Sonny Brogan was born in Dublin, the eldest of three children born to Alicia Brown and Andrew Brogan. On a holiday trip to Kildare as a young boy, he first heard Irish music played on the accordion by his great uncle, Thomas Cleary. His mother, when opening luggage on returning home, found a melodeon hidden there 'stolen' by Sonny who had taken a fancy to it. He was allowed to keep the instrument and taught himself to play it.
Growing up he attended music classes for piano, and learned how to read basic music notation. He soon found, however that his ear served him better as a teacher, and abandoned "paper music" as he called it. The teacher in question offered to teach Sonny free of charge if he returned, but he declined.
Sonny had a great love of music in general and possessed many 78rpm records of artists like Amelita Galli-Curci, apart from a huge collection of Michael Coleman, the Sligo fiddle player, who he admired more than any other musician.
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