GAELIC STORM Saturday, October 23, 2010 7:30pm Show, 6:30pm Doors. All Ages Show/GAGothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, Englewood COTickets: $21.25 Advance $26.25 DOS Tickets and information at: Gothic Theatre or call Celtic Events at 303-777-0502.(Note: It will be a homecoming of sorts for fiddler Jessie Burns when Gaelic Storm returns to Colorado this November 1st. The Suffolk, England native and newest member of Gaelic Storm, has made Colorado her home for the past 10 years)Read more…GAELIC STORM is likely the most-seen Irish-influenced band in the world, given their performance as the steerage band in the film ‘Titanic.’ Having never gone down with the ship, the band sails the globe the majority of the year, performing at festivals and packed concert halls where they can connect and hang-out with their fans.As many tens of thousands of enthusiastic record buyers and festival-goers know, the quintet plays high-energy, foot-stomping, rock-tinged Celtic/World music. Not only does their instrumentation include fiddle, accordion and pipes, but also the bouzouki, mandolin and an array of drums including the Malian djembe, the Middle Eastern doumbek, the Brazilian surdo, and the Cuban caj”n, as well as the Irish bodhr”n.GAELIC STORM newest release ‘Cabbage’, is “a party on a platter” and marks the band’s highest charting album on the Billboard 200, and their second #1 on the Billboard World Music Chart!Their sophisticated storytelling was highlighted by Blurt whom enthused ‘Cabbage’ had “some of the wittiest writing the band has ever put to tape, like the opening track “Raised on Black and Tans” and the goofy, though still cleaver “Space Race.” Their cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia” is surprisingly original considering how many bands have had their way with that song.”GAELIC STROM will perform on the Sailing Southern Ground Cruise with Zac Brown Band this fall. They have previously toured alongside artists including Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, and The Barenaked Ladies. Hear for yourself in Colorado October 23, and listen to Gaelic Storm’s USA Today playlist pick “Raised on Black & Tans” at http://www.myspace.com/gaelicstormGaelic Storm is: Patrick Murphy (Cork City, Ireland) Vocals, Accordion, Harmonica; Steve Twigger (Coventry, England), Vocals, Guitar, Bouzouki; Ryan Lacey on drums and world percussion; Jessie Burns on fiddle (Suffolk, England ” now living in Colorado) and Pete Purvis ( Merrickville, Ontari) Uillean pipes, tin whistle, daeger pipes and highland pipes (a Grade 1 piper who toured with award winning pipe band)s.
by Rodger HaraBy now the summer festival season is almost over from the first ones in Utah to the Long”s Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival, for many years the usual season-ending traditional festival in Colorado. The City of Edgewater and the Edgewater Arts Project are changing that by sponsoring the first annual Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater that will be the last traditional festival of the season on September 18th and 19th. Celebrating the autumn season and Colorado”s Celtic community, the Festival will be held in Citizen”s Park at 22nd and Benton and admission and parking will be free. Featuring a farmer”s market, pipers, Highland and Irish dancing, a grand list of local bands, food, the Renaissance Scots, Flyball Dog Races and fermented spirits, the Festival will provide a fun time for the whole family Fresh vegetables harvested from local farms will be offered at the farmer”s market along with freshly-baked soda bread from the Irish Bread Company and other delectable food offerings. Artwork by local artists like the wood turnings and portraits of Colin Cunningham, glass art from Michael and Susan Penfold”s Woodland Glass Arts Studio and craftwork from the shops of Colorado craftspersons such as Greeley”s Whistle and Drum will also be available. In addition, Celtic merchandise will be available from local merchants including The Celtic Broker, The Emporium, Gilded Dragon Gifts and BTS Chocolate Honey.Pipers and Highland dancers from the award-winning Colorado Youth Pipe Band will be featured throughout the day on the dance stage along with dancers from the Heritage Irish Youth Dancers. Colcannon and The Indulgers headline the local bands that will be appearing on the Main Stage both days. Other bands include Stone Walls, Orion”s Bow, Skean Dubh, C”ol C”ili, Gobs O”Phun, Indigent Row and Empty Pockets. The Renaissance Scots Living History Association (better known as the RenScots) are a group of re-enactors whose goal is to recreate the look, feel, sound (and according to their website, occasionally the odor) of the Scottish Highlands in the time before the Battle of Culloden in 1740. Their “Living History” presentation of swordfighting, weaving and black-smithing by members in full costume adds a unique experience for Festival attendees.And the Flyball Dog Races have to be seen to be believed (and enjoyed!). Dogs of all sizes “fly” down parallel courses, jump over hurdles (the height of which is determined by the shortest of the 4 dogs on each team), trigger the release of a tennis ball from a box then race back down the course over the hurdles to their trainers. (The box is reloaded with a new tennis ball for each dog.) The start/finish line has an infrared light that is triggered by each dog passing through it and the winner of a race is the team that finishes first without error (or the fewer errors). Flyball Dog Racing is an international sport (who knew?) with tournaments across North America all year. The races are great, noisy family fun.Volunteer opportunities to help make the Festival a success remain available. Information about the Festival, the bands and other groups appearing and a volunteer registration form can be found at www.celticharvestfestivaledgewater.com
The hills will be alive with the sound of pipersSeptember 9-12 with the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival at the Fairgrounds and other venues in Estes Park, COSome of the bands on stage will include Mythica, Alex Beaton, The Brigadoons, Rathkeltair, Albannach, Prickly Pair and the Cactus Chorale, Lough Carron, Eddie Devine, The Tartan TerrorsHighland Dance and Pipe Band Competitions, Irish Dance, Scottish Athletics, Tattoo, Country Dance, workshops, seminars and story-telling, clan tents, lots of merchandise, dogs of the British Isles, military heritage, Guinness and full contact jousting.Ticket prices vary by day and by event. Check the websitewww.scotfest.com
Cindy Reich interviews Celtic Woman”s aesthetic barefoot fiddler (published in September 2010 Celtic Connection) Ethereal women in gossamer dresses float around the stage, singing beautiful songs. That is the quintessential definition of the Celtic Woman experience. That is, until a blond firecracker explodes onto the stage, fiddle in motion, scattering all in her wake. Mairead Nesbitt is the match that ignites the Celtic Woman flame. She provides an astonishing visual picture, racing around the stage, stopping to jam with the back line of musicians, or dancing like a dervish while fiddling so furiously it”s a wonder the fiddle doesn”t burst into flames. While one may be mesmerized with her combination of dancing and fiddling, it would be entirely understandable if her fiddle chops were simplistic”however, her fiddle playing is superb, and no wonder. Mairead grew up in a very musical family”her sister, four brothers and both parents are musicians. Although classically trained, Mairead also embraces traditional music just as fiercely. Mairead is currently on tour with Celtic Woman in the USA and will be performing with them at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison on September 12. Mairead “spoke” with me via email from the road:I asked her which she prefers more”playing classical music or playing trad. She first came onto my radar as a traditional musician when she was playing with Donal Lunny”s show “Sult”Spirit Of the Music” in 1996 or so.. “I love playing both styles”, Mairead replied, “I started the violin and fiddle at 6 years of age, and split the two disciplines in my head.” (She even uses a different bow-hold for each style to keep them separate in her mind) “This was very important as I was determined to be as good as possible in both genres before using some elements of both in my style.”Dancing and playing the fiddle simultaneously is a common style of playing in Cape Breton. For many, the fiddler Natalie Mac Master may come to mind when one thinks of that method of playing.. I asked Mairead if she had to work at this style, which is not typical for Irish fiddle players, or did it come naturally?“I never thought or think consciously about my movements when I play. I think and feel the music first and foremost. It is a natural thing for me to move, as I feel my most free when I play. I never do formal steps like what is the tradition for the fiddle players in Cape Breton. I just move when I want and change whatever I want to change.”I was curious as to how Nesbitt kept it fresh and fun every night while on tour. Her energy is infectious and she truly projects joy in what she does each performance. So how does she keep it fresh?“I am very passionate about my playing and music in general,” responded Nesbitt. “I absolutely love what I do and it never gets tired for me. The audience every night is different, therefore the energy and performance is different every night. This keeps it fresh and spontaneous!”While Mairead has many and varied influences in her musical history, from Andy McGann to Itzhak Perlman, I asked her if there are any young up and comers who have caught her eye?“There are a lot of influences that have inspired me and lots of musicians, singer/songwriters and bands that have been very stimulating, for me as a musician. Of the established and famous players today, I”m a huge fan of David Garrett”I think he is a stunning player. Chris Thile is another amazing player and I find his talent astounding. There are also lots of really young players in Ireland making their mark as artists on a world stage. Karl Nesbitt, my brother has inspired me so much and composed the title track of my album, “Raining Up”. He is one of the most talented multi-instrumentalists in Ireland today. Tell us a little bit about “Raining Up”.“Raining Up” is my solo album”, Mairead replied. “I had a great time preparing and recording it and really need to do another album! This will definitely happen soon! “Raining Up” is the title track, composed by Karl, as I said”. “The title was inspired by seeing the evaporation of the water from the Atlantic Ocean from the Cliffs of Moher in Clare, Ireland. This is like seeing droplets of water going up to the sky, hence the title, “Raining Up”.“It was produced by Manus Lunny. I am very lucky to have some of the best musicians in Ireland and Scotland playing on it, counting also my mother, Kathleen, my sister Frances, and two of my brothers, Sean and Karl. Karl and I wrote some of the music as did Colm O”Foghlu, a young composer from Ireland. I just wanted to touch off my favorite styles of playing and was really happy that it was recognized by the Billboard World Music Charts!”Colorado”s altitude and climate provide many daunting challenges to both performers and their instruments. I asked Mairead if running around the stage at a mile high causes any difficulties for her? Also, how does her violin handle the dryness of our climate?“Well, it is tough going!” admitted Mairead. “But Red Rocks is such a beautiful place and it”s really humbling to look out at such an awesome place while playing on stage. It is my favorite place to play and we will be ending our tour there”. “The dry climate for the fiddle is really damaging and that”s combated with dampits which are snake-like sponges that go into the F-holes of the violin. This helps the wood of the violin not to dry out and prevents cracks that would be very damaging to the violin and to the sound”. “Instruments in general have to deal with different challenges now compared to what they would have had to deal with 300 years ago when my violin was made. Air conditioning is the main culprit and changed climatic conditions. I have to make sure damage is minimal or none at all.”What are you listening to right now on your iPod?“I”m listening to Miles Kennedy, Alter Bridge, Blackbird; Gabriel Kahane, Delusion Road, David Garrett, Rock Symphonies, Karl Nesbitt, Vista Point”. Who picks the tunes that you play? Does David (Downes, musical director of Celtic Woman) pick them or do you have input?“David Downes is our music director and composer of Celtic Woman. He picks the music and knows each one of us really well. We have a certain amount of input but the responsibility of actually picking the music rests with David. It is really great that David and Celtic Woman have been nominated for an Emmy for “Best Musical Direction”!”Finally, I asked Mairead if she ever steps down the road and sits in on a good session when she is home?“Yes, I do!” “There is a session that my brothers play in if I”m home and its fantastic to meet up with them and play with them!”.The extended “Songs from the Hear”t tour will end in Denver, Sunday September 12 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, featuring vocalists Chlo” Agnew, Lynn Hilary, Lisa Kelly, fiddler M”ir”ad Nesbitt and orchestra. Buy tickets at www.LIVENATION.com www.celticwoman.com
Music, Dance, and Song to enliven UPTOP Ghost town(photo: Dance Hall and Tavern)Spanish Peaks International Celtic Festival fonder Barbara Yule is excited about the opening day picnic/ceili at the La Veta Pass “Ghost Town”of UPTOP*. Enthusiastically she encourages folks to experience the September 24th event, “Join in the music making and dancing, meet old friends and make new ones. In short a perfect time to get into the weekend spirit!” SPIRIT is the operative word. You will find spirit at UPTOP. Whether the spirit is the happy mood of the gathering, spirits of past inhabitants still embodying the ghost town, or the vital principle or the inspiring animating force within living beings put forth by UPTOP owners Deb Lathrop and Sam Law. The love and passion for their project to restore UPTOP is evident when you tour the property with them and can appreciate all of the hard work put into clean-up and refurbishing, and the sense of joy and satisfaction they have in doing so.Residents of La Veta, the sisters purchased the property ten years ago and with help from friends and volunteers they have restored the chapel, and dance hall/tavern, and the original 1877 railroad station depot that now serves as a museum (and a backdrop for a fictional story the sisters are writing about a station manager and his 12 year old orphaned niece 1877-1881). At present they are working on the school house. They also rehabilitated one of the houses for themselves to live in. “We live here as much as we can,” enthused Deb, “Even in the winter!”They have made some improvements on personal note as well. They designed a meditation area with a “Peace Pole” honoring the storytelling traditions of UPTOP. The “Peace Pole” asks that “Peace Prevail on Earth” in Navajo, English, Spanish, and Gaelic (the sisters claim Irish, Scottish, and French heritage). There is also a “Wind-Wishes Tepee” dedicated to the memory of loved ones.Sam and Deb have done a magnificent job of bringing back life to a historical piece of Colorado, but when addressed on the topic they humbly put into context, “We”re just the latest chapter in the story of UPTOP.” If the mountains of La Veta pass could talk they would give glorious accounts of chapters of time before history was put to paper. For centuries It has been a point of passage from one valley to another by man and beast. In the valley to the east the twin peaks now called Spanish Peaks were thought to be a where mankind came to earth by early ancient Indians. Even the ancient Aztecs believed the area to hold a hidden treasure.Later day tribes including the Ute, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Navajo and Kiowa Comanche came to La Veta Pass to also hunt and gather medicinal herbs.In time immigrants from Europe came to the area as Explorers, trappers, miners and settlers. Soldiers used the pass to travel to Fort Garland (1858″1883)Kit Carson (grandson of an Ulsterman), American frontiersman who was the renowned guide of John C. Fr”mont’s western expeditions in the 1840s, an agent for the Ute (1853-1861), and a Union general in the Civil War, has crossed La Veta Pass. Mountain man and scout Thomas Tate Tobin (son of an Irish immigrant father and American Indian mother) who became famous for tracking and killing “The Bloody Espanosa Brothers”also frequented the pass. In 1877, General William Jackson Palmer and partner Dr. William Bell built the highestnarrow-gauge railroad in the world over La Veta Pass (as mentioned earlier the original depot still stands at UPTOP at 9,382 feet). Their company was the Denver Rio Grande Western Railroad Line (D&RGW), known as “The Rio Grande.”The original intention of General Palmer and Dr. Bell was to build a narrow gauge railroad system to connect Denver with Mexico City. The route was to pass over Raton Pass in what is now northern New Mexico. Feverish competitive competition construction provoked the 1877-1880 war over right of way with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. After a real gun slinging encounter between toughs from both sides, the Santa Fe won the right to Raton Pass. Subsequently, Palmer, Bell, and the D&RGW focused on exploiting the lucrative mining service opportunities to the west and ended up utilizing what is now La Veta Pass for its connecting links. Lumber, potatoes, and tourist also became important cargo crossing La Veta Pass. The train ride attracted thrill seekers and adventurers, like writer and native Indian rights activist Helen Hunt Jackson, who wrote a document about her experience describing it as “The Railroad above the sky”. In 1880 Chief Ouray of the Utes and his wife Chipeta and their party took the train over the Pass on their way to Washington DC (President Hayes called Ouray “the most intellectual man I’ve ever conversed with.”).In the late 1890″s the narrow-gauge trains became functionally obsolete to the wider standard”gauge trains that had more carrying capacity. Palmer was unsuccessful in his attempts to build a wider track. So he tore up the rails and built a new route through the town of La Veta that still is used today. Over 600 people took the farewell last train ride 1899. About the time that the narrow-gauge train chapter ended at UPTOP a thriving lumber business took off. Timbers were needed in the local coal mines for building “pit props” for underground tunnels. The abandoned railroad beds were utilized to move the timber with horse drawn carts. After Juan Antonio Trujillo built a saw mill at UPTOP the logging community grew to over 100 people. They built a chapel, school house, dance hall and tavern, and of course private homes. In the mid 1940″s the many of the local coal mines were closed down and the need for lumber ended. Just in time for the automobile era, The State of Colorado paved the road (old train track bed) through UPTOP and called it Highway 160. Adventuresome tourists crossing the pass kept the dance hall/tavern and a restaurant in business until 1962 when a new straighter and wider section of Hwy 160 was built by-passing UP TOP altogether. Now everyone drives the new La Veta Pass. Until Now! Bring your instruments, dancing shows, sing voices, picnic basket and camera and meet UPTOP September 24 to help write a new chapter. And if you”re afraid of ghosts don”t worry, Sam and Deb said all of the spirits UPTOP are friendly! UPTOP Come enjoy the”TRAIN MUSEUM in the original 1877 Depot; CHAPEL-BY-THE-WAYSIDE; TAVERN, take your photo behind the original S-curved bar; DANCE HALL-games, get snacks, see exhibits, visit gift shop; GLORIOUS VIEWS of the Spanish Peaks and Southern Rockies! DIRECTIONS:(*You won”t likely find UPTOP on a map as the name is a recent one. Prior to UPTOP the town did not have a name, or referred to as Veta pass)There are 2 turnoffs to UPTOP GHOST TOWN on Colorado Hwy 160:– turn at mile marker 276 — 15 min. east of Ft. Garland– turn at mile marker 281 — 15 min. west of La Veta & WalsenburgEnjoy the vistas as you drive up the original narrow-gauge railroad bedTour Season: July 10 – September 26 Hours: Sat-Sun 10:00am – 4:00pmAdmission: Ages 10 and above– $5.00 (Sept 24 picnic/ceil is free)To schedule a special event Fax: 719-742-3929Food/Lodging/Camping go to www.lavetacucharachamber.comFor more information about the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Festival go to www.CelticMusicFest.com or call 719-742-3003 or 719-746-2061.