Breaking Trad is made up of Dónal Murphy (accordion), Niall Murphy (fiddle) and Mike Galvin (guitar/vocals,) all award-winning players who between them have toured extensively around the world, performing at major festivals and music venues and touring with some of the biggest names in several different music genres. They will be joined by the renowned singer and bodhran player Gino Lupari being their special guest, making this band even more formidable.
Why has Breaking Trad had such global traction?
Breaking Trad is unique owing to the huge sound we are able to produce for just three people. No matter where we play, people seem to be astonished as to how we can create such a big, full, powerful sound for just three musicians. The accordion and fiddle is a popular combination in Irish music but owing to Donal’s driving rhythm and tune selection and Niall’s 5-string fiddle and mix of Irish and American styles, they are able to make this combination sound different from any other band. Then when you add Mike Galvin to the mix with his unorthodox guitar system, which he created himself, the power and drive of this band is brought to a new level. He is able to produce a huge guitar sound while carrying bass lines and a percussive tone as well – basically replicating a guitar, bass guitar and snare drum all at once. Mike also adds sublime vocals to the mix, singing original material and old favourites that everyone will recognise and sing along to. Gino will provide the thumping bodhran rhythms that will make everyone’s toes tap and may burst into some trad-infused rock’n’roll songs.
Brilliant name and image BTW – who came up with that? Bad boys of Irish trad!
Well, it was a group decision about the name. The fiddler Niall had just finished watching the series Breaking Bad and thought that the name Breaking Trad would suit what they achieve in music.
What is different in how you approach Irish music?
Again, it’s all in both the material, sound and arrangements. Trying to remain true to trad, where all our roots lie, is key. Our tunes and songs tend to be from the Irish traditional sessions, tunes that everyone knows but don’t necessarily think of them being played like this.
How did your experience of growing up inform your take on music?
Irish music was what we were brought up listening to and it’s something that was passed down through the generations. Donal’s dad played and all his siblings play and likewise with Niall. Mike’s family always had an interest in music, be it Irish, country, bluegrass, rock’n’roll and many more, so he had many influences.
Is it hard to break traditions when they’re so strong?
We believe that staying true to tradition is very important. We don’t want to forget about what brought us to where we are today so we try to keep as much tradition in our music as we can. However, we also believe that it’s important to stand out and create something that is different and that people think is memorable, and we try to do this to a level that doesn’t sacrifice the traditional side of things.
What was your gig highlight of 2017?
Our tour of America. We were there for three weeks in March and performed to some great audiences in places such as Dallas, Austin and New York. It was our first time there as a band, so it was great to showcase our music there to completely new audiences.
Tell me about the players in Breaking Trad?
Breaking Trad is made up of Dónal Murphy (accordion), from Abbeyfeale, West Limerick, a winner of numerous All-Ireland titles on both button accordion and melodeon, Niall Murphy (fiddle) from Camlough, South Armagh, a winner of multiple awards including All-Ireland Senior Fiddle competition, Fiddler Of Dooney and Fiddler of Oriel, and also Mike Galvin (guitar/vocals), who has vast experience working in a wide range of musical styles from rock’n’roll to Irish traditional.
What should we expect for your Mullum show?
You can expect some high-energy and driving music that WILL make you want to dance, some iconic Irish songs that we want to hear everyone singing along to, and bags and bags of fun. We guarantee you will have a great night of music and song. We are really looking forward to playing in Australia for the first time as a band.
Thursday 4 January 2018, 7pm at Club Mullum (Mullum Ex-Services)
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