Seth Johnson/Daily Journal: Skilly and Duff played at The Spot on Thursday, and they will return to Fergus Falls again this summer to play Concert in the Park on Aug. 30. From Left: Bruce Kelly, Mikko Cowdery and Anne O’Flynn.

Archived Story

EL group making Irish music [UPDATED]

Published 10:40am Tuesday, June 19, 2012 Updated 10:41am Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Three scoops of Crisco shortening, three medium potatoes, five large eggs, salt and the catch of the day are the ingredients necessary for the traditional Irish dish, Skilly and Duff. One accordion, two guitars, a bazuki, three ukuleles, a piano and three fun-loving Elbow Lake area musicians make up the local Irish music group, Skilly and Duff.

The three musicians are Bruce “Skilly” Kelly, Mikko “Duff” Cowdery and Anne “Catch of the Day” O’Flynn, and they have been performing together for five years.

The group began as a duet featuring Kelly and Cowdery, but O’Flynn got involved almost right away.

“They played together for two months before they wised up,” O’Flynn said.

Skilly and Duff played their first gig in Fergus Falls five years ago, and they had so much fun, they wanted to do it again, O’Flynn said.

Soon after they played their first show, they ended up in Alexandria playing at Carlos Creek Winery. The performance was received so well, they were asked to play a show there once a month. Skilly and Duff has now done more than 50 performances at the winery.

“It’s really fun to see people laugh and smile,” O’Flynn said. “It’s fun to perform, but it’s even more fun to see the audience react.”

A couple years after the group was formed, O’Flynn and Kelly decided they wanted to become more than fellow band members, so they got married.

In 2009, the group decided to compete in Irish Idol at Harriet Island in St. Paul and took first place. This gave them the chance to come back to play an official gig there the following year.

“We play about five times a month,” O’Flynn said. “We try to get together a couple times a month to practice too. We’re always trying to learn new songs. It seems like there’s no end to the songs we can learn.”

The group has performed more than 100 songs, and they often do 4.5-hour performances without playing any repeats, O’Flynn said.

Skilly and Duff play Irish pub songs, most of which are 20 to 80 years old. While they play many well-known Irish songs, the group also plays some original music.

“I love the fact that you can understand the lyrics,” said Cowdery. “You have to listen to the lyrics because there are a lot of jokes in the songs. If you don’t hear the lyrics you don’t get the punch lines.”

O’Flynn appreciates the way playing music makes her feel, she said.

“If I have a bad day at work, when I go over to Mikko’s and practice, after about 15 minutes I feel right with the world again. “

The group played at The Spot on Thursday, and they will return to Fergus Falls again this summer to play Concert in the Park on Aug. 30.

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