Kent’s Spotlight Series presents We Banjo 3, an award-winning quartet from Galway, Ireland on Friday, Feb. 9, at Kent-Meridian Performing Arts Center, at 7:30 p.m.
We Banjo 3 stole the show when they opened for The Irish Rovers during the 2016-2017 Spotlight Series, so the Kent Arts Commission is pleased to have them back this year, headlining their own show. The quartet finds common ground between old world tradition and authentic Americana by plying their banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin in an innovation fusion of styles that they dub “Celtgrass.”
Four albums in — their latest, String Theory, was released in July of 2016 — the band’s rousing revelry, sheer virtuosity, power, passion and purpose have made them one of the music world’s most celebrated ensembles. Variously described as “astonishing,” “the Gold Standard of Irish and American Roots music,” and “the Irish Punch Brothers,” they’ve claimed the # 1 position in Billboard’s World Music charts and top honors from IMRO (the Irish Music Rights Organization).
Made up of two sets of siblings — brothers Enda Scahill (tenor banjo, vocals) and Fergal Scahill (fiddle, viola, dobro, percussion, guitar, mandolin, vocals) and brothers Martin Howley (tenor banjo, mandolin, vocals) and David Howley (lead vocals, guitar) – We Banjo 3 finds a natural symmetry as well as a cohesive chemistry. Inspired by the traditional Irish and Americana music they heard growing up, they placed three banjo players in the mix in the beginning, eventually diversifying their sound and broadening their boundaries.
The individual members of We Banjo 3 bring credentials that extend well beyond their family connections – all four are among the most celebrated and distinguished young musicians in Ireland today. Martin is a seven-time all-Ireland banjo champion and the first Irish musician to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. Enda has recorded with Ricky Skaggs, the Chieftains and many others, aside from being considered as one of the world’s leading authors and authorities on Irish banjo techniques. Fergal has performed with dozens of artists at home and abroad, and is widely recognized as an Irish champion of both fiddle and bodhran. David has been cited as a solo artist of exceptional skill, while Garry is a veteran of work with numerous bands and individual artists.
Tickets are $26 for adults, $24 for seniors and $15 for youths. Tickets for this and all Spotlight Series performances are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased online at kentarts.com, by calling 253-856-5051 or in person at the Kent Commons, 525 4th Ave. N. Hours for phone and in-person sales are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Box office is closed on Sunday.
Spotlight Series is presented by the Kent Arts Commission and Kent Parks, Recreation and Community Services, and partially funded by 4Culture and a variety of business and individual sponsors. We Banjo 3’s performance is sponsored by the Pete and Pat Curran Family in memory of Don Raftis, as well as by the Kent Parks Foundation. For information call 253-856-5050 or visit kentarts.com.
The Kent-Meridian Performing Arts Center is located at 10020 SE 256th St., Kent: