Anthony 'The Tanner' Byrne renouned Saxaphone player
Anthony 'The Tanner' Byrne.
Anthony 'The Tanner' Byrne, was born into a fairly simple life, in the tiny Irish village of Glenealy in Co. Wicklow in 1934. As a young lad he learned to play the saxophone and clarinet and while still in his teens, he joined the local band 'The Tom Kinsella Orchestra'.
Some years later another local band was launched in the village -The Jay Byrne Showband, a big 8 piece, modern outfit catering for the now flourishing dance hall craze, it was the ideal platform for 'The Tanner' to shine. For many years The Jay Byrne Band was the number 1 showband across Leinster, and enjoyed playing to packed ballrooms in the region, even opening for some of the biggest International recording acts, touring in the circuit. Over the years, Anthony 'The Tanner' Byrne developed into a rare musical talent, and is regarded by his peers and audiences alike as one of the finest Alto Sax players in Ireland.
For most of his life Anthony led two separate lives. By day he worked as a skilled sawyer at Kelly - Barna Sawmills in Glenealy. By night, he stepped out under the bright lights, on the stages of the top ballrooms of the South East. I had the privilege of playing behind him(drummer) on a few occasions. From the day I first met Anthony, many years ago, apart from being a seriously talented musician, he was always a magical human being and one of life's real gems - a true and gentle man.
As O'Doule Portraits are all about life's achievements, Anthony 'The Tanner 'is the perfect subject choice. However, the portrait below was created in the most non- conducive conditions. It was actually made in the outside smoking area of a local pub, where 'The Tanner' was tuning up a reed in the sax, before doing a solo performance, at his own surprise 80th birthday party, about 4 years ago.
Anthony 'The Tanner' Byrne still blows the odd note, in his 84th year, and as a very well known musician once said " When The Tanner does a sax solo, the world stands still in wonder".
Mr. Byrne, it is always a pleasure to meet you , it was a privilege to play, a few times, alongside you all those years ago and it was an ambition for some time, to photograph you, The result, turned out to be the gratest pleasure of all.
Leo Doyle A.S.W.P.P.