Ryan Chartrand

Cal Poly graduate Michael Kelleher has taken his math degree to a whole new level. After a 10-year-long banking career, Kelleher is now touring the nation with his band Culann’s Hounds.

The group of friends started the band in 2000 after the loss of Kelleher’s first daughter to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Kelleher said he and his wife sat around a lot and listened and played music with some of their friends. “It turned into something cool,” he said.

The members all live in San Francisco and have toured in New York and Boston, but mostly stay on the West Coast.

With a reputation as the West Coast’s best traditional Irish ensemble, they describe themselves as having a top-flight album with precision playing and innovative arrangements.

Their Irish sounds, which have been influenced by rock, country and punk, are included on both of their albums – “Culann’s Hounds” and their 2006 release, “Year of the Dog.” Their sound includes acoustic guitar, fiddle, accordion, drum, bass and vocals.

Reviewers have called their new album tremendous and breathtaking.

Culann’s Hounds has five members, but only four will be playing tonight.

The band is also currently working with a MySpace group called The Royalties Group to help raise money for charities. One of their singles, that did not make it to “Year of the Dog,” is being released and all proceeds will be given to charity.

Kelleher, who graduated in 1990, won the International Mathematical Contest in Modeling two years in a row and is excited to come back to San Luis Obispo to see the changes and even meet with some of his professors and friends, he said.

“I think we have a very wide breadth of appeal. We appeal to older ladies, kids and punk rockers,” Kelleher said. “We thrill them, all of them, we put on a good show.”

Culann’s Hounds will play tonight at Frog and Peach Pub beginning around 9 p.m. Admission is $5.

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