LIHUE — This St. Patrick’s Day weekend, you don’t have to travel 6,980 miles to hear quality Irish music as Whiskey-O is bringing the songs of the Emerald Isle to the Garden Isle this Sunday at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.
“We play real Irish music. We do a combination of old, original Irish and Celtic music and have sing-alongs. We want to lift people’s spirits,” said John Gilleran, guitarist and singer with Whiskey-O. “We like participation from our audience and we love seeing people dance. A lot of the music is very uplifting and we try to capture the feeling of the music.”
Gilleran, an Irish man himself, feels a reconnection to his heritage whenever he plays with the band. Being able to provide a taste of Irish culture and pride half a world away from Ireland to the people of Kauai is something that has a significant impact on Gilleran and the rest of the ensemble.
“We want the people to get involved and have fun with what we’re doing. Irish folk music is the roots of much of modern music. There’s something elemental and kinetic about how people respond to the music,” Gilleran said.
While Gilleran has never stepped foot in Ireland, he and his other band members have connected with visitors from Dublin who have told him how special it was for them to hear original Irish songs and jigs from so far away.
“Some people who have visited from Ireland have come up to us after a show and told us that we could play in Dublin. And that just showed that this music isn’t stoic. I can guarantee you that you will be smiling and having fun if you come to this show,” he said.
Ireland may be a small country, but it’s culture is far reaching.
“There’s a deep connection between Irish music and people,” Gilleran added. “Music is meant to be shared because it’s infectious. Hearing Irish music performed live gives people the opportunity to be somewhere they haven’t been before.”
Playing alongside Whiskey-O is Jannik Keoki Evanoff, a local eight-year-old piano prodigy from Kauai.
Proceeds from Sunday’s concert, which begins at 3 p.m., will benefit Kauai’s young music scholars. Tickets are $20 for the public and $10 for kids 12 and under.
Tickets can be bought ahead of time at themokihanaclub.org or from a Mokihana Club member. Admission prices will increase by $5 at the door.