"...among the finest in traditional music in America." - Irish Music Magazine
"[Bua] fairly explodes with thrilling but controlled energy." - All Music Guide
"[Bua] have certainly done their historical homework. But they can also raise the rafters with their playing, charm with their singing, and delight with their contemporary energy." - Dirty Linen
"It's understandable if Bostonians and New Englanders take pride in their area's Irish music scene, but [An Spealadoir] serves notice that the Midwest has every right to puff out its collective chest" - Boston Irish Reporter
"In the spring of their musical careers, Chicago-based trad group Bua is in full bloom. „mDown the Green Fields is a wonderful compilation exemplifying each musician's years of dedication to their craft. - fiddlefreak.com
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." - Devon Leger, Driftwood Magazine
Bua is one of those groups that is very trad and very cutting edge at the same time. Suffice it to say, you gotta be real good to pull this off. Bua is real good. Real good. - Live Ireland
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, Folk Festival, Goderich Celtic Roots Festival, CityFolk, Catskills Irish Arts Week and Bethlehem’s Celtic Classic.
Brían Ó hAirt (lead vocals, concertina, sean-nós dance)
Brían's website: www.brianohairt.com
Brían Ó hAirt’s (Brian Hart) anomalous voice stands as a testament to the power of tradition. His ability to share the mind’s eye of an older generation of singers has afforded him great acclaim at his young age. He became the youngest and first ever American to win the coveted Sgiath Uí Dhálaighshield at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Listowel, Co. Kerry in 2002—adding his name to the shield’s long list of noted singers including Joe Heaney, Frank Harte and Paddy Berry.
His dedication to traditional song and more specifically to the sean-nós style of singing encouraged him to learn the Irish language to an uncanny fluency and along the way introduced him to the close-knit singing community of the Conamara Gaeltacht where Irish is still the commonly spoken language.
Brían has performed extensively in the United States at the Milwaukee Irish Festival, Chicago Celtic Festival, Sean-nós Milwaukee and the Traditional Singers Club of the Twin Cities and in Ireland at Lá na nAmhrán, Cruinniu na mBád, the Ennis Trad Festival and Cuairt na mBàrd. He has also had the distinction of being a singer to the President of Ireland, Dr. Mary McAleese. His recordings have been featured on many radio programs’ in Ireland including Céilí House on RTÉ and Lán a’ Mhála on RnG as well as on various NPR programs’ in the States.
In 2003 Brían established Sean-nós Milwaukee , the first festival in North America to focus on thesean-nós singing tradition. Its success has merited the production of a compilation album entitledSean-nós Cois Locha consisting of festival recordings from 2003-2005. Produced with the help ofCló Iar-Chonnachta publishing company, this album showcases some of America’s finest proponents of the tradition, both native Irish as well as American-born.
He is likewise a noted instrumentalist of accordion, concertina and whistle and plays with Milwaukee-based group Cé, and more recently with Chicago-based Bua, both of which Irish Music Magazine has lauded for their distinct talent and innovation in the vein of traditional music.
Brian Miller (guitar, backing vocals, flute)
Brian's website: www.evergreentrad.com
Brian Miller started playing Irish music as a 17-year-old in his decidedly non-Irish hometown of Bemidji, Minnesota. His first experiences with the music came through singing and playing guitar with The Gaels, a band he started with two friends who, like him, had no experience with Irish music.
Miller quickly dove deep into the Irish tradition. Since 1998, he has lived in Minnesota’s Twin Cities where a vibrant and supportive community of Irish musicians has nurtured his evolving musicality. County Offaly accordion player Paddy O’Brien and County Derry guitarist and singer Daithi Sproule (both long-time residents of the Twin Cities) have been big influences. More inspiration and encouragement has come from plenty of time spent in his other adopted home of Cork, Ireland. Miller’s primary instrument has always been the guitar and over the years his backing style using the DADGAD tuning has earned him a strong reputation throughout the US and in Ireland. Ramblesmagazine praises Miller as a guitarist “who really understands the music and doesn’t just play the chords”. He began playing the flute in 2000 while studying Irish music in Cork where his first teachers were Padraig Kelleher and Conal O’Grada. Also a strong traditional singer, he is the founder of the Traditional Singers Club of the Twin Cities.
As a member of a number of traditional Irish music groups and duos including The Tommie Cunniffe Trio, Norah Rendell and Brian Miller, Bua, The Doon Ceili Band, 5 Mile Chase and Laura and the Lads, Miller has performed throughout the US and in Canada and Ireland. In Ireland he has been featured on TG4, RTE television and RTE radio and back home he has performed on Minnesota Public Radio. He has been a guest lecturer on The Irish song tradition at University College Cork and he is currently a flute, whistle and guitar teacher at the Saint Paul based Center for Irish Music.
Sean Gavin (Flute, Uilleann Pipes)
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.
Devin Shepherd (fiddle)
Devin Shephard is a fiddler from Chicago. He 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. He is a member of Chicago-based ensemble Chicago Reel and has a degree in music composition from the Chicago College of Performing Arts.