Celebrate New Year’s Eve on Irish time. 4:30-6:30 Houston Time – 10pm-12:30 Irish Time
Úlla came together organically via shared connections in the Austin music scene. All full-time musicians, Úlla is comprised of a bunch of Irish expats joined by several trad-Irish music fans to form a collective that share and celebrate a mutual love of Irish musical heritage.
Pat Byrne (vocals and guitar), from Borris, County Carlow moved to Austin to work on writing and form a band to play his original music.
Rich Brotherton (vocals, guitar, cittern), grew up playing music in Augusta, Georgia. After college he spent two summers in Doolin, County Clare, soaking up traditional reels, jigs and songs. He later moved to Texas and toured for years with the Robert Earl Keen band. Rich now works as the proprietor of Ace Recording, a cosy, well-appointed studio in south Austin.
Maddy Brotherton (fiddle) grew up in Austin, Texas, playing classical violin. While working on a degree in violin performance at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, she was instrumental in organizing a fiddle club, and began playing traditional Celtic tunes. Soon after came a trip to London and study with noted trad player Pete Cooper. When lockdown forced Úlla to move from a weekly residency , she began participating in Úlla live streams with Rich, her father, leading to a seat on stage as Ulla’s newest member.
EJ Jones began his musical journey at the age of 11 when he began studying the traditional music of the Great Highland Bagpipe. At age 13 he had his first experience performing alone, busking on a street at a festival. Since then he has walked the two sides of the instrument: first in the lifetime study and performance of traditional music in competition, and second in the exposure to the public the power and wildness of the bagpipe as an instrument of the festival.
Frances Cunningham lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and for the last 20 years, has accompanied bagpipes, banjos, fiddlers, singers, and everyone who needed her brilliantly thought out chords behind them. She is originally from Houston, Texas, and learned to play Irish music through guitarist Lloyd Gibson and flute player Turlach Boylan at their weekly sessions at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. She went to high school at Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where she studied the French horn and started playing at weekly contra dances with her friend Eden MacAdam-Somer. Frances toured the US with a Celtic rock band (SixMileBridge) in the mid-90s with her husband Sean Cunningham, who plays the flute and pipes. She discovered a talent for arranging tunes and songs together and especially for coming up with just the right chords and timing to make everyone she plays with sound great.