Jimmy Keane & Pat Broaders
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.
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Just Plain Folks
2009 Celtic Album Winner
Plus 4th Place in Songwriting for "Down the Doon"
Jimmy Keane & Pat Broaders
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
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!!
Piping It In
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.
"A Double for the Glorious Tenth"
Irish Music Magazine
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
November 07. 2008
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.