We Banjo 3 tour comes to El Camino College


We Banjo 3, an Irish bluegrass band bringing mental health awareness through their music. Lead singer David Howley said, “The world is crazy and music is our place of safety. It doesn’t matter the genre of music.” Photograph courtesy of Michelle Roche, media relations manager for We Banjo 3.

Within the green hills of Ireland and through instruments of string, a band of brothers set out to create a new style of music.

Born and raised in Ireland, We Banjo 3 is a set of two brothers who revolve their music around the banjo and use other instruments like the fiddle, mandolin, guitar, percussion, and vocals.

As they started their band in Ireland, these brothers created their own genre of music called “Celtgrass”, a combination of modern American bluegrass with a traditional Irish sound.

This new sound and their last album, “String Theory” helped them rise to the top of Billboard’s #1 Artists, Originators of Celtgrass.

One of their stops in their 2018-19 tour will be El Camino on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. where they will be performing their newest album “Haven.”

We Banjo 3’s lead singer, David Howley, discussed how he had struggled with mental health and wanted to create songs based on personal experiences he went through.

“I struggled with mental health for a number of years and I grew up in a culture that didn’t really talk about mental health all the time,” Howley said. “We want to be a voice for people and talk about some bigger things and that came into the light of talking about mental health.”

With many of their tours, they work with campaigns to bring awareness of mental health which later goes to mental health charities.

“We want to bring the idea that you can just talk about it,” Howley added.

When asked why he named his album “Haven” Howley explained that haven meant a place of safety, comfort, and “one’s highest peak in life.”

“I am happiest when I’m on stage. I am at my peak of existence when I am on stage,” Howley said. “So we wanted a word that would fit into that idea.”

“We wanted to create something that would serve as a safe for everyone, no matter the religious, political views, etc,” Howley said. “Everyone’s haven is different and there is a point or place where they feel safe and great.”

They will be performing at El Camino because they met the Director of Center of the Arts, Rick Christophersen when attending Western Arts Alliance Conference in Seattle, Washington.

“I thought they were great, very different from what we usually hear,” Christophersen said. “They just got my attention.”

At EC, professor William Doyle teaches a world music class where one of the lessons is Irish music and contemporary music.

“[We Banjo 3] are all excellent musicians,” Doyle said. “The singing style is a little bit country, a little bit Irish, very down to earth, very heartfelt so I love the stuff that they do.”

He was excited to know We Banjo 3 was performing at EC.

Music professor William Doyle in his office North part of the Music building on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
“[We Banjo 3

Since [We Banjo 3’s] third album [“String Theory”] I have followed what they have done,” Doyle added. “They just blew me away.”

He also discussed how music in Ireland is, especially traditional music in Ireland.

“It is just a small intimate group and it makes everyone feel great and wonderful,” Doyle said.

We Banjo 3 has worked to make a name for themselves as they bring awareness on powerful topics like mental health with positive songs and working with charities.

“The world is crazy and music is our place of safety, it doesn’t matter the genre of music,” Howley said.

Update: 1:54 p.m. Grammical error was adjusted for accuracy.