An Irish cellist whose online recitals went viral during lockdown has expressed his fears for the future of social media.
Patrick Dexter says people should consider how much will be lost if negativity signals the end for platforms like Twitter.
He said: “There is such negativity there but let’s just be aware that if we lose this, and Twitter in particular, because I think it has a special role to play in that space, there’s something really tragic being lost.
“To see it go down the tubes as things might be going is, I think, a great loss.”
Patrick, who began playing cello aged seven, was not on social media until Ireland went into lockdown in March 2020.
Filmed outside his cottage in County Mayo, on the edge of Ireland’s stunning west coast, his posts went viral.
“I was a school-teacher, so I played to my classroom of primary school children and am now playing to millions of people online,” he explained.
‘It touches your soul’
I asked him what he thought had resonated with his new global audience – the music, location, or a combination.
He said: “There’s a certain visceral impact that the west of Ireland has on you. You can feel it now in this wild weather we’re having.
“That, mixed with the sound of the cello and instrumental music in general, the way that it touches your soul and reaches into you and asks for you to add something to it.
“It doesn’t tell you what to think with words, it sort of suggests a feeling, and you then bring your own thoughts, your life-story, to it.”
His new-found fame online has enabled Patrick to make music his career, which is “a dream come true,” he said.
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He shares the credit with co-star Naoise, his beautiful rescue dog, who has become almost as famous as Patrick himself.
His debut album, aptly entitled Solace, was the best-selling of its genre, and he has even performed for President Joe Biden.
A letter from one fan in Canada was simply addressed: “To the cellist who plays outside his cottage in Mayo.”
“No matter what happens, if the ship of Twitter sinks to the bottom of the Atlantic, I’ll still be playing my cello outside my cottage,” he adds.