Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


One man jug band headed to Memorial Union Friday

Artist who incorporates improvised instruments, Cajun culture to play free performance at Der Rathskeller
Kennedy Slater

Musician Boo Mullarky will take the stage at the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Union Friday, bringing along his eclectic set and unique musical style.

Mullarky is described on his Facebook account as “the amazing one-human jug band medicine show performing ragtime blues, old time, good time and Cajun tunes with foot percussion and guitars.”

For those unfamiliar with the term “jug band,” Mullarky said in an email statement to The Badger Herald jug bands in the 1920s created their distinguished sound by using traditional instruments, such as guitars and violins, while also incorporating homemade instruments.


“[They used] actual junk … like empty whiskey jugs (they would blow in them), washboards, kazoos, car horns, stove pipes, tin cans, pots, pans, random pieces of metal,” Mullarky said in the statement. “It was ‘ear catching music,’ and fun to watch too.”

Mullarky draws on these unique elements in his performances using his own homemade instruments. He uses a suitcase as a bass drum, a washboard fitted with a foot pedal and a kazoo throughout his performances.

He described his personal style of music as early 20th century blues, ragtime, Cajun and country.

“In short, I’m a one-human jug band who likes to throw in a few Cajun tunes … oh, and a sea shanty here and there,” Mullarky said.

Though Madison usually falls short of in quantity of jug band music, Cajun tunes or sea shanties, Mullarky has felt a stronger appreciation for this type of music since moving to the Midwest.

Since jug band and Cajun music wasn’t prevalent in Madison, Mullarky began to appreciate it more. He realized that if he wanted to hear it, he’d have to play it himself.

Madison Arts administrator speaks on arts commission’s 50th anniversary

Mullarky said growing up in southern Texas and southern Louisiana in a Cajun household played a big part in his exposure to his current musical style.

Mullarky said he’s been playing guitar since third grade and he’s always been interested in music. He incorporated the jug band style to his music after living in New Orleans.

“I heard the street players there playing that stuff and using a mix of horns, guitars and junk,” Mullarky said. “I just fell in love with it there. I felt like it was music that needed no language translation … you could play it anywhere in the world, it seemed.”

Mullarky’s performances encapsulate this feeling of universal language.

Ahan brings a flavorful Asian-inspired culinary experience

According to Mullarky, one of his favorite parts of performing is experimenting with rhythm and singing from the heart. He gave a preview as to what an audience can expect from one of his shows.

“Refreshed exuberance,” Mullarky said. “That’s what I feel every time I see a jug-style band perform. It just feels like a good time. But also carries with it the enough of the bluesy anguish of life to be real … and possibly offer some to the best medicine for whatever may ail ya.”

Mullarky’s free performance will take place in Der Rathskeller at Memorial Union this Friday at 4 p.m.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *