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Barrule is Bringing Manx Music Beyond the British Isles

You can know a lot about Celtic heritage and culture and still not know very much about the Isle of Man. The island is famous for international cyclist Mark Cavendish, its unusual flag and it’s unusual relationship with Great Britain.

It’s a “crown dependency,” which means it has its own parliament and money and is ruled by the Lord of Man, who happens to be Queen Elizabeth II.

Historically, the Isle of Man was known as a smuggler’s haven, but developed its own distinct, culture and music. That last category is where Barrule comes in. The trio, two Manxmen and a Welshman, came together four years ago, and are really the first to have success exporting Manx music and culture beyond the British Isles.

"The Isle of Man reflects its geographical position really well. It's in-between everything. It's in-between Ireland and Scotland, England, Wales, and it takes a lot of influence from these places. And we've got our own melodies and our own really, kind of specific types of tunes and ways of playing tunes, but we borrow a lot from these other traditions," says Tomas Callister, the group's fiddler and a native Manxmen. 

Barrule is Jamie Smith on the accordion, Adam Rhodes on the bazouki, and Tomas Callister on the fiddle. They perform all weekend at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.