A youthful exuberance has made Anam a leading force in the evolution of traditional Celtic music. Led by founding member, acoustic guitarist, bodhran player, vocalist, and singer/songwriter Brian OhEadhra (pronounced:O'Hara), the Dublin-based and Edinburgh, Scotland-based band has grown into a highly respected, internationally known, ensemble. While the band's songs have been compared to such groups as Capercaillie and the band has been shared by Malcolm Dalglish and Grey Larsen, their fiery instrumentals forsake the usual accordion and fiddle approach in favor of the unique combination of Dublin-born accordionist Teresa Harkin and Cornwall-born mandolin and bouzouki player Neil Davey. Anam initially came together in 1994 through the efforts of Dublin-born OhEadhra. Inheriting his love of music from his parents, who both sang, OhEadhra was exposed to traditional Irish music during the five years that he spent, as a youngster, living in Newfoundland, Canada. Starting to write songs as a teenager, OhEadhra's skills were further sharpened while studying for a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Irish folklore.
Following the release of their self-titled debut album, the group reorganized in 1995 with the addition of Harkin and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Aimee Leonard. Harkin started playing button accordion with the Comhaltas Ceoltair Fireann (Association of Irish Musicians). In addition to earning a Masters degree in Ethnomusicology and a degree in teaching Irish music, she worked in the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin before joining the group. Leonard, who was born on Orkney Island, just north of Scotland, holds a bachelor's degree in community theater and plays bodhran, tin whistle, piano, recorder, oboe, keyboards, and djembe. Prior to joining Anam, Neil Davey toured and recorded with the Cornish band, Bucca, and the traditional Celtic music-meets-world-music group, Tusitala. Anam's American debut came during the Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis in 1997. Their first "formal" concert in the United States, also in Memphis, sold out three days in advance. OhEadhra took a brief hiatus from the band to play bodhran on Deaf Shephard's album Synergy. ~ Craig Harris