‘We Banjo 3’ had an engaging and electric Storrs debut 

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“We Banjo 3” had everyone’s foot tapping and hands clapping at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Thursday with a highly energetic show. Hosted by WHUS, UConn’s radio station, and Chion Wolf Productions, the Storrs debut of “We Banjo 3” was a spectacle. The band encouraged audience members to dance like no one was watching and to have fun.  

The Irish band made its 10th stop on their “Roots to Rise” American tour last night, highlighting their newest album of the same name which was recorded earlier this year. Their previous album “Haven” spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard bluegrass chart. The band currently has close to 130,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.  

Their set consisted of popular songs, such as “Shine On” and “Sunflower,” with a bunch of guitar-face jam sessions mixed in for good measure. They also covered familiar songs like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” and Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” 

Although the band’s name is “We Banjo 3,” the group consists of two sets of brothers: Lead singer and guitarist, David Howley; his banjo-playing brother, Martin Howley; Enda Scahill, who also plays the banjo; and Scahill’s brother Fergal Scahill, who plays the fiddle. Together the group created a new genre they like to call Celtgrass: A mix of traditional Irish music and American bluegrass. 


We Banjo 3 performs for an energetic audience in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Thursday night. Originally from Ireland, the band is touring the States showcasing their special blend of Celtic and bluegrass music.  Photos by Kevin Lindstrom / The Daily Campus

We Banjo 3 performs for an energetic audience in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Thursday night. Originally from Ireland, the band is touring the States showcasing their special blend of Celtic and bluegrass music. Photos by Kevin Lindstrom / The Daily Campus

“We Banjo 3” is almost like if Ed Sheeran and James Bay had a baby, with the right amount of love for Irish roots and American bluegrass all in one. I had a chance to speak to two of the band members, David Howley and Fergal Scahill, and they are just as quirky in person as they are on stage. 

When asked the age-old question on why the band is called “We Banjo 3” instead of “We Banjo 4,” Howley had a witty response.  

“I made the band name when I was drunk and I didn’t count myself!” Howley said.  

The two also joked about their nerves before going on stage.  

“Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t know, I’m too nervous. I can’t answer that,” Scahill said about nerves.  

Howley said he gets more nervous ordering food at a restaurant. 

Along with spreading the magic of Celtgrass music, the tour is contributing to an important cause. To continue their partnership with Mental Health America, which aims to raise funds and awareness for mental health, $2 from every sale of the band’s t-shirt will be donated to the organization. According to the band’s website, they raised $2,000 this past spring and are not stopping there.  

Luckily, “We Banjo 3” is going on another American tour next year with two stops near Storrs, for those who either missed the festivities or wish to join in again. Those shows will be in February 2020 at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, Connecticut and the Somerville Theater in Boston.  


Caroline LeCour is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at caroline.lecour@uconn.edu.

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