GREENVILLE — As part of its Arts In Education programming, the Darke County Center for the Arts (DCCA) invited the group We Banjo 3 to play for Darke County High School Students this week.
The band made their way to Greenville High School, Wednesday, all the way from Galway, Ireland. The group is comprised of two sets of siblings – brothers Enda Scahill: tenor banjo, vocals; and Fergal Scahill: fiddle, viola, dobro, percussion, guitar, mandolin, vocals. The other two brothers are Martin Howley: tenor banjo, mandolin, vocals and David Howley: lead vocals and guitar. Each member has been playing music since they were about four-years-old, said David, and have been with We Banjo 3 for about seven years.
“We’ve been very fortunate to travel the world,” David said. “We recorded with the Black Eyed Peas and we’ve toured with Mumford and Sons. We take the Irish music, that came here 200 years ago with Irish immigrants and became part of the American folk tradition, and mix it with Bluegrass and Old Time.”
“This is an informal performance, an “informance” is what we call it,” David said. “We are going to play music and take questions and we’ll be back and forth. The first thing I want you to do, is – everybody put their hands out and loosen it out, because today’s performance is coming to you from Ireland.”
The group played a song, and then students asked questions. One question was asked if the band ever played at Renaissance Festivals.
“We have never played at a Renaissance Festivals,” David said. “We have castles that are 1,500 years old near our homes. We do play at county festivals, such as the Dayton Celtic Festival, the last weekend in July. It’s a free festival. If you want to hear more of what you are hearing today, go there.”
Another student asked if Enda played his banjo in the scruggs or clawhammer style.
“Neither,” he said. “It is an Irish banjo with four strings and played with a flat pick.”
“How much does it cost to go to Irleand?” a student asked.
“It’s about 3,000 miles,” Enda said. “It costs more than $1 and less than $10,000.”
The band, in-turn, asked the students questions, such as if any musicians were in the room, and what type of music they liked. In addition, they gave the students a chance to make some noise.
“When you listen to Irish music, there are a couple of Irish traditions that we do,” Fergal said. “Some are clapping and dancing. But when you listen to the music and you feel the energy start to build inside you, you want to let out a yell of ya. It’s a bit like yoga, except it’s fun. Do you want to try it? It goes a little bit like this. WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!”
The students responded in-kind.
According to DCCA Executive Director Andrea Jordan, the presentation was supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Ohio Arts Council, the Crane Group and members of the community.
“DCCA is grateful for support from regional, state, and national organizations,” she said. “These organizations are vital to the success of our organization and our mission of encouraging cultural enrichment.”
The group is set to perform for the public on Saturday at St. Clair Memorial Hall. For more information on DCCA, visit www.centerforarts.net.