Traditional songs of emigration, sea shanties, lively jigs and reels, and ancient airs combine with some of Ireland’s best contemporary songs for a musical experience that captures the history and legend of Ireland and its people.
What makes a Blackthorn show unique is the variety of tunes, tempos and textures. Each member of the band plays multiple instruments, including wooden flute, accordion, tin whistle, five string banjo, cittern, bones and more. These instruments complement the lead vocal of
Belfast native Richard McMullan and the band’s tight blend of four part harmony.
Blackthorn has played throughout the Great Lakes region since 1984. Based in Detroit, they can be found regularly at O’Mara’s Pub and Restaurant in Berkley. Other venues include concert halls, universities and festivals, including main stage appearances at the prestigious Michigan Irish Festival and world renowned Milwaukee Irish Fest.
Metro Detroiters fondly remember Blackthorn’s annual appearances on J. P. McCarthy’s St. Patrick’s Day show on WJR radio in the 1980s and 1990s, and later with Paul W. Smith. They have released seven CDs, and have performed with guest musicians such as members of the
Michigan Opera Theater and the Motor City Brass Band. In 2010, Blackthorn was voted “Best Folk Band/Artist” by the readers of The Detroit Metro Times.