Jimmy Keane & Pat Broaders
Paddy on the I&M Canal
Irish music's accordion virtuoso Jimmy Keane and the remarkable bouzar player and vocalist Pat Broaders, comprise bohola, Irish music's newest "supergroup" as penned by The Irish Herald. bohola play a driving, muscular, and yet very emotive style of Irish music with deep roots in the 'pure drop' tradition, infused with the raw and gritty urbanized musical vernacular of the Irish and Irish-American experience.
bohola's debut album is championed by the Irish Voice as "one of the most impressive debut recordings ever by an Irish traditional music group." The Courier News added, "Though most of the tunes bohola plays are well over 150 years old, the music comes across more vibrant than the moribund sounds of much of today's alternative rock. Their sound comes from the Irish version of jam sessions, but bohola puts the noodling of many current jam bands (Dave Matthews, among others) to shame."
The Irish Echo captured the essence of bohola when it reviewed their self-titled release. "The sum here is greater than the parts, and egos are subordinate to both execution and effect. bohola have crafted an album of intricate, nearly invisible latticework, relying not on gimmickry but on imagination and vision. What a welcome concept: muse-imbuing music."
Born in London of Irish-speaking parents, Jimmy Keane's accomplishments are far reaching. The son of a sean nos (old style) singer, he is All Ireland accordion champion for five consecutive years. He is a composer and arranger of Irish music and has produced and recorded numerous albums. Many regard Keane as the premier exponent of Irish music on the piano accordion. Noted University of Limerick Professor, composer, and musician Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin praised Keane as the "savior of the piano accordion." Emusic described him as "one of the true giants of Irish traditional music of the past fifty years."
Keane has performed and recorded with some of the best musicians in Irish music over the years including Liz Carroll, Michael Flatley, Mick Moloney, Eileen Ivers, and Seamus Egan. However, it was not until he started playing with Pat Broaders that the style of Irish music that Keane plays "really started to jell and this big huge raw and powerful sound came out of nowhere," reflected Keane. "We were like a glove - instinctively darting in and out of the music as if we were "as-one" playing the same big instrument."
Pat Broaders arrived in Chicago from Ireland in the 1990's. "Pat is a real veteran of the Irish music scene both here and abroad, playing, recording, and performing with many artists and bands over the years," said Keane. "Pat has this acute sense of music and rhythm that enables him to "lock in" his bouzar (bass bouzouki & guitar hybrid) playing to whatever I might do musically and rhythmically. The synergy that results spurs on bohola and draws in the audience. And his singing is brilliant - if I could sing, I'd love to sing like Pat."
bohola's key to their sound is the interplay between the musicians and the approach they take to their music. "It is the music that counts," states Keane. "We really listen to and respond to each other when we play - bending, twisting, and caressing the music as it flows along." Keane considers bohola fortunate to be able to perform and carry forward the traditional Irish music art form while placing their special touch to the music. "We are here to serve this great music and bring out what we feel is the best nature in the tunes and songs we play."
The Chicago Tribune wrote, "bohola plays 300-year-old jigs and reels as if they were trying to tear the house down. Keane's rippling accordion playing rapid, swirling melodies, while Pat Broaders accents the rhythm with his staccato bouzouki strumming. Broaders also takes the spotlight to sing plaintive ballads."
"We try to always play from the heart," said Keane, "and bring to the audience the core and the spirit of what the music we play and sing is about."
In concert, bohola perform music selections that weave in and out between tunes and songs that can continue for twenty minutes or so, ever evolving and flowing. They play tunes that range from hundred-year-old harp pieces, reels, jigs, slides, polkas and barndances to newly composed pieces in the traditional idiom. And the songs run the gamut from the ancient melodies of Ireland, to songs brought to North America by immigrants, to newly composed songs from here and abroad. All played with a freshness and subtlety of approach that is unique in Irish music today.
© 2013 JImmy Keane Music. Permission granted for publicity purposes only.
bohola ™ is a trademark of Jimmy Keane Music
bohola stage plot
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review: Jimmy Keane & Pat Broadersbohola
Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders
bohola music BMCD 1000
9 Tracks, Running time: 74.58 minutes
Reviewer: Brian Witt
Publication: Irish American Post
Bohola is a Chicago based duo featuring Jimmy Keane on piano accordion and Pat Broaders on vocals and bouzar and dordan. They have survived cast changes over the past decade, and this synthesized version is a veritable two man powerhouse of tunes and songs.
The album opens with Broaders on "January Man", a song by Dave Goulder about the passage of time, and then works into "Down the Doon," a tune by Keane. It sets the tone for the work, where a song is generally followed by an extended set of tunes. The next number is Tommy Sands' "The Bushes of Jerusalem," recounted by Broaders in a somewhat jaunty fashion, and is joined to a quintet of tunes, both traditional and composed by Keane and Broaders, "Over by Midways," "Across the Ocean," "Mr. McLeod," "The Drunken Traveler," and "Rourke," performed at zestful speed.
Things are slowed down for "Lament for Limerick," played as a solo by Keane, then into the song "In the Month of January," and finishing with "January's Lamentation," the melancholy is palpable. The slower pace is continued on the song "Ye Lover's All."
The duo show their diverse range across the entire album, with the intricate intertwining of old tunes with new, and both married well to songs, allowing them to flow in an amazing manner. The somewhat complex construction is a sign of the comfort level the two have for the other's abilities, trusting the paths the other is going down. Keane is a master of the piano accordion, able to play at breakneck speed or evocatively coaxing of notes during slow airs. Broaders knows the limitations of his voice, and shapes the songs to them, enabling him to garner an incredible command over them.
The pair are joined by former band mates Sean Cleland on fiddle and viola, and Kat Eggleston on backing vocals, reinforcing that sonic comfort zone visible across the entire work.
Bohola is a 75-minute romp, and a well woven cloth of auricle joy.
Just Plain Folks 2009 Celtic Album Winner
Just Plain Folks
2009 Celtic Album Winner
Plus 4th Place in Songwriting for "Down the Doon"
Jimmy Keane & Pat Broaders
IAN 2008 Vocal/Instrumental Album of Year
We are pleased to announce that bohola has received theChicago’s own hometown world champions. This album NEVER puts a foot wrong, and really showcases the two lads’ magic at its best. Jimmy and Pat are such a vibrant, critical part of Chicago’s preeminent position as the best city in the world for Irish music lovers. Their almost insane concert schedule proves the world agrees. These are two master musicians in their day and in their prime—and this album shows all that and more. Pat’s vocals get better and better and better---and no one can now touch Jimmy on that magical accordion of his. These guys, right now, are alpha and omega. We love ‘em!! WOW!!
2008 Vocal/Instrumental Album of the Year
"Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders"
Irish American News / Tradition in Review by Bill Margeson
An Irish Homecoming
Cherishing another great show
IrishCentral.com Staff Writer
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Cherish the Ladies and the rest of the Irish Homecoming cast
You would think that things might begin to quiet down a bit after the long St. Patrick’s Day season anymore, but you would be underestimating the stamina and penchant to entertain by a certain lady who calls Yonkers her home, that is, when she is at home.
And if you are making your living through Irish music and dance, well, you can’t give in to the calendar, but rather you have create excitement and interest all year round.
For 22 years Joanie Madden and her female troupe Cherish the Ladies have done that around the world, keeping things fresh and innovative. Last week was one of those tour-de-force barnstorming series of shows stretching from Virginia to Connecticut, with stops in New York and Pennsylvania that keep them far ahead of the pack.
All-star ensembles often promise a lot but don’t always deliver, so when I caught the current “Irish Homecoming” production in Easton, Pennsylvania last week, it could have been a case of highway congestion or forced or phony interaction between acts that seldom perform with one another and it can be disappointing especially if you shelled out big bucks to see it. Nothing to be concerned about here.
The cavalcade of talent included Liz Carroll and John Doyle, one of the hottest duets on the circuit, Nashville-based chanteuse Maura O’Connell, originally from Ennis, Co. Clare, and bohola, featuring piano accordion maestro Jimmy Keane and singer/bouzouki player Pat Broaders, who joined Cherish the Ladies’ fulltime contingent led by Madden.
Dermot Henry, the clever and comic song writer and performer made the weekend shows but sadly wasn’t at the Williams Center show at Easton’s Lafayette College last Tuesday when I dropped down.
Six top stepdancers, including four from the innovative percussive dance troupe Step Crew in Cara Butler, Jon Palatka, Dan Stacey and Joe Dwyer, joined forces with CTL regular Noelle Curran and the youngest of them all, Declan McHale from Birmingham, who was over for the World Irish Dancing Championships in Philadelphia, though a veteran of CTL British tours.
The Easton venue was the smallest on the tour that included Roanoke, the historic Troy Savings Bank outside of Albany and the University of Hartford which are all full-size venues, but the crowd of 400 was treated to the same show that impressed not for its size alone, but its simplicity as well.
Having learned a fair amount of stagecraft over the years, Madden put together a show that gave ample display to all 19 artists while weaving a tapestry of togetherness and simpatico on stage that made both halves fly by with amusement and virtuosity.
By creating a relaxed atmosphere on stage for the special guests and their party pieces, some of which were their own compositions, the show moved easily among the usual CTL stapes of chunes, songs and mesmerizing stepdancing. and at times nearly blew the lid off the theater.
Stagecraft is only worth so much, and making a personal connection with the audience can leave a more lasting impression. On this night, Madden met her match whenever O’Connell came on stage, grabbing the audience and microphone with crowd-pleasing numbers from her own repertoire like “Maggie” from her DeDanann days and Nancy Griffith’s “Trouble in the Fields” and “Teddy O’Neill” from the singing of Dolores Keane.
When she gave a very bluesy rendering of the old Bothy Band song “Do You Love An Apple” she not only showed off her versatility but also of the formidable backing band on stage.
For the encore, her a capella version of “The Water Is Wide” brought her face to face with the audience she had entertained in the best folk singer fashion all evening. Not only were they singing along, but they responded enthusiastically to her warmth and personality on this night.
The tandems of Doyle and Carroll and Keane and Broaders made the most of their solo spots, but also used their vast experience in rounding out the full-bore sound and impact of the music all evening. Their sheer drive and spark added by their genius are invaluable in making a large production like this work well.
When the music is as brilliant as this you expect great dancing, and the sextet on the night delivered in spades. Whether it was traditional hard shoe reel steps or hornpipes, they were kept on their toes and heels in masterly form.
Jon Pilatzke, who usually dances with his brother Nathan on the Chieftains tours, found an equally compatible partner in Dan Stacey, who specialized in Ottawa Valley step dancing as well.
The music isn’t only in their feet as they shared a fiddling duet playing a waltz, “Rose Bud of Allendale,” before teaming up with Butler and Dwyer for some impressive percussive footwork while sitting down on the job, a routine lifted from their full-fledged dancing show produced by their other gig, Step Crew.
The regular Cherish the Ladies show and the current ensemble of Madden, Mary Coogan, Mirella Murray, Roisin Dillon, Michelle Burke and Kathleen Boyle have logged a lot of stage time and miles together bringing Irish music far and wide.
Nothing wrong with sharing the load from time to time, and if you can keep the entertainment as lively as the “Irish Homecoming” did last week, their reputation will only continue to flourish.
Top Ten Christmas CDs
Top Ten Christmas CD's
Well, Christmas. Can these Christmases come any faster? This is the ultimate year so far to count your real blessings, such as good health, friends and family. Tough economic times. Music is the perfect gift at all times, but this year, the best way to say Merry Christmas to your special loved ones is with the affordable gift of music. Herewith, our Top 10 recommendations for giving the real Irish music, all released in the past year and all the best. We suggest, of course, Rampant Lion in Villa Park to get any of these for you. Paddy’s On the Square in Long Grove will also do the trick, as will cdBaby online—or just go to the listed artists’ websites. Except for the first one, Beal Tuinne, these are in no priority order. Let’s go!
1. Beal Tuinne—The most beautiful Irish album we have heard in 25 years of reviewing the music. Recorded live at St. James Church in 2007 in the town of Dingle, the work features the poetry of the town’s Caoimhín Ó Cinnéide, set to music by Shaun Davey and sung by Rita Connelly and Caoimhín’s daughter, Eilis, as well as Seamus Begley. It is stunning, haunting and purely Irish to the very deepest core of what it means to be Irish. True, real magic. A gift from God, and you can have it all for the price of the cd.
2. bo-Ho-Ho-hola or bohola (Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders) There is only one Irish Christmas album this year, trust us. Chicago’s own powerhouse, bohola (sic), has released the holiday gift and it is a treat—as is their simultaneous release of a new bohola bit of business simply titled, Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders. If you live in Chicago and are hip to real Irish music, then you will simply need the word that bohola has new albums out, and you’ll get them. If you are not familiar with them, trust us, you should be. No on else can do this stuff like they do. A Merry Christmas is to be had with the lads, and bo-Ho-Ho-hola is like having them over for a private celebration of music, laughs and very special Irish Christmas memories.
3. Sheridan’s Guest House (Dave Sheridan) Dave Sheridan is a terrific, terrific flute player. This album has a ton of guest stars, guaranteeing real variety. Really exciting Irish music. Crank this up in the car and go!! Sheridan’s debut is a winner all-round. A stunner.
4. House For Sale (David Gunning) David Gunning is a national treasure for Canadians, based out of Nova Scotia. We don’t get to see him in Chicago, at least so far, but we can hear him on this gorgeous album. He is a master songsmith, as well as singer. If you love deeply felt, intelligent music lovingly offered, this one is for you. Wow!
5. Pictures in Time and Out in the Fields (Matt and Orlaith Keane) Two albums here, both treasures. Pictures in Time gives us Matt and daughter, Orlaith in a great duet of a vocal album. Matt has been our favorite singer of the Galway Keane family for years now, and these two albums show why. Years and years ago, we called him The Voice of the West. Still is. Out in the Fields is his solo album, also just out. The Keane family legacy is in great hands with Orlaith for the future and Matt for today. Matt Keane is among the very, very best singers in Ireland. Get it, and you will hear Galway, itself.
6. First Things First (Ailie Robertson) Scotland’s Ailie Robertson joins a rare few at the top of the Celtic harp players’ list like Michelle Mulcahy and Maire ni Chathasaigh. Her debut album is a great mix of trad, and Celtic fusion—trad, jazz, all-Ailie. It is absolutely stunning. Looking for a harp album this year? Here it is!
7. The Home Ruler (Catherine McEvoy) This lovely Leitrim girl is a wonder on the wooden flute. Her tone is impeccable. A great player. This is the real, true trad flute played at its best by a master of the form. Geez, this is great! We have listened to it over and over, and so will you!
8. Tuned Up (Brendan Mulholland, Brendan Hendry, Paul McSherry) These three lads from Northern Ireland have produced perfection with a guitar, flute and fiddle in a straight-ahead piece of pure trad. No gimmicks. No hype. No nonsense. Trad as it is meant to be played from three guys who can really play it. This is a front runner for Instrumental Album of the Year.
9. Humours of Highgate (John Blake, Lamond Gillespie, Mick Leahy) Another piece of brilliance in an all-instrumental take on the tradition. John Blake was part of the Album of the Year a few years ago in Tap Room Trio, and this is another stunner of a wonder. Trad music may not be played better. This is a real contender for Instrumental Album of the Year. How you gonna choose between this and Tuned Up? Don’t. Get both.
10. Any of the Compass Re-Releases. This is the year Compass Records in Nashville has begun re-releasing a lot of the original Green Linnet albums. We have early Bothy, Moving Hearts, Dolores Keane and John Faulkner. All music that a lot of us cut our trad teeth on. Check out the Compass website, and know that you cannot possibly go wrong with ANY of these re-releases. They are the cornerstones for today. Every single one of them a huge winner, as Compass is re-releasing only the best. Go. Go! GO to the site. You’ll see!!
bo-HO-HO-hola… Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders
If you only have to buy one Christmas Album this year, then this is the one. It’s simply brilliant and Bill agrees with me on this great album. Jack Baker says the same in his column too. We’re right you know.
Irish American News Top Ten Christmas CDPiping It In
By Jack Baker
Irish American News
Top Ten Christmas CDs
We’ve sort of started a tradition of listing our top ten Christmas CDs, but, I have made a couple provisos. First off, the CD has to be in print. I’ve got some lovely bits in my personal collection that will never come into circulation again, what good does it do to tell you about them if you can’t get a copy for yourself?
Secondly, I’ve got eleven that I think deserve mention, so here goes… in no particular order…
1. bo-Ho-Ho-hola, by Bohola, new this year from one of Chicago’s finest trad bands, it has everything; laughter, tears and fine music.
2. Goodwill to Men, by Seamus Kennedy. I’ve written often about how much I like Seamus’ music, is it any wonder that his Christmas CD is a winner?
3. An Nollaig, An Irish Christmas, by Eileen Ivers. Featuring Eileen’s magic violin and the incomparable voice of Tommy MacDonnel, it was a best seller last year.
4. Noel, a BC Christmas!, by Brigid’s Cross. The same joy that Paul, Peggy and Richie share with their audience is here on their Christmas CD. Lots of non-traditional fun and heart-felt sincerity.
5. Christmas Carols, by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. Recorded live in the cathedral, this CD gives you the big church sound that brings a lump to your throat and makes you resolve to be a better person.
6. Gentle Christmas, by Gavin Coyle. Can this boy sing! My favorite tenor, he turns these traditional carols and Christmas songs into works of art. If you haven’t heard Gavin sing, be nice to yourself and give him a listen.
7. On Christmas Night, by Cherish the Ladies. A CD you’ll certainly cherish by one of the finest traditional Irish bands around.
8. A Celtic Christmas, by Iain MacHarg. One of the finest pipers in the US, Iain MacHarg put together this lovely collection of popular tunes performed on pipes, flute and whistle. A beautiful Christmas instrumental by this Vermont piper.
9. Tommy Makem’s Christmas by who else. Do you still feel the pain of missing Tommy’s voice? I do. This lovely recording, his only Christmas CD, takes away some of the hurt and brings back great memories of seeing the man who dug the well perform.
10. Duan Nollaig, by Fiona MacKenzie. Here’s one that could give voice lessons to the angels. This 2 CD set of carols sung in Scots Gaelic came out last year on Greentrax and it’s been one of our favorites since.
11. Bah! Humbug, the Alternative Christmas Album, by various demented artists. Got to have some fun at Christmas and this one is the best. Contains Eric Bogle’s “Santa Bloody Claus” and Robin Laing’s “I’m the Man Who Slits the Turkey’s Throats at Christmas” and others just as strange. It has been called “the thinking man’s Christmas CD”, it’s also been called “bloody bizarre”, you make up your own mind. We enjoy it and I think you will too.
By Earle Hitchner
BO-HO-HO-HOLA by Bohola:
The first track on “A Childhood Christmas,” Bohola’s 2000 Christmas
CD, is “The Frost Is All Over,” and the first track on this new CD leads with “Is the Frost All Over?” followed by “Six Christmases,” “On a C h r i s t m a s Day,” “The Holly Jig,” “The Wren, the Wren,” and “The Christmas Polkas,” all in the same medley.
Bohola is the duo of piano accordionist Jimmy Keane and singer,bouzouki, and dordan player Pat Broaders.
Terry Winch’s Bronx based Christmas story “Celebration,” Frank Kelly’s “Dear Nuala” (a humorous Irish take on the “Twelve Days of Christmas”), and a passage from Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” are among the stories and anecdotes woven into the music of this appealing, 18-track
CD. For more information, visit www.bohola.com.
By Bill Margeson
Irish Music Magazine
If you live in Chicago and love Irish music, Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders's bohola is a part of you. And, it is 10th anniversary time for bohola! By the way, as we start this, spare the posts to IMM here pointing out that bohola has not been capitalized. It never has been. Now, there is Bohola in Mayo. Jimmy, however, sees the name as a larger, expansive and more intangible feeling of the word and the area itself. Anyway, back to growing up musically with bohola.
Jimmy is a native Chicagoan. Many, many Irish music aficionados would consider him the best piano accordion player in the music. Everyone in Chicago would---we love our hometown heroes here. As far back as our memories go, Jimmy has been a presence on the scene, as well as a huge talent. Magical names "from the day" in Chicago attach to Jimmy---places like Hanley's House of Happiness, the 6511 and session after session after session. Jimmy's knowledge of the music is encyclopedic. Scary, actually. He is still young enough to remember everything he knows. He also runs the business end of things through his music company, Cappal Beag, Irish for "small horse". The name comes from his Dad's nickname, "The Horse". His Italian, custom-made accordion also bears part of the name—Cappal. Pat Broaders is a native-born Dubliner. It wasn't long after coming to Chicago that he and Jimmy met. Pat has always sung in his traditional tenor, and when arriving in Chicago was playing guitar. That has certainly expanded! First, as bohola was really getting going, Pat asked Joe Foley in Dublin to make him a dordan. Think of a custom-made bouzouki on steroids. Huge. HUGE! Foley has also made Pat the instrument he now favors in the duo—a bouzar. (Laughingly pronounced "boozer" by the two.) A guitar with a longer bouzouki, eight-string neck. Great sound and flexibility. We have often thought that Pat's singing, always a main feature of the group, has---like the proverbial fine wine—improved and mellowed over the years.
Over the last decade, they have expanded and contracted the group, as the charter-member duo has remained at the helm. There is the now legendary story of how, as an afterthought, Jimmy put in a couple tracks bohola had recorded along with some other artists his Cappal Beag Music was representing, and sent it off to Shanachie Records. The response was immediate. They wanted to record bohola. Now!! A contract followed, as did the group's overnight success, at that point in the making over years and years. Bohola was hot. Really hot. Suddenly, everyone in the music knew who they were. Success piled on success. Fiddler, Sean Cleland and singer, Kat Eggleston also spent time as an important part of the mix. We remember being in Dublin at the time, which was also during the high tide of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. We were in the Mercantile Pub, and were used to being asked repeatedly about Jordan, such was his fame and popularity at the time. A young gal, hearing we were from Chicago, came over with the "now I'm going to ask you all about Michael Jordan" look all over her face. Smiling excitedly, she asked, "You're from Chicago? Do you know bohola?? God, they're great!!" We figured then that the group had really arrived. A full decade on, everything has changed. And, as usual in these things, nothing has changed. Still at the center of it all is the music.
Now, come two—yes, two—new albums from the group. There is the self-titled, bohola, Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders, as well as a Christmas album, Bo-Ho-Ho-hola. Why two? Laughs Jimmy, "Well, the bohola album itself was set to be released some months ago, and then was to be followed by the Christmas album. With perfect Irish timing, that didn't work out as we planned, so here they are together!" Pat adds, "It HAS been several years. Making up for lost time, we call it." Of course, the album and downloads are available at bohola.com, as well as all the regular sources for cd sales.
The first album to talk about is Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders. Several aspects pop to mind immediately. The first is the longer form tunes Jimmy and Pat have favored for a few years. Stringing together tunes and songs, some of the selections go as long as 13 minutes in blazes of song and musicianship showing sure hands at the wheel. States Jimmy, "We both love playing the longer stuff, and we hope the audience does, too. It is real fun. I love to work on how to connect them, and which ones really work together. It is a lot more than you might think. Tempo, songs, melodies. Challenging, and fun."
"We spend a lot of time on the road, and we get some real time to work it all out. The playing of the pieces is almost secondary, once the creative bit is done. I remember reading that Alfred Hitchcock used to say that actually filming the movie was anti-climatic, as he had already made it in his head. Same thing, sort of. But, then comes the best part, playing it for the audience," reflects Pat.
The emotional highlight of the album has to be the tune, Gweneen, in honor of the great fiddler and tragically lost friend of Jimmy and Pat's, Gwen Sales. The Chicago Irish music scene has never fully recovered from her loss. Also on the album is Down the Doon, penned by Jimmy in remembrance of the scattering of her ashes in Scotland with her sons and husband, Dennis Cahill. "It is still difficult to talk about and remember," says Jimmy, "I just hope the music somehow reflects, a little, how special she is to all of us."
One of the favorite bohola standards is also included, Pat's singing of January Man. "We love that song. We never get tired of it, and thankfully, we are often asked for it at our concerts," says Pat.
The Christmas album is a full-on mix of music, song, poetry, storytelling and merry-making in general. Loving memories mix with hilarious recitations and readings, while, of course over all, is the music of the season. Lots of Nollaig spirit here, ranging from Pat's reading of Is the Frost All Over, to his singing of the classic, Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake, to Jimmy's lovely playing on The Snow Waltz.. Each of the selections includes the music, as well as a recitation or reading. The overall effect is a lovely visit to a real Irish Christmas.
What becomes obvious is that bohola has met the real, true challenge of being together a full decade. Many groups---and we all know who we are talking about here---go stale after one or two albums. It is as if they are an author with one, maybe two, good ideas for a novel. After that, endless repetition, and trying to milk it as long as possible. Clearly not the case with bohola. Maybe it is all that time on the road. Both musicians have done nothing but improve and improve to the point where their tunes and songs are almost a matter of instinct. These two are true friends and musical partners. They would have to be to last the 10 years. A decade is a long time. It can be a prison sentence of boredom, or a creative opportunity. It is obvious which road bohola has taken. When you talk to the lads, the sense of fun and easy comradeship is still there.
Years ago, we remember hearing a few tunes from bohola at some venue or other, and sitting next to Chicago icon, Kevin Henry. As they completed a set of jigs, Kevin turned and said, "These are men well about their business." True then. True now. A decade is a long time—but maybe not when you are having this much fun.
By Brian Witt
18 tracks Running time 58.40
The Chicago duo of Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders are out with a
Christmas album that is unlike most releases of that genre. It combines
humour, music and song, tied together with narratives. It almost
sounds like a sampled album, with bits and pieces tossed in.
The opening track sets the tone and the theme for the album.
Broaders does a bit about a Christmas in the Irish Bronx, then going
into the Wren Boys song, and Jimmy Keane follows with parts of
Handel's Messiah and Jingle Bells as a combined tune. This manic
approach is sustained through the work - and it does work.
Broader's narrative of a Christmas story is underlined by Keane's
playing. The middle of the album is filled with the Yule tale of
a young boy, and is reminiscent of Dylan Thomas's, A Child's
Christmas in Wales. Although the story of New York Irish coming
across in Broader's Dublin accent seems a bit incongruous, it fits the
theme. Keane's arrangements and playing on piano accordion well
The songs cross all sorts of styles, such as the Pogue's, Fairytale of
New York, to the plaintively delivered The Bells of Paradis, which is
preceded by a subtly played March to Fingal. Miss Fogarty's is a
song that recalls Keane's time in Green Fields of America. Broader's
excellent rendition of Boys of Barr na Sráide is backed by Keane,
and is followed by a well played Chapleizod by the duo.
They are joined on the album by former band-mate, Sean Cleland,
on fiddle and vocals, Kathleen Keane and Mary Broaders on vocals,
and Larry Gray on bass. 'bo-ho-ho- hola' finishes with a bit of
whimsy - Frank Kelly's Dear Nuala, the twelve days of Christmas
come to life, and Recipe, the attempted creation of a fruit cake with
Bo-ho-ho-hola is not a typical Christmas album, but it is fun, well
played and memorable. It was well thought out, and the invested
work shows. Happy Christmas to all.
Brian G. Witt
new bohola recording reviews
Tradition in Review / Irish American News / November 2008
Well, it IS getting to be that time of year, and there is no denying it. Next month, we will be featuring our Top 10 Christmas List for the real Irish music lover in your gift planning. You know the bit, the albums we’d like to receive in the ‘auld Christmas stocking. As opposed to the more normal and expected lump of coal. Say, with everything else going on, this may be the most important holiday to give some great music, smile, join together and give thanks for what we all still have. Far more important is the music, and not the $400 iPod to play it on. Especially now, hey? Let’s begin this month, however. Look, we make no excuses, nor do we have to, for being home town rooters for bohola. And, btw, the group’s name is NOT capitalized, so save the e-mails and phone calls— especially from my eighth grade grammar teacher, Miss Kathy Gramp. bohola is, of course, Jimmy Keane on piano accordion and Pat Broaders on “bouzar”. Yup. “Bouzar.”
It was made for Pat by master instrument maker, Joe Foley, in Dublin. It has a bouzouki’s neck and a guitar body. Great sound, and it is unique. Beautifully played.
And, Jimmy? Well, let’s just let it suffice that he is the best piano accordion player in the business, no debate. More
importantly, he has a real musician’s set of ears, and is very, very tasteful.
Both of them have played so much trad for so long it is now an intuition, rather than an effort. They have also reached that point where they really don’t have to worry about how they are going to “make the notes” in a technical sense, but they can rather just concentrate on the ambience and feeling they seek to convey. Only the best can do this. The new album is simply entitled, bohola: Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders. Hard to believe they have been together 10 years, already. Ain’t it funny how time slips away?This album follows the longer format the boys have been employing the last few years. While there are only nine selections, they cover an astounding 1:14! It takes a real sense of musicality to pull this off. So many try to play longer pieces of music, with lots of changes, dips and rills. Few succeed. We still think the best are the old La Bottine Souriante, Hayes and Cahill—and
bohola. We have written so many words about Pat and Jimmy over the years, we are somewhat
stumped what to say. No one sounds like them. No one else plays like them. They are wonderful, and what the heck else is there? We DO think, and have for some time, that the real secret ingredient that just keeps getting better and better is Pat’s vocals. We thought he was a decent singer when the group began. Not really exceptional. My, how THAT has changed! Pat is a terrific, terrific singer.
The lads are joined by guest stars Larry Gray on bass, Sean Cleland on fiddle, Mary Broaders and one of our all-time favs, Kat Eggleston on vocals.
Our favorite cut? “Gweneen,” in memory of the great Gwen Sales. All true musicians and singers keep growing and getting better, even when that doesn’t seem possible. So, here it is. bohola’s newest, and it is magic. Rampant Lion, Paddy’s on the Square, locally—and cdBaby on the net are sure to have it. Jimmy is very good at getting
it out—so this album should be widely available.
Rest assured it will be on our Christmas Top 10.
Rating: Four Harps
Wait! Why wait? We are doubly lucky to have a SECOND bohola release. A Christmas album. Called, bo-Ho-Ho-hola, it is easily the best Christmas album of the year. Get it ordered. Wow! Everything we said above is also true here. Fab. Brill. The best. This is really, really fun.
There are songs and tunes aplenty. And, magically, some really wonderful poetry, comedic bits,
and lots of memories of real Irish Christmases past. This one should get some close
listening to get the full measure. Great love and care is in evidence here. This is no throw it together
piece of Christmas commercialism. We think it joins the Chieftains’ Bells of Dublin and Kathy Cowan’s
A Kiltartan Road Christmas as the best of this format. Great music and lots of laughs, tender recollections
and a real, true sense of the season.
As we stated at the top of this month’s column—these are not the best of times. All the more important
that this album is available. This album IS Christmas, well, from an Irish perspective, anyway. We have
loved bohola from the first note 10 years ago, but never more so than on this Holiday
treat. You’ll find it at the same places listed above for the other album. Get ‘em both. Enjoy.
Rating: Four Harps
reviews: An Irish Homecoming & CTLNovember 07. 2008
REVIEW: 'Irish Homecoming' stages a triumph
By Diana Nollen
IOWA CITY — "An Irish Homecoming" is part bonfire, part pep rally and a major victory for performers
and audience alike. The Celtic music and dance celebration filled The Englert Theatre with a footstompin', hand-clapping hooley Thursday night for the first of two sold-out performances from Hancher's relocated season.
Brogues, jigs and feet flew through the air for 2 1/2 hours, led by the New York-based Cherish the
Ladies and its sassy Irish whistle maven, Joanie Madden. Joining the six marvelous ladies onstage
were powerhouse singer Maura O'Connell; hilarious singer/guitarist Dermot Henry; mesmerizing accordion / bouzar duo Bohola; seven champion stepdancers; and five high-stepping lasses from Claddagh Irish Dancers in Dubuque, clad in their gorgeous solo dresses.
That was nearly more talent than the Englert stage could hold. I'm sure the dancers would have liked a
little more room for the flinging finale, but it was really special to experience this show in such an
intimate setting. Being close enough to see Cherish's Mirella Murray smile blissfully as she played her accordion,
seated next to Bohola's Jimmy Keane who played his accordion with his eyes closed, lost in the reverie, added
an unexpected layer of enjoyment. And to see the flying footwork up close was beyond thrilling.
Throughout the show, the masterful musicianship, from jubilant jigs and rollicking reels to heart-wrenching
ballads, made it hard to sit still. Several songs sparked spontaneous bursts of hand-clapping, hoots and hollers
— not surprising from a region home to the lively County Johnson Irish, SaPaDaPaSos and Wylde Neptiles.
The songs just kept rolling from the tireless players. Even though the groups have separate identities and
established repertoires, the most amazing thing was the way they could blend seamlessly when playing as one.
They traded melodies and harmonies, stepping into the spotlight and just as easily slipping into supporting
roles, offering their own spontaneous stomps and whoops after especially fiery passages.
Just as captivating were the quiet moments, when Michelle Burke wrapped her delicate, pure voice around a
mournful melody or O'Connell sang of the trials Irish immigrants faced through famine and perilous seas.
O'Connell and Madden complement each other's larger-than-life style, making saucy asides, filling the stage
with theatrical exuberance. And even when O'Connell is singing the Irish blues, she has a smile on her face that
lights up the room...
By BOB SAAR
for The Hawk Eye
Someone please bring Cherish the Ladies back to town in February, when we're locked down in the winter doldrums and need some good news to cheer and warm us.
Cherish the Ladies is the all-female Irish-American group that played Burlington's Memorial Auditorium Sunday night as this month's Civic Music offering.
They were hot.
Cherish the Ladies was formed in 1985 in New York by Joanie Madden. The six-piece musical group plays acoustic traditional music ranging from Irish jigs to Scottish hornpipes to waltzes.
Madden was unable to perform last night, but the band -- and the audience -- lucked out when the Irish duet Bohola filled in for her, adding accordion virtuoso Jimmy Keane and bouzarist Pat Broaders to the sextet. Keane shared the Irish piano accordion work with Mirella Murray of County Galway and Broaders worked his bouzar -- a cross between a Greek bouzouki and guitar -- in and around Mary Coogan's guitar.
The band included two traditional step dancers: 25-year-old Joe Dwyer of Brooklyn was an audience favorite with his high-stepping style of Irish dancing. Fiddler Dan Stacey of the Celtic rock band Seven Nations is an expert Ottawa Valley step dancer and fiddler, but he spent most of the evening dancing with Dwyer rather than fiddling with Belfast native Roisin Dillon.
After a brief introduction by Roger Hatteberg and Barbara McRoberts, the band went straight to the point with a strong set of traditional songs ranging from the upbeat "When the Boys Come Rolling Home" to an original ballad by vocalist Michelle Burke.
No one dressed in what could be mistaken for traditional Celtic garb, least of all Burke, who dazzled all with her star-spangled boots and snazzy tights.
The band waltzed, then polkaed, then hornpiped their way throughout the evening.
A number of the songs had a distinct Cajun flavor. Scottish and Irish music blurred together over several centuries, then was further mixed with French music in Quebec by immigrants, and then migrated to Louisiana when the Acadians -- French Canadians -- were expelled by the British.
Thus the uptempo accordion numbers sounded at times like New Orleans street music sung with Irish and Scottish accents.
Canadian Stacey came on early with a solo fiddle number accompanied by his own tap shoe rhythms.
"That's a thing they do in Quebec," he explained. "You'll never see an Irishman doing that."
The upbeat numbers -- nearly every song was upbeat and had the audience grinning and clapping -- were never dazzling forays into incomprehensible solo musicianship: They were just plain good, solid performances. The more sedate numbers, although mellower in tempo and attack, were never in a morose vein and in fact had as much psychic and emotional energy as the uptempo songs.
The rumors that the auditorium would be a chilly version of hell due to a downed boiler were unfounded, and most of the audience had stripped off their coats long before intermission.
"I think the tunes are kind of keeping us warm," Coogan said.
Civic Music's next event is the Chicago Jazz Orchestra on Thursday, Dec. 11.
Someone please bring back Cherish the Ladies.