Paddy O’Brien & Chulrua

The name of our group is Chulrua, and we play Irish traditional music. Chulrua (pronounced cool-ROO-ah), translates from the Irish as “red back,” and was the name and distinguishing feature of the favorite wolfhound belonging to ancient Irish hero Fionn MacCumhaill.

Our concerts are in keeping with the old tradition—music in a relaxed, intimate atmosphere, and tunes offered as they were handed down from generation to generation in Ireland. The heart of Irish music is the session, where tunes are played and traded, and conversation about music is the central theme. Sessions can be held anywhere, but are usually the best—and most relaxed—in a small, intimate place like the kitchen of a house or a small pub. The music we present onstage comes from that tradition.

We’ve all performed at community fairs and festivals, colleges and universities, folk clubs, and a variety of other venues—doing concerts, workshops, dances, and school residencies all over the United States, Canada, Ireland, and beyond.

More about Chulrua

Paddy O’Brien & Paul Wehling

Paddy and Paul began playing together at Kieran’s Irish Pub, and over the years have developed a wonderfully complementary style, with Paddy on button accordion, and Paul on bouzouki, banjo, guitar, and vocals.

Paul Wehling was a founding member of Clumsy Lovers, a band which dominated the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Irish/Celtic music scene in the early 1990s, made two recordings and won a Minnesota Music Award. He also founded a Celtic music trio, the Blackbirds, with Sean Egan and Sam Adams, and is a highly sought-after accompanist.

In addition to their longstanding gig at Kieran’s, Paddy and Paul have played the highly-regarded Showcase series at the Riverview Cafe and Wine Bar in Minneapolis, and the Moorhead Celtic Festival, and numerous other community events. Paddy and Paul  were joined by fiddler Tom Schaefer and traditional singer Erin Hart for their 2011 debut recording, THE SAILOR’S CRAVAT.

Paddy O’Brien & Erin Hart

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Readings and Book Chats

If you’re a bookstore, library, or book club looking for something just a bit different from a traditional author reading, you’ve come to the right place! Paddy does public programs in tandem with his wife, Erin Hart, author of archaeological crime novels set in the mysterious bogs of Ireland.

Paddy and Erin love speaking to booklovers, writers’ groups, library audiences, book clubs, and any group interested in Irish history, traditional music, and culture. The setting can be as formal as a theater stage or as informal as a circle of chairs beside the fire. The cost for presentations varies—please contact us to chat about what you have in mind…

Paddy O’Brien & Erin Hart

An Intriguing Mixture of Irish Music and Mystery

BK-RFC_658x490_300dpiPaddy plays tunes on button accordion and offers a few tales from his adventures growing up in rural Ireland, in a thatched house with no electricity or running water, and Erin spins the story of her latest novel, inspired by a 9th-century book of Psalms found in an Irish bog.

This is available as a full multimedia program; we bring our own laptop, digital projector, and projection screen to share images from our stories. We always enjoy answering questions from the audience, and often perform some selections from our recording, THE SAILOR’S CRAVAT.

More about Paddy and Erin

Paddy’s Previous Band Affiliations

  • O’Rourke’s Feast — 2005 to 2015
  • The Doon Ceili Band — 2003 to 2010
  • Hill 16 — 1983 to 1984
  • Bowhand — 1978 to 1982
  • Ceoltoiri Laighean — 1971 to 1978
  • The Castle Ceili Band — 1969  to 1978
  • The Sean Ryan Band — 1968
  • The Ballinamere Ceili Band — 1966  to 1969