Alec Rea was a supremely talented and ambitious musician with big dreams for the future.
A tutor to other aspiring musicians, Inishowen man Alec was also a familiar presence on the local music scene, having gigged regularly across the peninsula.
He was also extremely gifted with computers and had a generous nature.
Paying tribute to his big brother, Patrick Rea said of Alec: “He played guitar and he was a singer and he’d play gigs alone, and that was the work he did.
“He practised his entire life. He started playing guitar when he was 11. He did that every day and you can imagine how good you get when you do that every day for 14 years. He was like the best of the best as far as musicians go.
“I’m not trying to say my brother was a good musician, I’m trying to say that you can’t deny the fact that he was about as good as musicians get. He was at the point where he could do anything he wanted with a guitar.”
A few days later my parents told me that my brother was using his gig money to get me a watch as a going away present. It was half paid off at that point.Patrick Rea
Patrick himself studies Japanese at the University of Limerick and is due to go to Japan for a year in the coming days as part of his course. His older brother had also been planning to try and learn some Japanese himself and visit the country.
Patrick said there were numerous examples of his brother’s kind and generous nature, with one heartbreaking example emerging in the days after his brother’s death.
“This really broke me up,” Patrick said. “A few days later my parents told me that my brother was using his gig money to get me a watch as a going away present. It was half paid off at that point.
“He would always bring me back clothes. He would always buy presents for his family members. He was generous.
“When I found out about the watch he had half paid off for me, that was a good way to sum him up. That really touched me.”
Patrick said his brother was also very good with IT and taught him to build computers.
“He was a very ambitious person. He always made these plans. He was full of ambition. That’s what kind of made me sad, that I didn’t get to see him carry out his ambitions. His ambitions were to record music. He would play ‘Take Me To Church’ and the acoustic cover he did sounds better than the original.
“His singing voice is very powerful. He was able to sing opera. He had an incredibly powerful voice that could overwhelm the room.
“We have lots of recordings and pictures of him. I’m sad because I’m going to miss his music. He’d already done some incredible stuff but the stuff we will never get to hear because he didn’t get the chance to do it yet.
“Musically though he achieved more than 99.9% of musicians can.”