RUD EILE Martin Butler & Colm O'Brien
Performs Friday 1:00-2:00pm, Saturday 1:00-2:00pm, & Sunday 10:30-11:30am
Martin Butler originally from Cloughjordan County Tipperary has been involved in the Irish music and arts scene in Boston for almost two decades.
He attributes his love of history, music, and culture to his late parents. His father was a local historian and his mother was involved in the dramatic arts for decades. He grew up in the countryside in Tipperary and spent summer holidays in his mother’s native Cork City absorbing the family’s tradition of sing songs and story telling.
He took up the Bodhran in Boston and went on to become an American champion competing in a World finals or Fleadh Ceol in Ireland.
In 2005, he began working on an album called “Rud Eile” with fellow Tipperary man Jerry Murphy (Formerly of The Ormond Ceili Band) and Dublin's Colm O’Brien, singer songwriter and guitarist, along with many guest artists. This project gave birth to the band “Rud Eile. Their album was critically acclaimed. Years of gigging, touring and line up changes lead them to disband amicably in 2013.
Martin worked with several different groups consulting and co-producing many projects and produced an epic album this year. In putting together a tribute to his hometown hero Thomas MacDonagh on his new album “Poems and Songs from The Woodlands Edge” featuring Irish music legends Paddy Moloney and Liam O’Maonlai and a host of Irish music stars.
Martins’ 2016 acclaimed album “Thomas MacDonagh Poet and Patriot” featuring over 50 artists including Aoife Scott, Aoife Clancy, Grammy nominee Janine Randall, Grammy Winner Frank Wharton, and Irish Music legends Tommy Keane and Tommy McCarthy.
He is currently working on another play with fellow Irish writer Jason Downes, with whom he wrote their one act play on the execution of James Connolly which won the Clan Na Gael Playwriting contest.
There’s also plans in the works for an accompanying book to “Poets in the Trenches” to be co-written with Canadian military historian Steven Dieter. “Poets in the Trenches” was an epic undertaking featuring over 70 artists from the United States, Ireland, England, Scotland, and Germany, chronologically telling the Irish story of World War One through the eyes of the Irish poets and soldiers to commemorate the end of the Great War.
Martin stepped outside of the traditional music scene in producing a track on Canadian singer songwriter Suzanne McNeils “Shimmer” CD, and also served as music consultant. He also worked with up-and-coming singer songwriter Dillon Basse of the band Flipturn on his debut solo album.
In addition to music and writing, he’s also done a series of lectures on The 1916 Easter rebellion, many with the Irish in World War, many with Colm O’Brien, with a focus on the poets and poetry and songs inspired by those events. Martin and Colms impressive knowledge on the subjects, combined with their ability to mix in songs quotes and excerpts from speeches into their lectures, gives the audience an immersive experience.
Colm O’Brien is originally from Dublin but now residing in the Boston area. He comes from a very musical family. His mother was a singer, his father an award winning piper with Fintan Lalor Pipe Band, and his grandmother was legendary fiddler May Keogh O’Brien. You could say Irish music, and ballad singing in particular, has been in his blood from birth.
Having cut his teeth playing various styles with various bands in Dublin, he arrived in Boston as a member of rock group Fatal Flower in November 1999. Upon the demise of the band, he went back to ballad singing with remaining bandmates Liz Lawlor and Ronan Mongey. They soon hooked up with Boston based Hiring Fair and toured extensively on the east coast. Following the tour, Colm performed briefly as a solo artist before being recruited by celtic rock band The Prodigals. The band toured extensively throughout the US on both the festival and club circuits and recorded the album “Needs Must When The Devil Drives”. After a year and a half touring with the band, Colm left to return to solo performance. While performing in the New England area as a solo artist, he also formed trad band Rud Eile with bodhrán master Martin Butler and they recorded their critically acclaimed self titled album.
Past members of the band have included Jerry Murphy, Seán Connor and the late Matt Glover. Colm eventually returned to solo performing and has to date recorded two solo albums, “It Is What It Is” and “Back to Work?”. He also recorded a live DVD in this time. Colm has also contributed to the critically acclaimed albums by Martin Butler, “Thomas Mac Donagh, Poet and Patriot”, “Poets in the Trenches”, and “The Woodland’s Edge”, which also featured such contributors as Paddy Moloney, Patrick Bergin, Liam O’Maonlai, and Aoife Scott.
Colm and Martin Butler are currently reforming Rud Eile but he will also continue to perform as a solo artist.
Colm’s performance style is very conversational. He includes original songs along with older ballads, some of which date back centuries. He tends to be drawn towards those songs that are not played as often as he believes they should. He has an intense interest in the songs he sings and enjoys sharing with his audience the historical and social context of each ballad where applicable. He continues to receive the appreciation of audience members who often tell him that they’ve been listening to a particular song for years without knowing it’s context and are grateful for the new perspective. Colm’s performance style holds whether he’s playing solo or with Rud Eile.
Ballad Singing Workshops etc:
As explained above, Colm has an intense interest in the music and loves discussing and exploring with anyone who’ll listen, not only the songs, but also the process by which each song emerged. He has a passion for delving into the social, political and historical significance of each song, including also those purely written for the craic, like the music hall ballads of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Every song has a story and that story must be told if the music is to be understood.
History Workshop etc.
Colm has often given presentations, especially with Martin Butler, on specific historical events. They have often been invited to perform their “1916 Songs and Stories” presentation in which they explore the history of the Rising through music and the poetry of those who lived through the events of Easter Week. Their work on the subject has led to three critically acclaimed albums, produced by Martin, centered on the poetry and music of the Rising itself and experiences of the trenches of WW1, and has led to a special relationship with the Thomas Mac Donagh museum in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary.
What Colm has to offer as a performer, whether solo or as part of a band, is quite unique and there is no doubt that he would be very well received on both festival and club stages. His music, both solo and with The Prodigals, Rud Eile and Martin Butler, is available on the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.