Midden

Bob Midden played flute in grade school band but gave up playing when the high school he attended had no band or formal music performance instruction. He resumed playing after earning his PhD in biochemistry in 1980 in Baltimore, MD. He played only with church groups but was searching for what he would call his "musical soul" until 1992 when he met an Irish-American family that had recently formed an Irish music group. With that music, he felt that he had finally come home. He discovered in traditional Irish music sounds and styles that felt comfortable and natural and that spoke to him in ways that other music did not. His love of the music led him not only to extensive study using a variety of traditional music sources but also to discover more than just the music, but also the culture and heritage from which the music was formed.

As part of his training and indoctrination into the tradition he initially learned from the Dennis family in Bowling Green, a family that had grown up with the traditional having been blessed with a father and mother whose Irish parents inculcated them with a love of the art, the life, and the people of traditional Ireland. He then expanded his range of sources to include master musicians in sessions in northwest Ohio and in Columbus, OH where he discovered he had connections that he had made in graduate school. While in graduate school at Ohio State, Bob would spend time in a local guitar makers shop, as it was a gathering place for local folk musicians. He took guitar lessons and socialized with the shop owner and guitar maker, J. Thomas Davis, and the other musicians who frequented the shop. Years later, after having lost touch with Tom, Bob discovered that Tom was an accomplished traditional Irish musician in Columbus and helped Bob connect to the traditional Irish music scene in that City.

Bob's first attraction in Irish music was to the folk songs and ballads of the Clancy Brothers and the Fureys. But eventually his tastes evolved to the high energy dance music and more elaborate arrangements of songs characterized by Altan, Solas, Dervish, Danu, Flook and other traditional Irish groups. These influences helped shape the music of Toraigh which still carries a few remnants of those early years with Paddy's Night Out.

The aim of the group now is to become ever more original while holding tightly to the tradition, to find the best ways to connect traditional Irish music and dance to individuals, communities, and culture, and to continue to promote music as a powerful force for uniting all people.
 
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