Finvarra's Wren is one of North America's most exciting Irish quartets. "Making the kind of music you'd only expect to hear on the west coast of Ireland" (Metro Times), the members of this Detroit, Michigan based band are intensely dedicated to their instruments and craft.
Jim Perkins and Cheryl Burns are well known for their sensitive yet strong vocals and the inventive musical weaving of Jim's guitar and Cheryl's mountain dulcimer and bodhran. Their son Asher on the button accordion and concertina and daughter Alison on vocals and fiddle are renowned across the country for their exceptional musicianship. Often, they are joined by Alison's husband Nicolas Brown, on uilleann pipes and flute. Each member of the family have enjoyed successful careers as musical performers, teachers and recording artists.
As a family band, Finvarra's Wren is capable of playing with a tightness and effortlessness that often evades other ensembles. Their performances have been described as "a swirl of musical tradition and performance energy" (Matt Watroba, host of "Folks Like Us" on WDET). The family bond is evident in their music as well as in their stage presence, as audiences are treated to spontaneous, good natured banter, jokes and conversation.
The list of places the members of the band have been invited to perform at is extensive, and includes highly respected venues and festivals like The Ark, the North Texas Irish Festival, the Goderich Celtic Festival, The Kennedy Center, and the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Jim is a versatile singer, musician, poet, songwriter and storyteller. He is a confident and charismatic entertainer, and has been an integral part of the Michigan folk music scene for many years. He has played in just about every possible kind of nook and cranny during his long career. Countless folk clubs, Irish pubs, schools, museums, and festivals have welcomed him. Jim's singing his strong and emotive, always focused on the story the songs are telling. His guitar playing is admired by peers and fans alike, and it alternates between powerful and driving on tune sets and graceful and subtle when backing up songs and slower tunes. In addition to his Wren band duties, Jim also works with the elderly as a musical therapist.
An extraordinary singer, percussionist and musician, Cheryl provides the rhythmic pulse behind the band's fiery tune sets on the bodhran. Her playing is at times subtle and tastefully understated in keeping with an older traditional style, but when the tunes get hot and the craic is fierce, the playful, walloping drive of her bodhran keeps the whole thing rolling. She also brings to the band a unique style of Appalachian dulcimer playing. Ethereal and delicate, her playing composes an intricate texture behind the music. Always in search of the obscure song, she peruses field recordings and invariably brings neglected gems to add to the Wren Band song bag.
Alison's has been described by the Irish Echo as "a brilliant fiddler, who sometimes flashes an aggressive drive". As a child, she learned from Irishman Mick Gavin, whose lovely Clare fiddling is imprinted on Alison's musical style. She is deeply interested in the older generation of Irish musicians, counting luminaries such as Tommy Potts, Seamus Ennis, Paddy Carty and Bobby Casey as influences. She has had the honor of performing at the Irish Embassy in Washinton D.C., the Kennedy Center, and concerts and festivals across the country. When she isn't performing, she is a highly sought after music teacher, and has been invited to teach at the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, the Riley School of Irish Music, the Austin Celtic Festival, and many more.
Asher has been interested in music since he was a toddler. He began playing the accordion at the age of seven, and by the age of ten he was performing at Meadow Brook with the Chieftans. As an adult, Asher's accordion playing is well known for his powerful drive and incredible energy. Part of what attracted him to the accordion was the complex mechanics of the instrument, and so it was a natural transition for him to begin making electronic music on the computer. As an electronic music producer as well as a traditional Irish musician, Asher is intrigued by the connection between music, dance, and technology from all eras. He has been described by the Metro Times as being "an artist who has one foot in the past and another very much in the future".