Authentic, Joyous Irish Music…

Traditional with a touch of chamber music and music hall, Colcannon plays Irish music with panache, warmth and wit. Timeless songs and great musicianship transport the audience to another time and place. Colcannon is equally at home on the stage at a folk music festival or performing with a symphony orchestra.Their Holiday program combines the appeal of Irish music with the appeal of Holiday music, much of it with Irish roots, resulting in great success with ticket sales and audience response.

Colcannon has developed a distinctive, inventive, and contemporary musical style while still keeping in firm touch with the heart and essence of traditional Irish music. Colcannon’s concerts are renowned for their energy, for singer/frontman Mick Bolger’s irrepressible sense of humor and sly wit, and, of course, for the music; music that expresses flights of joy, deep sorrows, and an unquenchable zest for life.

The band formed in 1984 in Boulder Colorado, USA, and their reputation has grown steadily over the years with the release of eight CDs on the Oxford Road Records label. The band’s recent CD ‘The Pooka and the Fiddler’ received a Parent’s Choice Award for its artful interweaving or music and storytelling. The Emmy-award winning PBS special, ‘Colcannon in Concert,’ filmed at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts has aired nationwide.

Colcannon was named ensemble-in-residence at The Colorado College, the first non-classical musical group to be awarded this position.

Colcannon has also been part of many collaborative projects — they were featured on John McEuen’s soundtrack for the television mini-series “The Wild West”, as well as on the Western Heritage Award winning album of the same name and The Nashville Network Television special “The Music of the Wild West”. The group has provided music for an audio project “Secrets of the World — The Good People” featuring Irish master storyteller and folklorist Eddie Lenihan.

Colcannon’s appeal crosses lines of age, gender and ethnic background. For while the musical focus is on the beautiful wealth of traditional Irish music — all acoustic instrumentation, traditional as well as original tunes and songs, with some of the songs in Mick’s native Irish language — Colcannon’s true message is the story of the resilient and joyous human spirit.

When I moved to America, I became homesick for the community I had in Ireland. I found that community in Boulder Colorado in music and singing.
– Mick Bolger

“We try to evolve our arrangements to be organic to the songs rather than impose some preconceived idea in the arrangement.”

Meet Colcanon

Mick Bolger

Mick Bolger is becoming increasingly recognized as one of the leading interpreters of traditional Irish song.He sings in both English and his native Irish (Gaelic), bringing an emotional directness and surprising depth to his material. He also plays the bodhrán (the Irish goatskin drum) and his stories and unexpected flights of humor keep audiences intrigued. Mick originally moved to the U.S. to pursue a degree in sculpture, but ended up focusing on performing traditional music. He is also an avid reader and a great cook.

Mike Fitzmaurice

Mike Fitzmaurice plays both guitar and acoustic bass in Colcannon. Another former visual artist, he earned a degree in painting before becoming involved in music. His musical past has run the gamut from bluegrass band to blues band to ballet orchestra. Mike’s bass playing is unique in the traditional music scene, with the instrument often stepping up as an equal voice in the melodic texture- the “bass fiddle”, as it were. He is also a skilled composer, and has written two full-scale works for Colcannon and symphony orchestra, “The Red Kite” and “Lusanna”.

Jean Bolger

A fiddler of both power and finesse, Jean began playing violin at the age of six: classical music was the ‘approved listening’ at home. A later convert to Irish fiddle, she brings great control to her fiery playing and a firm delicacy to her subtle, nuanced accompaniments. (On the other hand, she has occasionally been known to play the accordion, and has a weakness for Irish polkas) Jean is also a prolific composer, and at one point undertaking a project of writing a new tune every day for a year.

Brian Mullins

Brian originally joined Colcannon as a guitarist and mandolin player in 1994. His inventive rhythmic accompaniments are a defining aspect of the group’s sound. Over the years he has incorporated more and more of his instrumental skills into the band’s arrangements, playing mandocello, cittern, erhu (Chinese spike fiddle) and flute. (His collection of odd instruments is an ever-growing phenomenon) Brian is a prolific composer, and has performed and recorded with more projects than we can list. He has also toured extensively with a residency program, bringing his enthusiasm for world music and instruments to elementary school children

Cynthia Jaffe

Colcannon’s newest member, Cynthia has been performing in the Celtic music scene since 2002, most notably in the Colorado-based trio “County Boulder.” A multi-instrumentalist with classical roots, she hails from New York and lived in New England, Denmark, Amsterdam, India, and various places between, before settling in Colorado. Long intrigued by world music, she studied classical Indian music (flute and kanjira) at Wesleyan University’s World Music Program and with master teachers in Madras, India. Somehow it was inevitable that the Irish flute would especially capture her heart.

“Colcannon’s brand of Celtic style music is packed with subtle touches and fluid interplay.”

- fRoots)

…a happy balance of rollicking good-time tunes and addictive Gaelic melancholy. Sure, you can expect the soothing refrain of an Irish melody, but be prepared to be blasted from your reverie by original compositions from one of the best acoustic Celtic bands in the United States.

Metro Santa Cruz

Colcannon continues its quest for Celt-world domination. Colcannon is a band that never forgets to have fun… band can also play with the precision and legato grace that characterizes the best of Irish music. All lovers of fine music can claim Colcannon as countrymen.

Dirty Linen

clean, exciting instrumentals and the rich, heartful voice of Mick Bolger… Colcannon has an amazing partnership that sounds more cohesive and finely tuned with each new offering. The mix and selection of tunes is delightful, the arrangements stunning, and the performances stellar, as you would expect from Colcannon.


“It takes talent and skill to make traditional material sound like one’s own, and one’s own material sound traditional. Such is just one of the trademarks of Colcannon.Lead singer Mick Bolger’s authentic vocals are at home with whatever he sings, in both Gaelic or English. The instrumentals swing back and forth between delicate and rollicking, all performed cleanly and tightly. You deserve to hear them. They deserve to be heard by you. Make it happen.”

Kevin McCarthy

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