As of 2012, John McGaha, and Leah Kenton-McGaha have left "Boru's Ghost" to focus on other projects. For current information, visit John McGaha: JKLM Studios on Facebook. The four remaining members are now playing as a group titled "Beyond 9".
The sound of Boru’s Ghost is an eclectic mix of acoustic rock, Celtic and folk music. While comparable to time-honored Celtic music, it is a refreshing and multifaceted blend. BG combines intelligent arrangements, driving rhythms, superb musicianship and complex vocal harmonies with such diverse rock influences as Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac. Although the band has its roots deeply embedded in Celtic music, one may not even immediately recognize traditional music performed by this band. The Ghost’s energetic performances include inspired original compositions interspersed with thoughtfully arranged traditional Celtic songs. All are comprised with a distinctive style that is known among band mates and fans of BG as "Boruasizing.” Boru’s Ghost uses many instruments while performing including but not limited to, guitars, fiddle, bouzouki, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, Irish whistles, keyboard, bass guitar, bodhran, cahon and doumbek. The bands ideal is to create something different and uniquely personal for those involved–listeners and band members alike.
Boru's Ghost began in 1999 with the two founding members, Russell Pierce and John McGaha. BG now has six full time members including Russell Pierce, John McGaha, Audra Blankenship-Pierce, Eric Herndon, Leah Kenton-McGaha and Dustin Cooper. BG started out playing medieval fairs, coffee shops and bookstores, moved on to bars and pubs and ultimately to larger festivals most notably the North Texas Irish Festival, the Oklahoma Arts Festival and the Oklahoma Celtic Heritage Festival.
Russell Pierce began playing guitar like most boys do, when he was a teenager. His parents bypassed the standard electric guitar trap and would only allow him have an acoustic six-string. Disappointed but not deterred, Russell promptly began teaching himself to play. He found that he loved the warm sound that only an acoustic guitar could provide. Russell also began writing his own music and song lyrics around this time. Years later Russell acquired the guitar of his dreams, a twelve string Martin acoustical. Russell’s unique style of rhythm, his meticulous attention to musical details and his strong work ethic has driven much of his art.
John McGaha embarked on his musical journey when he was a young boy. John’s family is very musical with both his father and grandfather playing multiple folk instruments. When John was only five years old, his father gave him his first fiddle. By the time he was six, John was playing it in front of audiences. During his adolescence he began composing his own music and lyrics. He also taught himself to play the hammered dulcimer. Since that time he has never stopped. After years of diligent work, John has become one of those rare individuals that can pick up any instrument and play it well within minutes. He also has the unique ability to create and sing dynamic vocal harmonies which is irreplaceable when working with a group that revolves around lyrical music. John also has solo projects, available through Last FM. For current information, visit John McGaha: JKLM Studios on Facebook.
In the early 1990’s Russell and John began to play music as a duo. They discovered Celtic music together. It is the music of their shared Scots/Irish ancestry and it simply just spoke to them. Along with another member, they formed Calliope House, a traditional Irish music band. After a year of playing small venues, they sensed that life was taking them in different directions and decided to split up. It wasn’t long until Celtic music called them back. In 1999, they had an epiphany. John and Russell felt that traditional Celtic music needed to be updated in order to be brought to a much wider audience They had a desire to bring their compositional skills, their musical abilities and their love of Celtic music and music of all types together to generate an unheard of genre of music. With that in mind, they created Boru’s Ghost.
With a one hour set of music and a whole lot of ambition, they began to play as a duo at intimate gatherings. It wasn’t long until they realized they needed more…more music, more shows and more people to get their dream up and running. It was at that time that they began to add more musicians and, in turn, more music to the band.
Audra Blankenship-Pierce has been singing since the time she could form words. As a child she sang with school and church choirs. In college, she was the lead vocalists for two local rock bands. Late in 1999, she joined up with Boru’s Ghost as the vocalist and manager of the band. Audra’s Irish ancestry played a big part in her decision to join Boru’s Ghost. She thought John and Russell’s ideas about the genre were genius. After working with the group for a few practices, John brought her the Irish penny whistle and said “Why don’t you try this out too?” After many hours of practice and tutelage with John, she began to play the whistle as well as sing for the band. She also occasionally tried her hand at percussion. It has been said that Audra’s hauntingly beautiful voice is one of the key ingredients to the unique sound of BG and it’s often hypnotic effect on listeners.
The group soon realized that something was missing, the bass guitar. After a couple of transitions, Eric Herndon joined the group in early 2005. Eric is a classically trained guitar player with 28 years of experience. Intermittently, Eric will play some classical guitar during a Boru’s Ghost performance. His ability to transfer his classical guitar skills and experience over to the bass and his contributions as a composer have greatly enriched the sound of Boru’s Ghost.
Leah Kenton-McGaha began performing part-time with Boru's Ghost in 2007 after her marriage to John. The band felt a need for additional melody instruments and Leah readily stepped in to gracefully play the hammered dulcimer. Leah's long performance background with other local bands made her a real coup for the band. Her musical experience and her ability to aide with the mechanics of making a band run are greatly appreciated. Lea joined Boru's Ghost full time in early 2009. Thanks to her versatility, Leah also lends a hand with percussion and whistles from time to time.
Last but not least is repeat offender Dustin Cooper. Dustin was with BG during the early stages of the band and returned to the fold to do percussion in 2009. Dustin is also a very talented multi-instrumentalist who has been a mainstay in the Oklahoma City traditional music scene for many years. Dustin's technique gives the band a beat that won't soon be forgotten.
Boru’s Ghost is also community minded. In 2006, members of Boru’s Ghost joined with other like minded individuals to help create the Oklahoma Celtic Heritage Association, www.okcelticfest.com. The Oklahoma Celtic Heritage Association’s mission is to create and organize real opportunities for all Celtic groups to congregate and share their philosophy through music, dance, song, storytelling, genealogy and craft. Boru’s Ghost can be found at many of the events to promote the association and its goals.
For the past ten years Boru’s Ghost has been delighting audiences in Oklahoma and Texas. The band is currently pursuing expansion into the surrounding states as well as a broader audience in the state of Oklahoma. With over 100 years of combined musical ability, the members of Boru’s Ghost are passionately devoted to sharing their vision of Celtic music with the world.
Please join Boru’s Ghost at one of their next performances or visit them online at www.borusghost.com. Rites of Passage and Hound of Cullan can be downloaded from many digital distributors such as iTunes or Napster or purchased and shipped directly to you by visiting
www.cdbaby.com. Thank you for your interest in Boru’s Ghost and their music.
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