It must’ve taken courage for the Boys of the Lough to sell traditional Celtic music to the general public back in 1967. After all, British Invasion rock, flower-power anthems and soul held a virtual full-nelson lock on record sales at the time. However, the Boys persevered, and it worked. Some 40 years, 60-plus US tours and numerous recordings later, they’re still alive and cooking. While band members have come and gone over the years, the legend stays alive. Friday night, you can see the fruits of their labor at Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium.

These five guys are the original deal. They hail from the lands that gave a home and a voice to the genre. Members come from the far-flung realms of Scotland, Ireland and the Shetland Islands. They’ve melded the diversity of their individual homelands into a well-oiled sound machine.

The band consists of composer Dave Richardson on mandolin, cittern, English concertina and button accordion; Kevin Henderson on fiddle; band founder Cathal McConnell on flute, whistle and vocals; Brendan Begley on button accordion, melodeon and vocals; and Malcolm Stitt on guitar.

Music aficionados recognize their incredible technical expertise and their ability to play traditional Scottish and Irish styles with integrity. Fans love their ready wit and humor, and original arrangements that stitch a seamless weave between Celtic subgenres. The music is complex yet accessible.  

— John Sollenberger