Open The Door For Three: The Joyful Hour
Open the Door for Three is fiddle player Liz Knowles, uilleann piper Kieran O’Hare, and Dublin-born singer and bouzouki player Pat Broaders. Their music is a rare combination of unearthed tunes from centuries-old collections, newly composed melodies, fresh arrangements of songs old and new, homages to the musicians and bands they grew up listening to, and the unmatched energy of a trio of good friends playing great Irish music together.
"A road-tested, audience-approved, high-octane, fist-in-glove, laughing-out-loud trio of Irish musicians..." "Theirs is a big and brilliant sound!" — Sean Smith, Boston Irish Reporter
Liz, Kieran, and Pat have been mainstays of the Irish music scene around the world, having distinguished themselves over the last two decades as soloists with Riverdance, Cherish the Ladies, String Sisters, Secret Garden, Anúna, and The New York Pops. As a trio, they have played to a wide range of audiences in venues large and small, from Irish festivals, to concert halls, house concerts, and pubs. They have performed around the world: on Broadway and at Carnegie Hall, at L'Olympia and the Palais des Congrès in Paris, in Malaysian rainforest festivals, in theatres from Shanghai to São Paulo, and even in a bullring in Mallorca. Most recently, they have been featured at The Kennedy Center’s Ireland 100 festival, the Celtic Colours festival in Cape Breton, at The Milwaukee Irish Festival, and in The Masters of Tradition series in Bantry, County Cork, Ireland.
Irish music is a living, breathing part of Irish and Irish-American culture, and there is no single story that can sum up its history, its charm, grace, and drive. The soul of Open the Door for Three’s music is filled with connections: the connections to people and places, to teachers and heritage and audiences, and to the stories and humor that bring us all together. From these connections comes inspiration, which fills a bottomless well that keeps the trio coming back again and again – to refill, refuel, reinvent, and share.
"Every time Knowles laid into one of her foot-stomping reels, she’d set the auditorium ablaze.”– Channing Gray, Providence Journal-Bulletin Arts
"Most impressive was hell-for-leather fiddler Liz Knowles.” – Rick Pender, City Beat
Liz Knowles has brought her distinctive sound—the fire and finesse of Irish fiddle music combined with the tonal richness of the classical violin—to concert stages and festivals acrossthe world. Her auspicious beginnings as the fiddler for Riverdance and as soloist on the soundtrack for the film Michael Collins established her as a virtuosic and versatile performer, and she has since performed as soloist with such orchestras as the New York Pops, she was a member of the renowned Cherish the Ladies, played on Broadway with The Pirate Queen, traveled the world for over four years as Music Director and performer with Celtic Legends and, today she performs with another all-star female super-group, the highly acclaimed String Sisters and the newly formed Martin Hayes Quartet.Liz first distinguished herself as a violinist in New York City, performing in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and Broadway, with such artists such as Marcus
Roberts, the Bang-on-a-Can Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, Paula Cole, Steve Reich, Eliot Goldenthal, Rachel Barton, Don Henley, and Tim O’Brien. It was in New York that she discovered her true passion for Irish traditional music. Today, she is well respected on both sides of the Atlantic. Liz is also established as a well-known and sought-after teacher of Irish music. She has taught at many tionols and workshops across the US and in Ireland. Her compositions and arrangements of tunes and songs have been recorded and performed by John Whelan, Flook, Chicago’s Metropolis Symphony Orchestra, Liz Carroll, Beolach, Bachue, J.P. Cormier, Michael Black, John Doyle, and Ensemble Galilei.
In 2016, Liz co-produced a cd and performance project alongside Liz Carroll with the Art Institute of Chicago as a part of their special exhibit, Ireland:Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840. This project, OTD43, String Sisters, and the Martin Hayes Quartet are indicative of a maturity in her music, a conscious choice to incorporate the entirety of her musical life into the music she plays, writes and performs today.
Kieran O’Hare is a highly respected and sought-after performer of Irish traditional music on the uilleann pipes, concert flute, and tin whistle. In 1994, Kieran received the honor of being the first American-born player of Irish music invited to perform in the annual ‘Ace and Deuce of Piping’ concert, held in Ireland’s National Concert Hall. Since then, he has made countless appearances at festivals and concerts in North and South America, Japan, China, and Europe. Among the many artists with whom Kieran has performed, toured or recorded are Mick Moloney and The Greenfields of America; Cape Breton fiddlers Jerry Holland and JP Cormier; Nashville songwriter Gordie Sampson; Irish vocalist Danny Doyle; the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra; Bonnie Raitt on VH1 Storytellers; The Paul Winter Consort; Josh Groban and Don Henley.
Kieran has worked extensively in designing music for the stage, and is in great demand as a session musician and as a teacher of Irish music. In 2002, Kieran appeared in a musical role in the Sam Mendes film Road to Perdition. In 2006-2007, Kieran was featured on Broadway in The Pirate Queen, written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, and produced by John
McColgan and Moya Doherty of Riverdance. In 2007-8, Kieran was a featured performer on the PBS special presentation “Celtic Origins” with the Irish choral group ANÚNA.
He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2010 as a soloist with the New York Pops Orchestra and most recently, with Liz Knowles, Kieran toured the world for over four years as musical director, contractor, and performer with the France-based show Celtic Legends. Kieran serves on the Board of Directors of Na Píobairí Uilleann in Dublin, Ireland, an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of uilleann piping worldwide.
Pat Broaders grew up in Dublin, the son of parents from Wexford. He began his journey in traditional music at the age of eight. He started out on the whistle, and later moved on to the
uilleann pipes under the tutelage of Leon Rowsome. He took up the bouzouki in 1988, inspired by the sounds he grew up hearing from bands like Planxty, and the popularity of the instrument
in Dublin’s vibrant traditional music scene. Pat’s singing began naturally enough. His father was a singer, and having grown up around Dublin’s singing tradition, it was a natural step for him.
Pat’s repertoire today reflects his interest in the great songs of the Irish tradition as well as songs and ballads from the English and Scottish traditions. In the early ’90s, moved to Chicago and on top of holding one of the longest running Irish music gigs in the history of Chicago at Kitty O’Shea’s, he has performed and recorded with Dennis Cahill, Liz Carroll, and Martin Hayes, John Doyle,
Paddy O’Brien, Mick O’Brien, Robbie O’Connell, and Danú. He has a long-standing relationship with the Norwegian new age musical group Secret Garden and Kongshavan Studios.
In another long-standing relationship, Pat has toured with Jimmy Keane and Bohola for over 15 years. Pat toured with Celtic Legends in an incredibly demanding role as the sole backer and singer in the show, an Irish music and dance show that has toured Europe, Asia and South America. When he is not performing, Pat teaches the pipes and operates Pipedream Studio.
He has engineered albums for Liz Knowles, Larry Nugent, and Celtic Legends, and tracks for Bohola and Liz Carroll.
Track 1: Carrig River
Track 2: Church Hill
Track 3:The Boy In The Tree
Track 3: Charming Mary
- Boyne Waters
- Carrig River
- Church Hill
- Heavy Is My Fate
- The Boy In The Tree
- Creeping Jane
- The Joyful Hour
- Ye Lovers All
- An Bhean Dubh
- Clyde Waters
- Charming Mary
Click to watch Open The Door For Three in Concert via You Tube. [https://youtube.com=https://www.youtube.com/...]
The Irish Echo 10.01.18
Open the Door for Three sure knows how to make great albums. Their first two, “Open the Door for Three” and “The Penny Wager” were both fabulous, well-balanced recordings that featured high-level playing and tasteful musical choices. Their newest effort, “The Joyful Hour,” is a similarly fabulous album and it may even exceed the standard set by the other two. It’s not that the group’s playing has changed. They’re still the lovable trio of top players they’ve always been. Nor have they become markedly bolder in how they approach their arrangements – their “sound” hasn’t changed any. But something rare is clicking on this release that makes the whole thing seem special. Regardless of what that thing might be, the results are brilliant.
Open the Door for Three is Pat Broaders (bouzouki/vocals), Liz Knowles (fiddle/hardanger d’amore), and Kieran O’Hare (uilleann pipes, flute, tin whistles). Top musicians all, each has serious and well established musical pedigrees individually and a strong track record together. (BTW, anyone remember “Ireland: Crossroads Of Art And Design, 1690-1840,” THE sleeper album of 2015? O’Hare and Knowles were a major reason…just saying.)
The album opens with the fabulous “Boyne Water,” a trio of tunes that starts simply with a reel on tin whistle and then escalates into a much fuller, layered arrangement as the rhythms changes over to a jig. The track’s drive sets an auspicious tone because although it shows the hard edge in the band’s playing, it also reveals the nuance and dynamic sensitivity in the group’s approach. It’s what’s explored in the rest of the album.
By the time we reach “Church Hill,” the album’s third track, things are simmering. It features two jigs, the titular “Church Hill” comes from the now-popular Goodman Collection, and the second is the well loved classic “Monaghan Jig.” The tunes are very nice selections, but again, what stands out is the drive. These tunes hop along at a nice, brisk pace, and the way the group’s players locked in withe each other, coupled with the fabulous arrangement makes this impressive track stand apart.
The group also stands out on “The Joyful Hour,” a track that just flows along and features a lovely countermelody in the final tune, and “The Boy in the Tree,” which features some fierce piping from O’Hare. Contrast these with the almost pastoral quality of “An Bhean Dubh,” a slow tune on which Knowles’s fiddle playing absolutely shines, and the album’s sense of “bigger picture” begins to develop.Broaders takes the vocal lead on several tracks. His clear, piercing voice is in fine form throughout and I love the songs he’s singing here – as one might suspect, they’re supported by excellent arrangements. “Carrig Water” is one of the standouts. Broader does the song great justice, and his work is complemented by some terrific interplay between the pipes and the fiddle.
Another lovely song is “Creeping Jane.” There, Broader’s voice floats over the song’s galloping rhythm and is complemented by instrumental interludes, including a nice bit of drone towards song’s end that leads into a fine take on the reel “The Morning Star.” It’s a lovely one.
Ultimately, “The Joyful Hour” is a thrilling collection and arguably the finest of the group’s three albums. A brilliant mix of neatly chosen songs and tunes, the music is brought to life by great arrangements and brilliant musicianship. Its variety in tempo and intensity makes it an engaging collection to listen to as a whole, but each track has plenty to enjoy individually as well. It’s hard to imagine lovers of traditional music not enjoying this album – a must have, really. Dan Neely