In a twist on the "You Don't Have to Be Jewish to Love Levy's Rye Bread" ad, Myron Bretholz proves you don't have to be Irish to love Celtic music. The lead singer and bodhran player for the Boiling Spuds is Jewish. "I do get a little kidding about it," he says, "but I've never experienced any kind of religious prejudice."
The Georgetown University graduate has been well-known here to fans of Irish music since 1975, when he had an Irish radio show, "Summer Solstice," on the now defunct WGTB-FM. "I like to contribute to the growth and dissemination of the music in whatever way I can, whether it's playing it, broadcasting it, writing about it," Bretholz says.
From playing the music on the radio, it seemed a short-enough hop to playing it in local pubs. The bodhran, a percussion instrument related to the tambourine, was a practical necessity," Bretholz confesses. "I've got melodies in my head, but I can't translate them into my fingers. But drums and rhythm are a natural expression of what I'm interested in."
The Boiling Spuds, who have been together since mid-1979, include Dennis Botzer (fiddle, tin whistle, flute, piano, guitar), Ann Meyer (guitar, mandolin) and her sister Nina Meyer (tenor banjo, mandolin). The group, playing traditional songs, reels and jigs, appears regularly at Ireland's Four Provinces. On Thursday, they'll perform in concert at the House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park. And there's good news on the radio side, as well: "Summer Solstice" reappeared six weeks ago on WHFS-FM, where it can be heard from 9 to 10 p.m. on Sundays.