Buffalo trio Inga Yanoski, Brian Walnicki and Michael Yanoski – or, as they are better known, The Bards – are a unique group of musicians who specialize in playing an assortment of popular music, movie tunes, and folk music from European countries like Ireland, Scandinavia and Latvia.
Often described as a “dynamic trio,” the three musicians are classically trained and all have degrees in music performance. Inga Yanoski provides vocals and plays violin; husband Michael plays hammered dulcimer, harmonium, accordion, and percussion. And Fredonia resident Brian Walnicki plays viola and octave mandolin.
Inga describes how the group started …
“Approximately 10 years ago, I was invited to play Irish tunes for a private birthday party. I wasn’t sure that I could pull this off on my own, so, the first person that came to mind was Brian Walnicki. I knew that he arranged music and had experience playing Celtic music. He jumped on board and began making the potential set list for the party, and before I knew it we had 3 hours of music.
Mike Yanoski quickly became part of the plan because we knew that his percussion talents would be the icing on the cake. We were a big hit at the party and by the end of the night we knew that we needed to play again, together. Our big debut was opening for John and Mary at Sportsmens Tavern in Buffalo, NY. It was for that gig that we needed to come up with a name and hence ‘The Bards’ were born.”
The rest, as they say, is history!