The Lost Forty crafts beautiful arrangements of rare old folk songs entwined with the history of Minnesota. Their sources and their approach celebrate two centuries of Irish musical influence on the under-explored musical traditions of the north woods. Their show includes incredible archival photos, rich regional history, and colorful stories.
The Lost Forty was scheduled to perform April 12 but had to cancel due to weather, but we were able to work it out and get them rescheduled. They will be at the Roseau City Center on Monday, June 24 at 6 pm.
A native of the northern Minnesota logging town of Bemidji, Brian Miller teams up with Wisconsinite Randy Gosa to perform the Irish-influenced music of men who roamed the Great Lakes region in the days when pine was king. Miller and Gosa are both renowned in the Irish traditional music world for their work with top artists (including Bua and Myserk) in the US and Ireland. As a duo, they mix a passion for Northwoods history and folklore with their finely honed approach to song-arrangement to bring this rich but under-explored music to life.
A native of the northern Minnesota town of Bemidji, Brian Miller teams up with Wisconsinite Randy Gosa as The Lost Forty. The Lost Forty revives and performs the Irish-influenced songs of men who roamed the Great Lakes region in the days when pine was king. Miller (Bua) and Gosa (Myserk) have toured the US with their Irish traditional music groups. Together they mix a passion for Northwoods history and folklore with their love of arranging forgotten songs to bring to life this rich but under-explored music.
“A wonderful exploration of an oft-overlooked facet of the Irish American experience… …brilliantly curated and superbly executed.”
–Daniel Neely, The Irish Echo
“…the most fun thing at [the Milwaukee] Irish Fest this year”
— Erik Carlson, “A Feast of Irish Folk” WHPK Chicago
A native of the northern Minnesota logging town of Bemidji, Brian Miller fell in love with Irish traditional music 20 years ago, moved down to the “big smoke” of St. Paul and has since become one of the most sought-after musicians in North America’s Irish music scene. Brian provides guitar and bouzouki accompaniment for the acclaimed band Bua.
Brian’s research and revival of Irish-influenced music collected in the Great Lakes region has earned him four grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board. He was also a 2014 recipient of the Parsons Fund Award from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. He promotes the revival of regional songs with The Lost Forty and through his blog Northwoods Songs where he sings, videotapes, transcribes and writes about rare traditional songs sung long ago in the white pine belt of North America.
Brian has toured widely throughout the US and Canada with Bua, The Lost Forty and others. He has been featured on MPR’s All Things Considered, CBC Radio’s Canada Live, and Ireland’s RTE television, RTE radio, and TG4 television. Brian has long been known for his skilled accompaniment of Irish music. Esteemed Irish music critic Earle Hitchner writes: “The backing of Miller on guitar flexes not just muscle but a fully complementary style.” Brian teaches Irish (and north woods) music at the Center for Irish Music in St. Paul, Minnesota as well as at numerous camps around the US and Canada. He is the founder of the Traditional Singers Club of the Twin Cities. He has spoken on the Irish song tradition at University College Cork (Ireland) and on north woods music at the University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota. He has also written for the Journal of American Folklore.
“Miller is a strong singer and a masterful instrumentalist…
each song is a gem.” —Off Center Views
Randy Gosa has been playing Irish music since 1999. During his undergraduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he studied with several renowned Irish music masters including Liz Carroll and Sheila Shigley, studied at the University of Limerick, Ireland with Niall Keegan and Sandra Joyce, and completed the UW-Milwaukee Celtic Studies program. A founding member of the Milwaukee based Celtic trio Cé, he performs nationally with the band Myserk and collaborates with several accomplished midwest-based musicians including flute player Brett Lipshutz and Celtic harpist Kim Robertson. In addition to performing, he teaches at the Irish Fest School of Music and is an active céilí/set dance musician in Milwaukee. Randy’s versatile musicianship has been described by critics such as Alex Monaghan (Folk World) as “driving, percussive, lyrical, gentle, dominant by turns.”
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.