A sporadic, sometimes periodic, and quite possibly idiotic bits of info, thoughts, and musings about music and other stuff...


bohola on Concert Window!! 

15th Anniversary Special Performance!
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Live on Concert Window!


Hi Folks!

Hope you are all well and thanks for taking time to read this. Many of you have sent us requests asking us to come back and perform in your hometown (and we'd love to do so and hopefully will soon)…

 in the meantime and in honor of our 15th year of making music as bohola, we've come up with a special way for you to celebrate with us -- by performing a concert directly for you in the comfort of your own home or wherever in the world you may be via the wonders of the internet and the mighty brains behind Concert Window!

Pat Broaders and I will be taking tune and song requests in advance of the show on our Concert Window page as well as answering any questions you may have. And best of all, you can purchase online tickets on a pay-what-you-want basis starting here now!

In addition to performing my solo show last fall, I've personally watched Concert Window performances from my computer, smartphone, tablet, and via TV -- at home, in a coffee shop, and even in my car (parked -- of course)!

This bohola web-show will not be recorded — it's offered in real time. We hope you can join us! 

Thanks again for all your continued support!!

All the best,



bohola Live on Concert Window
bohola website
bohola facebook

Mick Moloney... 

In April 2014, Mick Moloney will receive the 2014 Gradam Ceoil Special Contribution Award. Tony Lawless, founder and editor of TradConnect.com asked me to write a short paragraph or two on the impact Mick has had on Irish Music here in the States. Sooo much more can (and will) be written about Mick but here is the snippet I contributed to the multi-authored upcoming article:

“I’ve known Mick Moloney since 1974, shortly after Mick moved to America and began his graduate studies and his field work on Irish Music in America. As a young teenage musician, Mick’s impact on me was massive. Here was this well known and respected musician and future scholar from Ireland interested in me and my music, which was unheard of at that time. Traditional music in Chicago was widespread within the Irish and Irish-American community since the early 1900’s but outside the community, not so much. Mick turned that around almost immediately, exposing me along with my friends and fellow musicians Liz Carroll and Michael Flatley plus the musicians we learnt from such as Johnny McGreevy, Kevin Henry, Terry "Cuz" Teahan, Eleanor Kane Neary, Joe Shannon and countless others to a national stage through numerous recordings, concerts, and festival appearances which Mick either produced, enabled, found funding, or by sheer will, created and fostered -- all while doing what he loves and does best -- playing tunes and singing songs.

Mick, Robbie O’Connell, and I toured extensively in the mid-1980’s through the 1990’s and recorded a few albums including “There Were Roses” and “Kilkelly” which included the focus of much of Mick’s work here, the 22-minute Irish-American operetta “The Green Fields of America” (it was before CD’s really took off so it could have easily been 72 minutes long and only scratched the surface)!

I am proud to know Mick Moloney and honored to have performed with him the music we both love over the last four decades. Congratulations on the 2014 Gradam Ceoil Special Contribution Award -- you’re a mighty man, Mickeen!!”

Phil Durkin... 

Phil Durkin, one of the loveliest people of the Chicago Irish Music community, has died. Another of my musical "uncles," Phil gave me my first copy of the tune-only O'Neill's 1001 (The Dance Music of Ireland) which I still cherish to this day. I spent many hours at Phil's house during the early years listening to and playing music. Until a few months back, I would meet Phil at Lanigan's Pub for a chat and a highball or two, and had even started writing a tune for him called the "14 Karat Kumquat" based on a shared moment of hilarity from years ago…

Our last conversation centered around fiddlers and Michael Coleman in particular. So here are a few tunes from Coleman in your memory Phil.

Rest in peace my friend...


Philip Durkin

Age 83. 

Native of Curry County Sligo Ireland. 

Produce Manager with Jewel Foods for over 35 years. 

Longtime member of The Irish Musicians Association. 

Beloved son of the late Thomas and Mary (nee Mugan) Durkin. Loving brother of Mary (Richard) Lechert, Margaret(Patrick) Ryan, Christopher (Eileen) Durkin, the late Theresa(the late Thomas), the late Thomas (Bridie), the late Philomena Burrows and the late Michael Durkin. 

Dear uncle and great uncle to many nieces and nephews. 


Happy Birthday Dad... Podcast

Happy Birthday to my Dad, Jimmy "Horse" Keane! Still hard to fathom that it has been twenty-five years -- but you remain alive in my music and in my thoughts and in the many conversations with people I meet here in Chicago and on the road, always ending with a hearty laugh and a fond remembrance, albeit some unfit to print… :-)) 

I'd like to share the poem "Celebration" written by the great Irish-American poet and musician Terence Winch which celebrates the best of Christmas and mirrors life with the "Horse" and our family on the southside of Chicago in the 1960's as it does in Terence's Bronx. Miss and love you Dad…

Celebration (Terence Winch)

In our world, nothing compared

with Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

God’s power surging through the congregation,

from altarboys in our stiff collars and big red bows,

to the solid men of the parish in their finest array:

Blue suits, gold wrist watches, crisp white shirts.

The women perfumed and girdled, lipsticked

and bejeweled. Enough incense

in the air to do the Wise Men proud.


The procession wound through the church,

organ honking, voices lifted in the special

Christmas sense of the slate wiped clean

and the universe beginning anew.

The tree in the house lit with fat colored bulbs

that looked good enough to eat. The old suitcase

full of fragile decorations, buried treasure found

every year on Christmas Eve and set free again.

The baby Jesus alive and well! Herod thwarted!


This called for presents. Toys, games, maybe

a watch or a knife. Along with Jesus came the whole

cast of Yuletide characters—Santa, Rudolph,

the Chipmunks, Bing Crosby, Frosty, Scrooge. 

I’m surprised the Easter Bunny didn’t crash

the event. My father put out apple pie

and a glass of milk for Sanny, the remaining traces

of which on Christmas morning were proof enough

for me and my brother Jimmy of the entire

supernatural infrastructure of Bronx Irish culture.


But it was the party after Midnight Mass

that I remember most. Relatives and neighbors

would pour into our apartment for an all-nighter.

My mother would get the percolator going,

and start making breakfast for half the parish.

Bacon, eggs, blood pudding, plates of fresh rolls

with poppy seeds bought that day

in the Treat Bakery on Tremont Avenue. 


Eating breakfast at two in the morning!

This was a miracle for a ten-year-old boy. 

Bottles of Seagram’s and Canadian Club

stood at attention on the kitchen table,

silver ice bucket ringed with penguins

awaiting duty beside them. Ladies smoking

and gossiping. Glasses clinking. Laughter

throughout the house. The smell of pine,

the delicious aroma of sizzling bacon,

all welcoming Jesus back for another year.


Then the music and singing would start up,

my father on the banjo, P. J. Conway on the box.

The Stack of Barley, The Lakes of Sligo,

medleys of marches, waltzes, and polkas.

Theresa McNally, from my mother’s own town

in Galway, would sing “Galway Bay.” Steps would

be danced, jokes told, more drinks mixed and gulped.


I would go to bed so filled with the spirit

it seemed impossible to believe that life could

ever return to normal. Lying there exhausted,

but anxious to sneak down the hall at the earliest

opportunity and tear open the tantalizing packages,

I believed in everything: Jesus our Lord, Santa

our magic benefactor, my parents the immortal source

of the ongoing celebration that could never end.

Happy 100th!! 

A hearty 100th anniversary to "Danny Boy" with lyrics by Frederic Weatherly set to the traditional tune "The Derry Air" which was originally collected by Jane Ross and submitted to music collector George Petrie and published in his 1855 "The Ancient Music of Ireland." Many a great version over the years (as well as millions of brutal manglings). One of my all-time tongue-in-cheek favorites is this...


Review: Liz Carroll -- "On the Offbeat" 

Liz Carroll, my lifelong friend and the most amazing musician I’ve ever known, is releasing her first solo recording in eleven years next Tuesday, November 17, 2013.

We grew up playing music together and I learned a ton about music in general from Liz and about twice as much about traditional music from her for which I am ever grateful. She also inspired and encouraged me to start writing a few tunes of my own which I hope is something that she does not regret doing... 

One of the most intense and important learning experiences that I had with Liz (and I think she would also agree) was our few month preparation for the 1975 All-Ireland Senior Duets. We tore down tunes note-by-note, roll-by-roll, phrase-by-phrase (starting to sound like the vaudevillian routine “Slowly I turned, step-by-step...) and built them back up in an attempt to create one harmonious voice from as two different instruments as you might imagine -- piano accordion and fiddle. Things learned which I carry with me and put into practice each time I now pick up the box almost 40 years later. By the way, we succeeded, becoming the first Irish-Americans to win the title!

Back to the important stuff. 

The album is aptly named “On the Offbeat” and is also Liz’s first on her own label. You can purchase the recording directly from Liz at LizCarroll.com in CD format and digital download starting next Tuesday (you can also pre-order the CD version today). It is always best to support an artist directly whenever you can, so click on over to the website when you finish reading this (or don’t finish reading) -- either way, just click! -- you will be thrilled with the recording ;-)) So here goes....

In the over forty years that I’ve known Liz, I am still amazed and in awe of her musicality, technical ability, and her innate “turn of a note” in tune composition. 

“On the Offbeat” further enhances all three of the above “inspirations” to me.

If by chance you are new to Irish music or to the compositions of Liz, she always records at least one traditional tune on each recording to give the listener a baseline -- “The Yellow Tinker” (made popular by the late Paddy O’Brien on his 1955 Columbia recording) is the trad tune which gets “Lizzified” this time around and as a bonus, is the one solo fiddle tune on the album (aside from Liz’s tapping feet). By Lizzified, I mean she turns the tune inside out and re-interprets it - always respectful of the tune, but just adds a little “sumthin, sumthin” to it -- maybe with a few extra notes, highlighting an internal phrase or rhythm, enhancing a chord, inverting rolls/ornaments etc. It is part of why traditional music has survived the past few centuries - musicians such as Liz breathe new life into the older tunes which in turn makes them “new” to someone starting out and the whole process continues on. 

Bountiful humour and wittiness is a big part of Liz’s personality -- hence the title of the follow up tune on this track  -- “The Yellow Pantsuit” -- one of the 23 new compositions on this album from her nearly 300 tunes to date (for which Liz was honored with the 2011 Gradam Ceoil TG4 Award for her compositions) of which 185 are in her tune book “Collected” available exclusively at LizCarroll.com.

There are many “wow, how did she play that,” to “what a brilliant melody line,” to “damn, that is a great tune,” moments for me on this album.

One of my many favorites of the new tunes is one for which Liz wrote for her brother-in-law, “Jerome Lacey”. This is classic Liz -- a simple sounding, yet brilliantly complex and beautiful melody that you just know that one of our joint musical mentors, the late Johnny McGreevy, would proudly play today as if it were a rediscovered gem that he learned from his mentor, Jimmy Neary. That to me, is the hallmark of Liz’s music and tune writing.

I sill get a huge smile from “The Wolf” one of the handful of tunes from this recording which I had the pleasure of hearing not long after they were written -- harkens back to the days when I’d get a call (and still do) from Liz asking me if I’d like to hear a new tune she was working on or a new tune she just learned from a mailed cassette tape of a session or concert from Ireland or a new record we would end up getting from the sadly defunct Rose Records on Wabash in Chicago’s Loop. The “Wolf” with it’s sneaky and spooky minor few starting notes could have been a perfect alternative to the Henri Mancini’s penned “Experiment in Terror” which was the opening music of another Chicago institution: “Creature Features”. It is also a tune which I could easily hear the great Stephane Grappeli play. For all you Little Red Riding Hood’s out there -- the “Wolf” will catch your ear for certain...

Liz has always had a adventurous musical side and likes to write a few tunes to stretch the boundaries of composing within the traditional idiom both melodically and structurally. “The Fruit and The Snoot” and its companion, the title track “On the Offbeat”  accomplish both with dramatic effect.

One more beauteous creations of the many is “The Ten Acre” waltz, which I know will become a staple for every ceili and contradance for years to come.

As much as Liz is a stand alone musical powerhouse, she surrounds herself on this grand recording with some old and new musical friends. Seamus Egan once again at the helm as producer with longtime engineer, the equally talented John Anthony along with Chris Brown (no, not that one) and Kevin Burleigh from Glasgow. In addition to his superb musical skills, Seamus has developed a sterling producers touch. (Good man Egan!)

But a mighty share of this wonderful recording belongs to Sean Og Graham (guitar), Trevor Hutchinson (bass), Catriona McKay (harp), Natalie Hass (cello), Winnie Horan (fiddle), Keith Murphy (piano/guitar), Chico Huff (bass), Seamus Egan (mandolin/shaker). 

Sean Og Graham is best known as one of the two box players in the band “beoga” (good lads for sticking with the lower case “b” as I do with bohola) but pulls of a spectacular job playing with, complementing, and supporting Liz without ever getting in the way -- not an easy thing to do, but done here with great distinction Sean!

Trevor Hutchinson (Lunasa/Sharon Shannon/Waterboys) set the standard for bass in trad Irish music years ago and still reigns supreme. One would think that he, Sean, and Liz had been playing together for years given the tightness and musical give and take they put forth.

One thing Liz always loves to do when performing in concert with others (to future “others”, beware) is to stop playing, letting the unsuspecting other musician (many a times me, playing with my eyes closed) take the wheel on whatever tune is being currently performed. I imagine that happening in studio with the unsuspecting, brilliant Scottish harpist Catriona McKay during their duo track on the tune “Bar Hopping.” Welcome to the “I got Lizzed” club Catriona and well done!

The royals of the strings, Natalie Hass and Winnie Horan, add their ever glorious tone and texture to each note they play along with -- as does Keith Murphy and Chico Huff on their respective instruments. Seamus Egan -- Shaker? Hopefully for the Martini’s... :-))

Anyway, just a few insights and thoughts on this latest installment of the musical wonderment of Liz Carroll.

All the best and have a most enjoyable listening experience!

Jimmy Keane

Liz Carroll
On the Offbeat
Release date: November 17, 2013
Liz Carroll LC0001

12 Tracks
24 Tunes
Available at:


Felix Dolan... Podcast

Felix Dolan left us yesterday. A great man and musician who influenced countless other musicians both young and old, here and abroad, including me. The first time I ever heard Felix was on the seminal recording "A Tribute to Michael Coleman" along with Joe Burke and the late Andy McGann. It was recorded in New York in the early 1960's in a matter of hours but has provided thousand upon thousands of hours of sheer joy. I wore out several copies of the album by the time I was 12 and knew every twist and turn that they effortlessly created. It is my all-time favourite album. The only thing that has topped that album was meeting and playing with Felix for the first time several years later -- mind-blowing -- from a spinning platter to sitting next to this gentle giant of a man who most graciously played along with me on several tracks from that album. Glowing and smiling inside and out...

The best way to honor Felix's memory is through his music --- so close your eyes and listen to the following track from that album.

My condolences to the entire Dolan family and all his many close friends. Rest in Peace Felix and thank you... 

Jimmy Keane & Liz Carroll in Concert! 

Finally on the way into Spring here in Chicago and looking forward to next Saturday, April 6, 2013 when I will be taking part in a concert called "Chicago Reflections" at Northwestern University with my longtime friend and musical partner of over 40 years, the one and only Liz Carroll. We will be joined by two special guests: another longtime friend and bandmate in bohola, Pat Broaders, plus the sean-nos dancing phenom Brian Cunningham. Liz and I go back to at least 1972 growing up and playing music together here in Chicago. One of the highlights of our musical collaboration in those early years was winning the All-Ireland Senior Duet Championship in 1975, the first US based musicians to do so. Liz and I are working on some future performance dates, so if you can't make this one, hopefully the next!


Dennis Dennehy: May 31, 1939 - January 6, 2013 

The Dennehy's
(Margie, Dennis Jr., Kathy, Dennis)

The Irish Dance World suffered a major loss this week with the passing of Dennis Dennehy at 73. Dennis and his wife Margie were the founders of the Dennehy School of Irish Dance and taught thousands of kids to dance in Chicago and beyond, including one Michael Flatley and at the complete opposite end of the dancing spectrum, me.

Dennis was a stern dance master when it came to the art of Irish Dance, yet outside of the classroom, one of the nicest and most charming people you would encounter. My short-lived Irish dancing career ended in the basement of St. Nicholas of Tolentine where Dennis and Margie taught weekly. Once they knew I played a few tunes on the accordion, they invited me to bring the box to lessons and play for the class to practice along with. Dennis knew I was far more comfortable (and presumably much better) playing than dancing, so out went "in, out, hop one two three four" and in came playing for the school at various functions (including my first trip to New York along with Liz Carroll to play for the Dennehy's at the North American Championships back in the early 1970's).

I'd meet Dennis at least a couple of times a year since then and always a big warm hearted smile beamed from him with a quick chat about dance and music to follow.

My condolences to Margie, his daughter Kathy, young Dennis and to the many nieces and nephews here in Chicago and elsewhere.

"And I lead you all in the dance said he..."

Rest in peace Dennis!