It's all here: Jigs, reels, tunes, songs

King Golden Banshee
at Dürty Nelly's
Sunday, December 15

I had not been in Dürty Nelly's for about a year before this evening, the usual excuses, time, location, etc., keeping me away, and the bar seemed different this time around. In place of the dark corners and disreputable gentlemen I seem to recall from my last visit, there was bright light and a fairly family oriented atmosphere. Everyone seemed to be there for the show, and parents, young professionals, and older folk alike waited expectantly for traditional Irish folk group King Golden Banshee to go on.

I quite enjoyed King Golden Banshee– the group has a motto for some of their more avid fans "the more you drink, and the more we drink, the better we all sound." Though I consumed some libations to keep in the spirit of things, the group sounded great from the get-go, even before I had taken my first sip.

The band is made up of Kevin Donleavy on keyboard and vocals, Michael Tuite on flute and assorted woodwinds, Colleen Tuite on drum, Will Rourk on tenor banjo and guitar (and, according to him, a "few other things"), and Adam Broderson on guitar. Traditional Irish folk music is their chosen genre, and they definitely chose well.

The band was as tight as a steel drum: All the musicians are very talented at their respective instruments, and they were ridiculously good at playing to and with the audience.

From my hour watching the group I became aware of a number of things: Traditional Irish music is divided up into two categories: dance music (jigs, reels, polkas, etc.) and songs. A

A jig is a fast 6/8 tune (generally for all of these); a reel is a fast 4/4-time tune; and a hornpipe is 2/4 time.

Songs are (often) not accompanied by instrumentation. And direct from the mouth of Rourk: "A tune is not a song, because songs have singing and lyrics, and tunes are just instrumental [ditties].

"Sometimes tunes are in songs, but songs are rarely in tunes– if there is one there, you have a song," he further helpfully elaborated.

The group rattled through a set of jigs, hornpipes, and reels, sometimes shouting out keys like "A minor" seconds before starting the tune. Although Donleavy was absent for the first set of instrumental pieces, he joined the group onstage and the King Golden Banshee sound was complete.

Colleen Tuite sang two songs with a heavy Irish accent while I watched the group; Donleavy sang one in a knowing and strong voice. The Irish folk/punk band the Pogues are a not-quite-traditional favorite of King Golden Banshee, though I only heard one tune by the group during my attendance at the show-­ the pop/Irish folk song "Walking Along the River," sung by Will Rourk and accompanied by his guitar.

It was an evening of paradigm shifts. For one, I learned I actually really enjoy traditional Irish music. For another, I learned Dürty Nelly's is nothing like I remember it.