Irish traditional music ensemble
“Bua evokes the good times that Irish traditional music so often celebrates ,” playing in a manner “largely forgotten in today’s overly polished Irish music world .” With “a precision and intensity that is rarely heard on this side of the Atlantic,” their sound stands out among modern bands in the genre by “keeping the music down the path of tradition” while still being able to “raise the rafters with their playing, charm with their singing, and delight with their contemporary energy.” Based in Chicago, Illinois—a long-celebrated center of Irish traditional music—Bua “has established itself individually and as a group in the eyes and ears of the traditional community,” and their 2011 release, Down the Green Fields, finds Bua exploring the forgotten sounds from the heyday of Irish music in the City of Big Shoulders with a blend of enchantingly stark song arrangements and bold, pulsing dance tunes. Lauded by The Bluegrass Situation as being the top Irish album of the past five years, Down the Green Fields stands as “a testament, from beginning to end, of the lasting essentials of the Irish tradition”.
Ulster ballads sung in unison, lilting, tin whistle, and feet
County Antrim born, Len Graham has been a full-time professional traditional singer since 1982. After he won the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann traditional singing competion in 1971 his reputation began to spread, and at the same time his own passion for the songs of his native Ulster was growing. From the early 1960s Len sought out and recorded older singers such as Eddie Butcher and Joe Holmes to enrich his own repertoire and to save the songs of an older generation.
Len Graham has performed at numerous Irish and international folk, literary and storytelling festivals, as well as appearing on many radio and television programmes. In 1992 he received the Seán O’Boyle Cultural Traditions Award in recognition of his work in Ireland as a song collector and singer. In 2002, he was honoured as the first recipient of the Irish television TG4 National Music Award for “Traditional Singer Of the Year.” In 2008 he was awarded “Keeper of the Tradition” from the Tommy Makem Festival of Traditional Song and the US Irish Music Award in the “Sean-Nós Singing” category.
In 2011 Len was awarded the Gradam na mBard CCÉ (CCÉ Bardic Award) at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.