There are few adjectives left to describe the authenticity and the electrificying experience you get when you first see/hear We Banjo 3 live on stage. The Glassworks, Derry saw the band finish their short Irish tour last night, and what an experience we were privvy to.
Enda & Fergal Scahill and Martin & David Howley are among the most celebrated and distinguished musicians in Ireland today. Featuring banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals and percussion, We Banjo 3 make a bold and extraordinary musical statement. Creativity, sensitivity and passion are present in full measure and Irish music is at the heart of what they play.
I first discovered this band through my freelance work with Irish Music Magazine. Having interviewed them last year I was more determined than ever to get to hear them play live. Their album Haven, topped the Billboard charts in the US last year, making them the first Irish band ever to accomplish such.
Music is at the heart of what this band does. But it’s just so much more than music. It’s the incorporation of each and every one of its members, their individual charisma, their energy, their passion and their very soul, that makes them one of the greatest live musical acts the world has to offer today.
Last night at The Glassworks in Derry Enda, Fergal, David and Martin brought the entire audience to life, in an almost otherworldly way. Euphoric is the only way to describe what it’s like to listen and dance through a We Banjo 3 concert. From the very onset around 9pm the audience were on their feet, and they were dancing. Those chairs became oblivious after a short while.
Tunes, songs, stories and sheer entertainment at its very best, allowed for an intense and music-filled 90 minutes. There’s never time to regain composure, never time to think about the brilliance that is happening on that stage. Not until the show is over, do you seriously ask yourself, ‘did that really happen?’
It was extremely poignant when David sung a very special song last night, ‘Hold onto Your Soul.’ Derry is a city troubled greatly with mental health and suicide and We Banjo 3 penned this song about suicide and mental health. It really did reasonate with the audience and the city at large. We Banjo 3 do a lot of work with mental health both here at home and in the United States – Showcasing the importance of music and the arts when it comes to our health care.
Last night, Derry was absolutely privilidged to host these four men on that Glassworks stage. It was an absolute honour to be in that audience and experience the sheer thrill of watching these guys play. The charisma, the connection, the chemistry that flows from these four men, really is a tonic for life.
Last night, I left Derry for the short drive to Donegal, and I really did feel that I had just experienced something magical. For that is how We Banjo 3 make you feel. What they do might not be magic, but it sure comes close.