History of the Band

As best anyone can remember, the members of Barra, then known as Calliope House, first performed together in 1999 at the Midway Folk Festival.  As the membership changed over the years, the band was renamed Barra, which is the Irish Gaelic word for "summit."  (Summit also happens to be Paul's favorite local brewery!)  Now, more than a dozen years later, after numerous musical adventures we are still friends and still cranking out the tunes.  We'd like to thank our listeners and former members of the band -- particularly Deborah Martin (fiddle) -- for their support through the years.
Selected venues and events where Barra has performed
More about Barra
  • Irish Fair of Minnesota
  • Irish Music and Dance Associations’s Day of Dance, Landmark Center, St. Paul
  • Oak Center Folk Forum,         Oak Center, MN
  • St. Patrick’s Day Annual Irish Ceili Dance, CSPS Hall, St. Paul 
  • Annual Ceili for Guatemala, St. Joan of Arc Church, Minneapolis
  • Tapestry Folk Dance Center, Minneapolis
  • St. Catherine University  Summer Chautauqua
  • Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis (theater welcome music)
  • Capital Holiday, St. Paul
  • Swede Hollow Café, St. Paul
  • The Coffee Grounds, St. Paul
  • Ginkgo Coffee House, St. Paul
  • Kieran’s Irish Pub, Minneapolis
  • The Dubliner, St. Paul
  • The Liffey, St. Paul
  • The Local, Minneapolis
  • Mall of America, Bloomington
  • Celtic Edge Festival, Hobgoblin Music, Red Wing, MN
  • Meet Me Under the Bridge summer concert series, Heritage Park, Wabasha, MN
  • St. Paul Celtic Connection, Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul
  • Northeast South Dakota Celtic Faire and Games, Aberdeen, SD
  • Nobles County International Festival, Worthington, MN
  • Northrup Concert Series, University of Minnesota
  • The Grand Concert Hall,  Northfield, MN
  • Merner Concert Series, Faribault
  • Great River Folk Fest,                   La Crosse, WI
  • Downtown Music Series, Old Gem Theater, New Richmond, WI
  • Polk County Fair, Polk County, WI
  • Grassroots Concert Series, Nisswa, MN
  • Headwaters Folk Festival, Bemidji
  • Irish Weekend, Iron World, Bemidji, MN
  • National Night Out, Mounds Park
  • Yulefest annual winter solstice concert, St. Paul
  • Minnesota Folk Festival, St. Paul
  • Minnesota Folk Festival New Year’s Party, St. Paul
  • Renaissance Festival, Shakopee
  • Macalester College Neighborhood Summer Party
Getting ready to take the Weyerhaeuser Auditorium stage at Landmark Center at the IMDA Day of Dance, March 2010.  L-R: John McCormick, Amy Shaw, Paul Garding, Deborah Martin, Dave Cammack
Barra performing at the Swede Hollow Café, 2003.  L-R: Deborah Martin, John McCormick, Dave Cammack, Karie Oberg, Paul Garding
Publicity photo, ca. 2002.  Left-right: Deborah Martin, Paul Garding, Dave Cammack, John McCormick, Karie Oberg
John McCormick
Deborah Martin and John McCormick, ca. 2004
John, Deb, and Paul in the ceili tent at the 2011 Irish Fair.
Barra with Scoil na d’Tri dancers in Paynesville, Minnesota, 2005.  L-R (as seated): John McCormick, Deborah Martin, Dave Cammack, Karie Oberg, Paul Garding
Amy Shaw
Paul at the Celtic Edge Festival at Hobgoblin Music, Red Wing, Minnesota, 2008.
A typical St. Patrick’s Day ceili at the CSPS Hall, St. Paul.  This photo taken in 2006.  L-R: Amy Shaw, Deborah Martin, John McCormick, Dave Cammack, Paul Garding.  Ann Wiberg was calling the dances.
John at the Celtic Edge Festival at Hobgoblin Music, Red Wing, Minnesota, 2008.
Amy Shaw
John and Dave at a session at Keegan’s Irish Pub, Minneapolis, 2003.  L-R: John McCormick, Dave Cammack, and Patti Drew
Amy and John at the Celtic Edge Festival at Hobgoblin Music, Red Wing, Minnesota
John and Dave at a house session, 2008
Paul Garding
Barra performing at the Celtic Edge Festival at Hobgoblin Music, Red Wing, Minnesota, 2008.  L-R: Amy Shaw, John McCormick, Deborah Martin, Paul Garding
Occasionally John can be enticed to play the pipes during a break at our ceilis.  Photo taken at the CSPS Hall, March 2007.
John and Paul…still friends after all these years!  Taken in the ceili tent at the 2010 Irish Fair.
Barra 2012
Barra then and now...
Website snapshot 2005
See more images throughout the
years in our Photo Gallery below.
More about Barra
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