Nine-8ths Irish

Nine-8ths Irish


NINE-8ths IRISH, a Sacramento-based 4-piece band, performs traditional music that is "IRISH AND A WEE BIT MORE".


Made up of fiddle, whistles, guitar and bodhran, NINE-8ths IRISH presents mainly traditional Irish and American tunes performed in an amalgam of styles. The individual members have performed at diverse settings from bluegrass festivals and coffee houses to Texas-style fiddle contests and military brass concerts.

Award-winning fiddler LINDA RELPH has been playing fiddle since becoming enthralled with the instrument during a 1974 trip to Weiser, Idaho, for the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest. Following a year in Ireland at age 15, she became an avid fan of Irish music, and has been playing it ever since. During the 1980s, she won the California Ladies Fiddle Championship four times, and she has twice placed in the top five nationally. Linda moved to Dallas in 1990, where she was part of several different bands, including Waifs & Strays, Pegasus Project, a popular acoustic trio, and The Killdares, a Celtic-rock band of which she was a founding member. After six years and three albums, she left the Killdares in 2002 to return to her home in northern California.

Guitarist KATHY BARWICK, a native of Sacramento, has performed acoustic music for more than 30 years. She's best known as a bluegrass musician, having played dobro in such bands as the Bluegrass Philharmonic, the All Girl Boys, the Avocado Brothers, and, currently, Mountain Laurel. Kathy is also a well-known music educator who writes an instructional column for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and teaches lead guitar and dobro at several music camps. Kathy has extensive recording and performing credits and has performed at the Strawberry Music Festival, the prestigious Healdsburg Guitar Festival, and the California Bluegrass Associationss annual bluegrass festival. Inspired by the powerful guitar work of John Doyle, Kathy has recently thrown herself into Irish music with a passion, integrating her deep knowledge of bluegrass music into the Irish tradition.

Whistle player BO BOWEN spent the first part of his musical career playing trumpet with various Air Force bands from 1972 to 1992. Bo found himself immediately addicted to traditional Irish music after attending a concert by the Irish-American band Cherish the Ladies in 2001. At that concert, he also fell in love with Irish whistles when he heard Joanie Madden playing them. Before hanging up his trumpet hat however, Bo performed with the acclaimed Irish band Lunasa at concerts in California and Nevada. As a whistle player, he has participated in music sessions throughout the western states as well as in the midwest. He has performed in concerts with such bands as Molly's Favourite and with Ha'penny Bridge in northern California.

Bodhran player CHRIS DUNLAP, the leader of NINE-8ths IRISH, skillfully drives the group with his powerful drumming. The youngest member of the band, Chris had never played a musical instrument until about two years ago, when he first picked up the Irish drum. But with his great sense of rhythm, and no preconception of how the bodhran was to be played, Chris developed quickly. He has come into the spotlight with his drum and now wouldn't have it any other way. Being married to Linda Relph has put Chris in the midst some of the most wonderful Irish music in the world as well as in contact with the musicians who play it (and it was that link to the music that made him pick up his first drum).


"West of Ireland"
Released October 2007, FGM Records
Played on KVMR FM 89.5

Set List

Our set list is comprised of sets of tunes, most of which are traditional, a few originals, and a few modern (in the last 50 years) tunes written in the traditional style. A 45-minute set can be anywhere from 8 to 12 sets of tunes.