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Band of brothers: Local family headlines Bay Ridge’s Irish Night

Cheers!: The members of the Canny Brothers Band will perform at Shore Road Park on Aug. 22.
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It’s never too early for St. Patrick’s Day!

Local Irish music group the Canny Brothers Band will headline the Irish Night party in Shore Road Park on Aug. 22 — almost seven months before Bay Ridge’s biggest annual parade. One of the three siblings in the band says that the celebrating the luck of the Irish should not be reserved to March — it can be a 365-day party.

“St. Patrick’s is really a year-round type of thing. Irish festivals are year-round, and all over the country. There’s really no time frame for Irish music festivals,” said Stephen Canny, who plays the bass and banjo, although he noted: “Of course, March is the busiest.”

The three Canny siblings — Stephen, Thomas, and Michael — grew up in Dyker Heights, and they first fell in love with the traditional tunes of their homeland as kids, when their dad would play the tunes for them. And about 15 years ago, the trio of self-taught musicians decided to pick up their banjos and guitars and start strumming along to the songs of their Gaelic ancestors, said Canny.

“We grew up to my dad listening play Irish music all the time, on records he had, and the radio,” he said. “It got us interested. We’ve always been fans of Irish music but never considered playing it until we noticed there weren’t a lot of people doing it at the time. We figured it was kind of in our wheelhouse and gave it a try.”

The Canny kin got their cousin, Kevin Baynes, to play along on keyboards, and recruited their childhood friend Keith Fallon to take the helm as lead singer.

The six-piece band, including un-Canny drummer Mick Bauer, plays classic Irish rebel and freedom songs, along with Celtic anthems and bluegrass tunes, but they also play original songs with more personal ties to the group. One of the band’s original compositions, “William O’Connor,” is about the brothers’ grandfather, who escaped from an Irish prison and immigrated to America, said Canny.

“It’s basically a story about him and what he went through coming to America,” he said.

The Canny Brothers Band will join the Clann Eireann Irish Pipe Band at the free Irish Night party in Shore Road Park, and the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee will sell raffles and t-shirts to benefit the annual parade.

Irish Night on Shore Road Park (Shore Road at 79th Street in Bay Ridge, www.cannybrothersband.com). Aug. 22 at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 1:00 pm, August 18, 2017
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