Chulrua ~ Concert/Ceili on March 16

March 5, 2012CHULRUA, the Irish traditional trio led by button accordion legend Paddy O’Brien, will offer a concert/ceili dance at 7:00 pm on Friday, March 16, at the Friends Meeting House, 1725 Grand Avenue in Saint Paul. The evening will feature Paddy O’Brien on two-row button accordion, Nathan Gourley on fiddle, and Brian Miller on guitar, flute, and vocals. Admission is $12 for all ages.

The first half of the program will be a lively concert of foot-tapping Irish traditional music. After the break, the concert seating will be pushed aside for a céilí dance. Originally just a general term for a party, a céilí (pronounced ‘KAY-lee’) is now the term used for an Irish social dance, where people do jigs, reels, polkas, sometimes in groups of four to eight, sometimes in long lines or circles.

No partner and no previous dance experience is required; all dances will be taught. All ages are welcome; this event promises to be a great night out for the whole family, and a chance to get into the spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day ahead of the crowds!

Tickets are available for purchase at the door, or book right now online at the top right corner of this page.

For information, contact Erin Hart or Paddy O’Brien at 651-698-2258 /


Band member biographies:

Paddy O’Brien, internationally renowned master of the button accordion, known for the depth and breadth of his knowledge about Irish traditional music. He gained that knowledge by spending time playing and talking with master musicians from an older generation in Ireland, and for years has been passing down what he learned to a younger generation of musicians in Minnesota. Paddy does not read music, but carries in his head nearly 4,000 distinct melodies, sometimes multiple versions of the same tune, from regional variations to particular interpretations by individual musicians. He is frequently called upon as a source for musicians around the globe who consult him for historical and cultural background information on Irish music. Paddy has won numerous awards, including multiple first-place awards in the Oireachtas competitions sponsored by the Gaelic League in Ireland, as well as multiple awards in the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil sponsored by the traditional music organization Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. He has served as a master artist in Minnesota State Arts Board Folk Arts Apprenticeship program, and received a prestigious Bush Artist Fellowship in Folk and Traditional Arts. He has also received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Irish Fair of Minnesota Legacy Fund, and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. He is also a member of the internationally-renowned Irish music trio Chulrua, and The Doon Céilí Band. On March 24, 2012, Paddy will be honored as Ireland’s Traditional Composer of the Year by Irish language television network, TG4.

Nathan Gourley held his first fiddle at 2 years of age. With support from his musical family (in particular his father, who is a fiddler), Nathan enrolled in Suzuki violin lessons when he was 5 years old.  He went on to study classical violin with Gene Purdue, former first violin of the Thouvenel Quartet.  In his younger years, Nathan made regular stage appearances as a guest in many of his father’s bands such as Stone Soup, Buffalo Trail and Rosewood Moct. It was during annual trips to numerous fiddle and folk music festivals where Nathan was exposed to all sorts of fiddlers such as Martin Hayes, Liz Carroll, Alasdair Fraser, Brendan Mulvihill, Dale Russ, and Laura Risk. In spite of his classical background and a stint as a member of the University of Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, traditional Irish music has become Nathan’s passion. Now settled in the Twin Cities, he is also a member of The Doon Céilí Band and the Two Tap Trio, and is active in numerous Irish sessions.

Brian Miller started playing Irish music as a 17-year-old in his decidedly non-Irish hometown of Bemidji, Minnesota. Since 1998, he has lived in the Twin Cities where a vibrant and supportive community of Irish musicians has nurtured his developing musicality. County Derry guitarist and singer Daithi Sproule and County Offaly accordion player Paddy O’Brien (both long-time residents of the Twin Cities) have been big influences. More inspiration and encouragement has come from many months spent in his other adopted home of Cork, Ireland. Brian’s primary instrument has always been the guitar and over the years his backing style has earned him a strong reputation throughout North American Irish music circles. Also a strong traditional singer, Brian is the founder of the Traditional Singers Club of the Twin Cities. He added the Irish flute to his arsenal in 2000 while studying Irish music in Cork where he learned his first flute tunes from Conal O’Grada and Padraig Kelleher.  As a member of a number of traditional Irish music groups and duos including Bua, Norah Rendell and Brian Miller, and The Two Tap Trio, Brian has performed throughout the US, and in parts of Canada and Ireland. He has been featured on RTE television and RTE radio in Ireland as well as the Irish language TV station TG4. He has also performed on CBC Radio in Canada and on Minnesota Public Radio.  A diligent student and teacher, Brian 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. In 2008 he was awarded two grants for his work with the songs of early Irish immigrants in Minnesota logging camps.