Irish Fest
12:30 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Young Irish Quartet Blends Irish Music with Jazz and Funk

Lake Effect's Bonnie North interviews the members of JPTrio and Niamh.

A group of young Irish musicians are showing that even trad players can get "jig"-gy with it by creating a new genre of music: Celtic funk.

The JPTrio is young and on the rise and hoping to make a splash with their American debut at Milwaukee's Irish Fest.

Originally from Sligo, Ireland, the band is brothers Ted and Jos Kelly, percussionist Paddy Hazelton and main vocalist Niamh Farrell. They came together in grammar school, where they flourished as musicians - and as friends.

Guitarist Ted Kelly explains that within their traditional tunes as the base for the music, much of the ornamentation is jazz-orientated. Jos Kelly, the accordionist, says jazz and funk masters, like James Brown, inspire their music's direction.

But the traditional Irish influence is still noticeable. The group uses a jazz or funk accompaniment to traditional melodies and then takes that into many different directions.

Although their music pays tribute to the trad music that's so closely associated with Irish culture, many traditionalists are not found in their fan-base. Regardless, their artistic liberties and creativity have created a style of music which they predict will launch Irish music into “a new era.”

JPTrio, who will be playing this weekend at the festival, are working on their first CD.