Young brass band’s unique sound rubs off on famous fans

by Ian Begley

BOOKA Brass Band have become something of an enigma.
What started out as a group of young music students shyly addressing a bar full of revellers has unforeseeably and speedily become an eight-piece band of professional entertainers and craftsmen.
They’re capable of not just grabbing and holding the attention of thousands of fans in a festival tent, or at any number of their sold-out shows, but leaving them with something that they are not about to forget in this lifetime.
The band comprises eight characters, each with a different story to tell and each bringing their own brand of enthralling stage presence that make Booka Brass Band impossible to take your eyes off once they hit the stage.
Speaking to The Gazette this week, band member Paul Kiernan said that since playing the trumpet from the age of eight, it has become somewhat of a vital organ for him.
He said: “My dad played the trumpet a lot growing up, so it made sense that I would follow suit.
“When I was about 15, I joined the National Youth Orchestra and started playing with many different people all around Ireland.
“I then went on to study music in college, and it was really from there that I went on to start Booka Brass with a few fellow brass musicians that I knew.
“We’re all good friends and there’s a nice atmosphere in the band.
“We all like the sound of many New Orleans brass bands, which is what we started off playing. We also did a lot of covers from the likes of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Youngblood Brass Band.
“We then started writing our own stuff, and have many of our own influences such as RnB, Soul, Rock, and pretty much everything mixed into one.”
Paul added: “I like playing our originals the most, but playing the likes of Beyonce and Justin Timberlake are really fun to play. Everyone knows the songs, and it really gets the crowd going.”
The band have collaborated with artists such as Lisa Hannigan, James Vincent McMorrow, Paul Noonan, We Cut Corners, and Jerry Fish, to name but a few, as well as playing in Aras an Uachtarain by invitation of President Michael D Higgins.
They have also played with Imelda May, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, The Hot 8 Brass Band and finished off the year to a sold-out Vicar Street crowd on New Year’s Eve.
Paul said: “Ireland is a really great place to play because everyone is always up for enjoying themselves – everyone here wants to have fun, and it’s really like nowhere else.”
Booka Brass Band are playing Live at Leopardstown tonight; tickets can be purchased at, priced €18.

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