Irish Music Awards’ 2009 “Top Traditional Group” is Bua, a quartet comprised of some of the most talented young musicians in the US. Bua plays Irish traditional music with “a precision and intensity that is rarely heard on this side of the Atlantic.” Their sound stands out among modern bands in the genre by “keeping the music down the path of tradition.” Their 2011 release, Down the Green Fields, finds Bua further down that path where the band explores forgotten sounds and inspirations with a blend of enchantingly stark song arrangements and bold, earthy dance tunes. A review of Bua’s 2011 release, calls it “a testament, from beginning to end, of the lasting essentials of the Irish tradition.”
Bua has performed at many of the top Irish and folk festivals in North America including the National Folk Festival, the Milwaukee Irish Festival, the Lowell Folk Festival, the Dublin Irish Festival, The University of Chicago Folk Festival, Goderich Celtic Roots Festival, CityFolk, Catskills Irish Arts Week and Bethlehem’s Celtic Classic.
Meet the band:
Brían Ó hAirt’s evocative singing, often in Irish Gaelic, is central to Bua’s unique sound. His ability as a traditional singer has afforded him great acclaim at his age—the youngest and only American to become a champion All-Ireland singer. With a voice Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh of Danú hails as “beautiful…sweet and full of sensitivity,” his singing has been featured on radio programs in Ireland and the U.S. Brían’s dedication to sean-nós (old style) singing and the Irish language has bonded him to the close-knit singing communities of Conamara (on Ireland’s culturally rich west coast). Driftwood Magazine writes: “O’Hairt has a touch with the old songs that just can’t be faked. His voice has the beautiful fragility of the great Irish singers.” Bua's shows also feature Brían’s mastery of the improvisational sean-nós Irish dance style and his deft finger-work on the concertina.
Sean Gavin’s playing on the flute, whistle and uilleann pipes reflects his lifelong immersion in, devotion to, and love for traditional Irish music. This was no doubt encouraged by his County Clare-born, fiddle playing father, Mick Gavin. As a boy in Detroit, Sean played a variety of Irish instruments until settling on the flute at age 10, inspired by Scariff flautist Leo MacNamara. Not long after, he began work on the uilleann pipes with teacher Al Purcell—himself a student of famed piper Leo Rowsome. Currently residing in Chicago, he deeply values his many opportunities to hear, talk with and learn from Sligo flute legend Kevin Henry. Sean is a member of the acclaimed group NicGaviskey, often performs with his family and remains firmly dedicated to playing and teaching traditional Irish music.
Paired with Gavin’s work on flute and pipes is the fiddle playing of his long-time friend Devin Shephard from Chicago. Devin began Suzuki violin lessons at age four, but fell in love with traditional Irish music at ten. His mother nurtured his interest, immersing him in the deep-rooted Irish music scene of his hometown, where he studied with Kathleen Keane and Liz Carroll and regularly attended sessions. As a young fiddler, Devin won first prize in the Midwest Fleadh Cheoil for nine consecutive years. More recently, his stylistic development has focused on recordings of legendary Irish fiddlers of the past, such as Bobby Casey, Michael Coleman, and John Doherty, as well as living legends James Kelly and Paddy Cronin. Since 2000, he has made his living teaching and performing Irish music throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Guitarist Brian Miller comes from Saint Paul, Minnesota where a vibrant Irish music community, including luminaries Dáithí Sproule and Paddy O’Brien, has supported his growth into one of the most sought after accompanists in the American Irish music scene. As critic Earle Hitchner put it: Brian’s backing on guitar “flexes not just muscle but a fully complementary style.” Also a master of the Greek bouzouki, Brian is a founding member of the Two Tap Trio and the Doon Céilí Band back in Minnesota and he frequently tours with the band Chulrua as well as with the Máirtín de Cógáin Project. He has been featured on MPR's All Things Considered, CBC Radio's Canada Live, and Ireland's RTE television, RTE radio and TG4 television. Brian teaches flute, whistle, bouzouki and guitar at the St. Paul-based Center for Irish Music.
Brían ó hAirt - Vocals, concertina, Sean-nós Dance
Sean Gavin - Whistle, wooden flute, Uilleann Pipes
Devin Shepherd - Fiddle
Brian Miller - Guitar, bouzouki
Live at Martyrs, 2006
An Spealadóir, Mad River Records, 2009
Down the Green Fields /Síos Fá Thaobh An Ghleanna, 2011
SOME VENUES BUA HAS PLAYED:
National Folk Festival Butte, MT: 2010
CityFolk Festival, Dayton, OH: 2011
Lowell Folk Festival, Lowell, MA: 2010
University of Chicago Folk Festival, Chicago, IL: 2012
New Bedford Summerfest, New Bedford, MA: 2009
Dublin Irish Festival, Dublin, OH: 2009
Great Lakes Folk Festival, East Lansing, MI: 2012
Celtic Classic, Bethlehem, PA: 2009, 2010, 2012
Catskills Irish Arts Week, East Durham, NY: 2010
Old Songs Festival, Altamont, NY: 2009
Celtic Roots Festival, Goderich, ON: 2009, 2010
Buffalo Irish Fest, Buffalo, NY: 2008
Minnesota Irish Fair, St. Paul, MN: 2010
Arizona Highland Celtic Festival, Flagstaff, AZ: 2011, 2012
Eugene Irish Cultural Festival, Eugene, OR: 2012
Jackson Celtic Fest, Jackson, MS: 2012
Chicago Celtic Fest, Chicago, IL: 2007
Milwaukee Irish Fest, Milwaukee, WI: 2006, 2007
Swannanoa Concerts, Asheville, NC: 2010
Woods Hole Folk Music Society, Woods Hole, MA: 2011
The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI: 2011
Irish-Amer. Heritage Center, Chicago, IL: 2006, 2007, 2010
Wilde Auditorium U. of Hartford, Hartford, CT: 2008, 2009
Blackstone River Theatre, Cumberland, RI: 2008
Old Songs Concert Series, Voorheesville, NY: 2009, 2011
Delaware Valley Arts Consortium Immaculata, PA: 2010
Cumberland Music Association Concert, Knoxville, TN: 2010
Bua: Down the Green Fields (2011)
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Sometimes all you really need to say in a review is “Damn, they killed it.” So I’m happy to say a...Sometimes all you really need to say in a review is “Damn, they killed it.”
So I’m happy to say about the new album, Down the Green Fields, from Irish-American traditionalists Bua: Damn, they killed it. Seriously. If you have any interest in the traditional music of Ireland, an emerald sound born of fiddles, pipes, whistles, and a clarity of voice that sounds like the musical equivalent of a crystal clear mountain stream and refreshes just as much, buy this album.
Now, for those of you who have a deep love of Irish trad like I do, here’s a more in-depth review:
From the opening track, a set of two reels (Eddie Moloney’s/Micho Russell’s), the boys in Bua show that they have impeccable taste. Whereas most other young Irish bands would ramp the needle up to 11 [this one goes to 78? -ed], burning through these old reels like a gas guzzling SUV, Bua have the taste to know that by slowing the music down and playing at a relaxed pace they can actually have more of an effect. That’s rare in Irish music today, and shows that these players are totally attuned to the true roots of the music. For how could you dance to Irish music when the meter tops out? The frenetic insanity of a band like Dervish only works because those guys are living gods dropped from Mount Olympus to walk among us and demonstrate the powers of musical perfection. Bua would rather play the music right than show off, and that is something that makes me want to stand up and applaud.
Bua's fiddler Devin Shepherd
Let me take a moment here to commend Bua’s new fiddler Devin Shepherd. I’m incredibly picky about my Irish fiddlers, and was appalled at the use of crappy unornamented Irish fiddling in the new Sherlock Holmes movie almost to the point of walking out. I don’t want to listen to some classical jackass noodle with Irish tunes. True Irish fiddling is as mercurial as the Irish themselves. It doesn’t trust you, doesn’t welcome you, and won’t be your friend unless you put the time in to truly understand. It’s the kind of music that lulls you into a false sense of security with a seemingly regular sense of rhythm, then shanks you in the back when you’re not looking. Don’t believe me? Go to an Irish trad concert and listen to the audience try to clap along. I guarantee you the clapping will fall apart and become arrhythmic in about 10 seconds. That’s because the Irish are pure geniuses at disguising the true heartbeat of the music. Bua’s fiddler Devin Shepherd understands this, but doesn’t overdo it like Martin Hayes. Instead, he strips the show-off ornaments to a bare minimum and focuses on nailing the perfect rhythm and lilt. His fiddling is everything I wanted to be in an Irish fiddler and I’m now a most devoted fan of his.
Sean Gavin brings a subtle beauty to his fluting, piping, and whistling on the album, and Brian Miller shows himself to be a sensitive and beautiful guitarist as well. I have stacks of albums of purely instrumental Irish music, and these guys could hold their own with the best.
Bua's Brian O hAirt
But, for me, the heart of Bua is the traditional singing of Brían Ó hAirt, who has dedicated himself to the sean-nós (old style) Irish song tradition, as well as the Irish sean-nós stepdancing tradition. This old style of stepdance is intimately tied to the tune itself, and this means that O’Hairt has a touch with the old songs that just can’t be faked. His voice has the beautiful fragility of the great Irish singers, and his knowledge of the sources of the tune shows his great respect for the tradition. He’s won awards in sean-nós singing (one of the last bastions of old Irish culture), and is a dedicated teacher as well. Sean-nós singing is an arcane style, almost a spiritual ritual at times, that is judged on the singer’s ability to convey the message of a song and to transfix an audience. It’s something that’s not easy to develop a taste for (believe me, I’ve tried), but when
Bua: Down the Green Fields (2011)
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Down the Green Fields is the third release from the Irish traditional band Bua, and it’s the first w...Down the Green Fields is the third release from the Irish traditional band Bua, and it’s the first with the group’s newest member, fiddler Devin Shepherd, an award-winning player from Chicago and long-time friend of Bua’s flutist Sean Gavin, who hails from Detroit. Bua’s new CD stands out from its contemporaries through its honest depiction of the tradition at work. Their music says “this is all that’s needed: a flute, a fiddle, a guitar and a voice.” The resulting album is a testament, from beginning to end, of the lasting essentials of the Irish tradition.
-Cara Lieurance, host of "The Pure Drop"
Bua: Down the Green Fields (2012)
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Bua Down the Green Fields (Independent) Bua has a lovely old time sound. Fiddle, pipes, whistl...Bua
Down the Green Fields
Bua has a lovely old time sound. Fiddle, pipes, whistle, flute and
concertina tend to lead the melodies, with dancing, guitar and
bouzouki providing the rhythm. (Of course, it's never that simple, is
it -- the melody instruments contain all the rhythm you really need,
but the guitar, for example, with its fascinating chord progressions
helps emphasize the rhythm while providing that little extra in the
This hour-long, 16-track album features a healthy mix of tunes and
songs, played and sung with a good feel for tradition. Brian O hAirt
has a tremendous voice, keeping his approach simple and effective.
He's also something of a sean nos dancer and a good concertina player.
The rest of this Chicago based band is Sean Gavin (flute, pipes,
whistle), Brian Miller (guitar, bouzouki) and Devin Shepherd. Shepherd
is new to the band, but his fiddling fits in perfectly, maintaining
that sound the band has honed so well. You almost feel you're in a
kitchen somewhere listening to them as they pick up their instruments
With this, their third album, Bua really shows itself as a band to be
Bua: An Spealadóir (2009)
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Bua has been called Chicago's answer to New York City-based Solás [sic], but comparisons to Planxty ...Bua has been called Chicago's answer to New York City-based Solás [sic], but comparisons to Planxty might be more in order. In an age in which bands fuse Irish music with everything from jazz riffs and African rhythms to rock 'n' roll covers and post-punk thrash, Bua is unabashedly retro--more prone to lift material from 19th Century songbooks than engage in 21st Century mash-ups. A typical Bua treatment is "The Ballinamore" set. Its opening tune comes from an old Martin Mulvihill collection, the second from an 1816 Scottish melody booklet, and the final one from an early 1980s Dé Dannan record. It is a lively medley in which group playing is stressed over virtuoso playing, thereby assuring the sum is greater than the parts, another trait too often gone missing in contemporary recording. To the degree that this fine quintet has a leader, it is vocalist Brian Hart, whose light tenor voice is supple and soothing. But he can also crank out the craic, as he does on "A mhisg a chuuir [sic] an Nollaig oirnn," a rousing set of Scottish mouth music songs. But it's the instrumentation that will set your feet a dancing. "The Blacksmith" set is a real scone-slinger, one driven by Séan [sic] Gavin's Uileann pipes, Jackie Moran's bodhrán, Brian Miller's guitar and Chris Bain's fiddle. The gentle title track tells the story of an Irish farmer rescued by his neighbors when he takes ill at harvest time. Its collaborative theme is a metaphor for Bua's playing. --RWeir
Interview with Brían Ó hAirt, August 2009
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If I had to guess, I’d say there are about as many Irishmen living in Dublin, OH as there are native...If I had to guess, I’d say there are about as many Irishmen living in Dublin, OH as there are native Scotsmen living in Granville, 36 miles to the East, which is, approximately, six. But none of this matters on the first weekend in August, when the city’s Irish population increases at least tenfold, augmented by tens of thousands more people who think they’re Irish. (I admit that, once upon a time, even I, now vehemently proud of my Scottish heritage, found myself wishing I could be cool like my Irish friends during the weekend of the Dublin Irish Festival. I really ought to write our Chief and beg his forgiveness.) They come for the music. They stay for the scones. (Ok, so maybe the scones thing only applies to me. Most of them probably stay for the music as well. And the beer.) And there is a lot of music, and pricewise, it is probably, when you think about it, one of the best values out there for such a comprehensive festival covering a (sometimes startling) range of styles.
“…And that’s all Irish music,” Brían Ó hAirt (singer and concertina player for the band Bua) assures me, but “we really are a traditional band. We do some progressive stuff, but most of the things that we do are traditional, [even though] we compose our own tunes sometimes or play newly composed tunes from other people”. Only fifteen minutes ago, the band were on stage, wrapping up their final set of the festival. Fifteen minutes from now, they will be on their way to Ontario for their next festival appearance. Our interview will be short, but Bua are the only band I have bothered to see twice this weekend and I have to talk to this man. I need to find out what makes this band who they are.
But what drew me to Bua (MySpace) in the first place? We don’t necessarily tend toward the traditional here at The Indie Handbook (well, at least not publicly*). Aside from the superb musicianship of, and obvious chemistry between, all of the band members (Brían, Brian Miller, Jackie Moran, Chris Bain, and Seán Gavin) there is the fact that this Brían also speaks fluent Irish (not a skill one necessarily expects from most people living in the St. Louis metro area). As one who has a weakness for, and is prone to, eccentricity in any form, I am intrigued by anyone who would bother to learn such an impractical (at least by contemporary American standards) language as Irish. Brían’s reason:
“I’d heard Irish for the first time when I was in junior high, and I was kind of a bookish kid at the time, so I looked stuff up and started learning things on my own. And when I started junior college, there were courses offered, and by that time I had a pretty good understanding of it. And when I moved to Ireland I progressed even further, because I was in Irish speaking areas and I was using it all the time.”
And what about the road to traditional music? Let’s face it, Brían would not look out of place fronting a Belle & Sebastian cover band (for the sake of argument, we’ll call them Judy and the Dream of Horses).
“I had been doing music my entire life, and when I reached the end of high school, there were three roads really: you could go and get your degree in classical music, or enter a jazz program; but I didn’t really feel like my voice suited that or that it felt like it was really a way to express myself. But, when I heard Irish singing for the first time when I was fourteen or fifteen, it hit home, really, and kind of pulled me in.”
I think I speak for Kristin as well when I say that we appreciate, admire, and endorse such an earnest pursuit of any art form. Add to that the fact that Brían’s delivery and vocal quality is perfectly suited to the music that he is performing (his voice is pure, uninhibited by that affected nasality that so many artists seem to view as a prerequisite for success and the delivery unadorned, allowing the songs to speak for themselves) and the result is bound to impress. But what thrusts Bua beyond the range of “good bands” to the level of the “truly excellent” are the four other stellar musicians standing (and sitting) on that stage.
“There was a band before called Gan Bua (Jackie and Chris were kind of the instigators for that), but a few of the band members moved on with their jobs and careers, so Chris approached each of us about joining the band… And we play well together. That’s kind of the secret. It just clicked. We all seem to work well together.” He continues, “and [there are] connections within the band, too. We’re not all connected together in the same way. Brian Miller and I may be connected in a way that maybe Brian and Chris are not, but maybe Chris and Seán are connected in a way that Brian and I aren’t. There are all these smaller pairings with their ideas of music and the kind of tunes they play. So, overall, there’s more cohesiveness in the group because of those smaller groupings.”
So, this is Bua, folks. Get to know them. You’ll be a better person for it. Their album An Spealadóir is out now on Mad River Records. There is, I believe another one currently available as a download only. And you owe it to yourself to catch a live performance. After all, that’s where many of these songs grew up, long before anyone you or I know ever heard them.
*Personal confession time: For some time now, longer than most of you have known me, I have toyed around with the idea of a serious pursuit of Scottish folk music. Five days after I met Brían Ó hAirt, I bought a beginner’s guide to Scots Gaelic and a Gaelic dictionary. It is happening, kids. And if any of you have an in at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen and would like to put in a good word for me, I would be eternally grateful.
Bua: An Spealadóir (2009)
click link to see pdf
Bua: An Spealadóir (2009)
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From the Pure Drop Department: Bua is a Chicago-based Irish band that delivers traditional jigs, ree...From the Pure Drop Department: Bua is a Chicago-based Irish band that delivers traditional jigs, reels, horpipes and the occasional song with a precision and intensity that is rarely heard on this side of the Atlantic. Jackie Moran (bodhran, banjo, vocals), Chris Bain (fiddle), Seán Gavin (uilleann pipes, flute), Brían Ó hAirt (vocals, concertina, tin whistle), and Brian Miller (guitar, flute, vocals) are poised to take the world of trad music by storm. Their new release An Spealadóir (Mad River Records) shines like the sun as it breaks though the ragged rain clouds over Connemara.
So duck into that pub on the corner, shake off the bitter cold Midwestern wind, order up a pint of stout and enjoy the spirit of the session. Irish music has been given a mighty boost by Bua!
Bua: An Spealadóir (2009)
click link to see pdf
Bua: An Spealadóir (2009)
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As one of America's primary settling places for the Celtic diaspora (trailing only Boston and New Yo...As one of America's primary settling places for the Celtic diaspora (trailing only Boston and New York), Chicago has long been a hotbed of traditional Irish music. One of the best trad groups to emerge from that scene in the 21st century is Bua, a quintet of young players who come from Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit and Minneapolis and whose instrumental virtuosity is nicely tempered by the kind of rare musical taste that leads the best Irish players to draw more attention to the beauty of the tunes than to their own overwhelming technique. They also have concertina player Brían Ó hAirt, whose singing is a joy and a revelation: while many of his compatriots favor a weedy, often whiny high-tenor voice, Ó hAirt's is rich and clear - if there's anything to complain about on this album, it's that he doesn't sing enough. Notice in particular the gorgeous, reedy harmonies between Ó hAirt and guest vocalist Katie Else on the brilliant "Dobbin's Flowery Vale". But the jig and reel sets are far from disappointing in their own right, and at their best (such as the stomping strathspey that leads into a soaring reel set on the album's final track) the group fairly explodes with thrilling but controlled energy.
-Rick Anderson, All Music Guide
Bua (Gan Bua): Live at Martyrs' (2007)
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Beyond doubt, Chicago is one of the real, international hotbeds for traditional music. The city’s su...Beyond doubt, Chicago is one of the real, international hotbeds for traditional music. The city’s super popular group, Gan Bua, is surely one of the highlights. Formed in Chicago, September of 2001 by percussionist, Jackie Moran and fiddle player, Christy Bain, Gan Bua’s performance and travel schedule have joined the group’s busy recording career to accurately reflect the band’s steadily growing popularity. Gan Bua is composed of Irish-American musicians including Detroit’s, Sean Gavin on uilleann pipes and flute, St. Paul’s, Brian Miller on guitar and Brian Hart from St. Louis rounding things out on vocals, whistles and concertina. The band has re-formed once since its 2001 inception, and as Bain states, “We love the current line-up. Each player is really, really good at what they do.” Jackie Moran adds, “We have a real unanimity of opinion in the band. We all love traditional music and our sound is based on the groups of the 60’s and early 70’s like De Dannan, Planxty and The Bothy’s.” The response
to the group’s two albums and busy performance schedules indicate a real connection with their audiences. That 2001 inception came about when Jackie and Christy looked around their hometown and saw that there wasn’t a really full-time, all-traditional group in the city. At that same time, Chicago’s Jimmy Keane was just forming the famous bohola, so there was a gap at that moment, soon to be filled by both. The City of Broad Shoulders had several iconic musicians such as Liz Carroll, John Williams, Kevin Henry, John Daly, Larry Nugent, Dennis Cahill, and many
more have come since. Still, there was opportunity. And, we are talking about Chicago, here. As Moran and Bain looked around, there was no shortage of talented musicians from whom to choose, and, especially, as they looked to players they had come to know and respect over the years. Thousands of sessions, concerts and recording venues had given each an encyclopedic knowledge of the talent pool. Brian Hart brought a full tenor voice to the proceedings and a talent level that has seen him win the All-Ireland Senior Men’s Ballad (English) Award; the first American to do so. All the members of the group have competed successfully at fleadhs in Ireland, as well as the States. Brian Miller has recorded in Ireland with several musicians and Sean Gavin is touring with a Canadian musical/Irish dance show as this is written. Clearly, the group is no locally-based collection of musicians trying to break out of Chicago. This is a group that has established itself individually and as a group in the eyes and ears of the traditional community. Having performed from Boston to Atlanta, there is a 2008 tour of Ireland, England and Europe in the works. Add to that the fact that Jackie has a schedule that takes him to Europe about six times a year to play there with his very popular European-based group, Comas. Add to that Christy Bain’s ongoing work with the Welsh group, Crasdant, at venues
such as last year’s Celtic Connections in Scotland and
Celtic Colours in Canada, and we have the picture well in hand of a group with no need “to break out of Chicago”, but a group being challenged to co-ordinate the schedules while staying on course, and together, based out of Chicago. “We really want to take the group as far and high as we can,” says Bain. “We are all 100% committed, and that is what it takes.” The group’s exciting sound was captured in its second album, “Live at Martyrs”. Martyrs’ is a popular and eclectic performance club in Chicago that draws some of the very best in the business such as Flook, Lúnasa and we hasten to add Gan Bua! Live was recorded all in one evening at a special concert. In addition to the
level of the playing, there has also been favorable comment on the sound. Featuring great separation and balance, engineer, Ray Quinn captured the excitement of the live performance, with none of the usual, attendant sound compromises. Christy comments, “We are very prou
Bua (Gan Bua): Live at Martyrs’ (2007)
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This is a pretty nifty live set recorded at Martyrs' (on the north side of Chicago), the kind of pla...This is a pretty nifty live set recorded at Martyrs' (on the north side of Chicago), the kind of place that's just as comfortable presenting such national acts as Todd Snider, Shelby Lynn and the Rebirth Brass Band as they are lesser known lights like these guys. A quick glance at the list of people who've played there reveals such big Irish acts as Donal Lunny and Coolfin, Lawrence Nugent, and Liz Carroll too. Pretty heady company, and Gan Bua holds their own on that stage.
This is Gan Bua's second CD – with a largely new lineup, including St. Paulite Brian Miller (5 Mile Chase, Doon Ceili Band) – and it's as accomplished as some efforts by groups that have been together a lot longer. The instrumental interplay is tight and the vocal harmonies, sparse as they are, are nearly angelic. All of which is to say that the band's name – which roughly translates as "without talent" – should be taken with the tongue planted firmly in cheek.
The Chicago-based quintet – which also includes Christy Bain, Sean Gavin, Brian Hart and Jackie Moran – offers a…set of hornpipes, reels, jigs, and story songs (some in Gaelic) to an attentive and appreciative audience…Some more established bands might do well to aspire to be as talented and entertaining as these guys.
- Jim Tarbox
Bua (Gan Bua): Live at Martyrs' (2007)
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Gan Bua Live at Martyrs Self-Produced 11Tracks, Running Time: 52:17 The Chicago based quinte...Gan Bua
Live at Martyrs
11Tracks, Running Time: 52:17
The Chicago based quintet of Gan Bua is a gathering of musicians from across the American Midwest who are among the finest in traditional music in America. Led by percussionist Jackie Moran and fiddler Christy Bain, the group is rounded out with Brian Hart on vocals and concertina, Brian Miller on guitar, and Sean Gavin on pipes, flute and whistles. Live at Martyrs highlights the band’s strengths, with nary a weakness to be seen. The disc is as well-developed as any studio production could showcase. It is a work without gimmicks, where the musicianship is of the highest quality.
Their opening gambit is one that almost takes the match. "Up in the Garret/Seainin da bhfaigheadh/Perrywig Jockey" has a pair of jigs surrounding the vocals of Brian Hart. Sean Gavin’s spirited piping is featured on "Drumngarry/Dulaman Na Binne Bui/Thady Casey's," and then on the next set, "The Ballykeel/Condon's Frolics/The Humors of Glynn/Lietrim Fancy. Christy Bain’s fiddling is both strong, as on "Bobby Casey's/The Otter's Holt/The Easy Club", and understated, quietly painting the corners of Hart’s vocals on "Hare’s Dream."
Brian Miller’s guitar slips easily from rhythm to lead and back again throughout the album. Jackie Moran’s percussion is the driving force on many of the reels, but is also a restrained but effective feature on "Jig of Slurs/September Wedding/Padraig O’Keeffe’s." Hart’s vocals are reminiscent of Johnny Moynihan’s or Andy Irvine’s.
Gan Bua is the essence of a superb band, collaborative in nature, and able to build upon the best qualities of the other’s playing, and unselfish in sharing the leads. In many ways, it is a throwback to the playing of the 1960’s and 1970’s, keeping the music down the path of the tradition.
"Live at Martyrs" is a piece one can play without fear of wearing out its welcome.
Reviewer: Brian Witt
Bua (Gan Bua): Live at Martyrs' (2006)
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First up is the new Gan Bua treat, Live At Martyr's. Gan Bua is the creation of the ever-present Ch...First up is the new Gan Bua treat, Live At Martyr's. Gan Bua is the creation of the ever-present Chicago Ambassador of Percussion, Jackie Moran. This is the group's second album, and features a new line-up of really good players and singers.
Okay. We admit it. We root extra hard for anyone from Chicago. But, trust us on this one. Wherever you are from, you will love this collection of tunes and songs. Gan Bua is one of those groups that is very trad and very cutting edge at the same time. We have discussed this trend in this column. Suffice it to say, you gotta be real good to pull this off. Gan Bua is real good. Real good.
Usually, we despise live albums, as they seem to sacrifice everything to some mythical "live experience", which is really an excuse for a lousy sounding album, hastily thrown together. Not here. It IS live---and, yet, sounds as if it were done in a studio.
A definite winner for this talented quintet with kudos all-round--including the technical end of things. Trad meets young, great Chicago musicians. Really terrific stuff. Great!
There are no upcoming dates at this time.
|Jan 1, 2013 Tuesday||12:00 PM||For All Gigs see http://www.buamusic.com/schedule.html||MN, US|
|Nov 17, 2008 Monday||TBA||Skye Theater||South Carthage, ME, US|
|Nov 16, 2008 Sunday||TBA||Blackstone River Theater||Cumberland, RI, US|
|Nov 14, 2008 Friday||TBA||Wilde Auditorium at U of Hartford||Hartford, CT, US|
|Sep 7, 2008 Sunday||TBA||Fox Valley Irish Fest||West Dundee, IL, US|
|Sep 6, 2008 Saturday||TBA||Baile Corcaigh||Detroit, MI, US|
|Sep 5, 2008 Friday||8:00 PM||Fiddler's Hearth Public House||South Bend, IN, US|
|Aug 24, 2008 Sunday||7:00 PM||Buffalo Irish Fest||Buffalo, NY, US|
|Aug 24, 2008 Sunday||3:00 PM||Buffalo Irish Fest||Buffalo, NY, US|
|Aug 23, 2008 Saturday||5:00 PM||Buffalo Irish Fest||Buffalo, NY, US|
|Aug 23, 2008 Saturday||2:00 PM||Buffalo Irish Fest||Buffalo, NY, US|
|Aug 22, 2008 Friday||7:00 PM||Buffalo Irish Fest||Buffalo, NY, US|
|Nov 10, 2007 Saturday||8:00 PM||Irish Cultural and Heritage Center||Milwaukee, WI, US|
|Nov 9, 2007 Friday||TBA||TBD||Champaign, IL, US|
|Nov 8, 2007 Thursday||TBA||Irish American Heritage Center||Chicago, IL, US|
|Sep 16, 2007 Sunday||3:00 PM||Chicago Celtic Fest||Chicago, IL, US|
|Sep 15, 2007 Saturday||8:00 PM||Chicago Celtic Fest||Chicago, IL, US|
|Aug 18, 2007 Saturday||TBA||Milwaukee Irish Fest||Milwaukee, WI, US|
|Aug 11, 2007 Saturday||TBA||La Crosse Irish Fest||La Crosse, WI, US|
|Aug 10, 2007 Friday||TBA||La Crosse Irish Fest||La Crosse, WI, US|
|Jul 15, 2007 Sunday||8:00 PM||Buffalo Irish Center||Buffalo, NY, US|
|Jul 14, 2007 Saturday||TBA||Saline Celtic Fest||Saline, MI, US|
|Oct 28, 2006 Saturday||8:00 PM||Irish American Heritage Center||Chicago, IL, US|
|Oct 14, 2006 Saturday||8:00 PM||Celtic Music Association Concert||Des Moines, IA, US|
|Sep 17, 2006 Sunday||TBA||Quad Cities Erin Feis||Davenport, IA, US|
|Sep 2, 2006 Saturday||TBA||On The Waterfront||Rockford, IL, US|
|Aug 26, 2006 Saturday||TBA||Peoria Erin Feis||Peoria, IL, US|
|Aug 25, 2006 Friday||TBA||Peoria Erin Feis||Peoria, IL, US|
|Aug 19, 2006 Saturday||TBA||Milwaukee Irish Fest||Milwaukee, WI, US|