An Irish cellist whose online recitals have gone viral during lockdown has expressed concern about the future of social media.
Patrick Dexter said people should consider how much they would lose if negative sentiment marked the end of platforms like Twitter.
He said: “There’s such negativity out there, but let’s realize that if we lose it, especially Twitter because I think it has a special role in that space, it’s a really tragic thing to lose.
“I think it’s a huge loss to see it go downhill the way things could have happened.”
Patrick started playing the cello at the age of seven and didn’t appear on social media until March 2020, when Ireland went into lockdown.
Filmed outside his cottage in County Mayo on the edge of Ireland’s stunning west coast, his posts have gone viral.
“I’m a school teacher, so I played in classrooms for elementary school kids, and now I’m playing online for millions of people,” he explained.
“It touches your soul”
I asked him what he thought resonated with his new global audience — the music, the location, or a combination of the two.
He said: “The west of Ireland has a certain visceral effect on you. You can feel it now with the kind of bad weather we’re having.
“That, mixing the sound of the cello and the instrumental in general, the way it touches your soul and touches you and asks you to add something.
“It doesn’t tell you what to think about in words, it kind of suggests a feeling, and then you bring your own thoughts, your life story into it.”
His newfound online fame has allowed Patrick to make music his career, which he says has been a “dream come true”.
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He shares the credit for his beautiful rescue dog, Naoise, with co-star Naoise, who is almost as famous as Patrick himself.
His debut album, the aptly titled Solace, was the best-selling album of its kind, and he even performed for President Joe Biden.
A fan letter from Canada was addressed simply: “To the cellist playing outside his cottage in Mayo.”
“Whatever happens, if Twitter’s ship sinks to the bottom of the Atlantic, I’ll still be playing the cello outside the cabin,” he added.