Toledo Irish: Irish Boy Band Comes to Toledo
By: Molly McHugh
Have you ever heard of the saying, “It runs in the family”? Well musical and dancing talent exudes from the Byrne family, hailing from County Donegal.
Between the three brothers and their father, who make up the Byrne Brothers band, the four of them bring the bodhran, whistle, banjo, mandolin, accordion, guitar, uilleann pipes, bagpipes, fiddle, vocals, and step dancing to life on stage. I’m exhausted just writing that! However, I’m lucky to have had the pleasure of witnessing all of their show live in person at the Blarney Irish Pub in downtown Toledo.
The band is made up of three brothers, Luca 18, Finn 16, and Dempsey 12, along with their dad Tommy (who is ‘ancient’) according to their website. While the family is from Donegal, they moved to Orlando, Florida in 2018, and they have been part of the ‘festival circuit’ since then.
Rising Stars of the Year
The Byrne Brothers have also won several awards, such as “Rising Stars of the Year 2021” and “Best CD Cover of 2021” for their album, Living the Dream,” given by American Celtic Radio listeners, and “Young Artist Academy Award winners for Music Ensemble 2022” awarded from Hollywood. The Byrne Brothers put on a fabulous show for Toledo, utilizing all their instruments and vocals, and they let their fun personalities shine through, each in their own way. Dempsey was quite the joker and filled the rooms with laughs. Finn led the charge on the dancing, Luca impressed on the accordion, and dad Tommy took the lead on vocals.
Tommy Byrne joked that he was glad he could still be part of a ‘Boy Band.’ The joke came up in various capacities throughout the night, so much so, that Kelly Zawierucha, President of the Toledo Irish American Club, presented them with a Byrne Brothers Boy Band poster at the end of the show. The crowd, and the Byrne Bothers, were in stitches.
Siege of Ennis
Another crowd pleaser was performing the dance, “Siege of Ennis.” Have you been to an Irish wedding? If so, you have probably danced this yourself in the wee hours of the night. The Siege of Ennis is a dance based on the town ‘Ennis’ in County Clare in Ireland.
It is known as a progressive dance, due to the dancers changing and forming a different line of dancers after each repetition of the sequence. The Byrne Brothers rounded up eight audience members to dance, well actually teach, the Siege of Ennis to, and everyone did very well! I can still hear the words in my head now…in 2,3, in 2,3 back 2,3 back 2,3. It brought me right back to the many Irish weddings I attended.
Living the Dream
If you are not able to see the Byrne Brothers live, check out their latest album, “Living the Dream.” Finn is also a composer and wrote six of the tunes on the album. One of the songs they performed was Yvonne’s Waltz, and the tune was so lovely. Speaking of weddings, it reminded me of a song you would hear a beautiful bride walking down the aisle to.
Due to the pandemic and all their festival engagements, the Byrne Brothers have not been back to Ireland since they moved to Florida, however, they are planning a return trip in April of 2023. The bonus is that the trip is an ‘Irish Tour,’ so you can go with them! Dates are April 23rd – April 30th, and the tour will stop in Dublin, Donegal, Galway, and Clare, with many adventures along the way. More information is available on their website. Thank you to the Toledo Irish American Club for bringing the best Irish Boy Band to our city!
*Molly McHugh is a Toledo native and holds her MSc in Strategy, Innovation and People Management from National University of Ireland, Galway. Molly can be reached at mo************@gm***.com