Jessie Burns photo credit Wil Bryington

Gaelic Storm will bring their “whirlwind ruckus” (Village Voice) to Denver Friday October 5th for another raucous, crowd-pleasing performance at the Gothic Theatre There will be an added level of energy in the house as local hero Jessie Burns plays the fiddle for the last time in Colorado. Jessie will return to her adopted home of Boulder where she will work on her solo CD project – And new baby!

The Celtic Connection interviewed Jessie Burns as she traveled toward Colorado with Gaelic Storm to do her last ‘hometown’ concert. She reflected on her time with the band and looking toward exciting times ahead.

Times must be bitter sweet for you Jessie – after 5 and a half years fiddling with Gaelic Storm, one of the most successful bands today in World music, you’re about to leave the band and take time off to have your first baby in December. How are you handling these big life changes?

I remember when I joined the band and I had no idea what lay ahead or how I would handle it. It’s just the same now – uncharted territory lays ahead. I’m so grateful for the almost 6 years I’ve had with the band – what a wild ride its been and though I’m kind of broken hearted to leave, it is for a wonderful reason! I’m taking things one day at a time and pouring extra energy into the shows, and despite getting rounder each day, I’m enjoying it all even more than ever before. I have 4 band brothers now who I know are lifelong friends- I feel so lucky and am sure that we’ll work together again one of these days in some capacity. I’m finding arranging my teaching schedule and working on my solo album is helping me to have a focus for once touring ends too.

Gaelic Storm travel around 220 days a year. That must be exhausting – do you just get in a rhythm? Ever forget what city you were playing in?

We do get into a rhythm – we load onto the van by 10 am, drive, stop for food at 1, load in at the venue at 3, soundcheck at 5, have food at 6, play the show around 8, then meet fans, pack up, drive, get to the hotel around 1am, wind down and sleep by around 3 am and do the same thing the next day. To many people this sounds like torture, but you adapt and it becomes so normal. We are familiar with cities all over the country. We aim for certain restaurants, meet up with old friends, explore cool areas and make the most of the opportunity to travel over this vast land. The pace of constant change can get confusing though. Once we drove to Bloomington, IL for a gig and posted our whereabouts on the band Facebook page. Within minutes, a fan wrote “Check your schedule: I think you’re supposed to be in Bloomington, IN!” He was right, so we hightailed it through two States and made it in time for the gig. I think that’s the only time that’s happened!

What will you miss most about touring?

It’s a long list! I love challenge of performing and making people happy through music, seeing the world, playing in post-festival sessions with world class musicians and forging strong friendships with other touring musicians from all over the world. Without a doubt what I’ll miss the most is the guys because we’re basically like a family at this point. Since three of us are from Ireland and England, and are away from our homelands, we have that cultural bond too. It’s not easy traveling 220 days a year, separated from your family and we really support each other through all the ups and downs and life changes. The highs are really high, and the lows are really low, but no matter what one of us is facing on a personal level, we all support each other and step up to make sure the show doesn’t suffer – and to regularly experience that sense of camaraderie is wonderful.

In 2007, after only 7 months with Gaelic Storm, you told the Celtic Connection that the Milwaukee Irish Fest was your most memorable performance to date. Now, 5 years later and tours around the world, what are some of your most memorable gigs?

My standout favorite gig ever was in Brittany, France in 2011. We stayed in a crumbling Norman castle outside of the town of Paimpol with Carlos Nunez and some other really fun musicians and made great friends with the staff there who were like a French cast of Faulty Towers ( a famous English comedy show set in a ramshackle hotel). I had a hilarious time resurrecting my French and translating for the band. The festival had Sinead O’Connor, The Waterboys, Gaelic Storm, Kila and Carlos Nunez and lots of Breton bands too. The setting was spectacular, taking place next to a stunning harbor, crammed full of beautifully decorated boats which people had sailed over in for the weekend from all over Europe. Breton dress was the clothing of choice, so lots of red/pink caps and pants, striped sailing shirts and fisherman’s smocks adorned the partiers who would hop from boat to boat having BBQs, playing music and drinking wine. Huge bubbling vats of octopus, smoking grills full of sardines and highly alcoholic cider stands lined the harbor’s edge. At night there was traditional Breton dancing to a live band under the stars, and the locals had a great time laughing at my efforts to dance! It was the trip of a lifetime.
Though not gigs, three of the most memorable days involved album releases. We made “What’s the Rumpus”, “Cabbage” and most recently, “Chicken Boxer” in the last five and a half years. Each of those albums has our combined blood, sweat and tears on it and involved so much work. When each of them reached and stayed for a few weeks at #1 on the Billboard World Music Charts, we all felt such a sense of achievement and joy. I particularly remember that with “What’s the Rumpus” our first ever #1. We were driving down a mountain side in NC, and our manager called up and screamed on speakerphone “you’re number one, number one!” for us all to hear. We were absolutely ecstatic and we bought the audience champagne that night to celebrate!

Tell us about your husband Eric, he is a musician too?

My husband is local bass player Eric Thorin, who teaches, produces and tours with multiple bands internationally. We met 14 years ago in Steamboat when I sat in with the Tony Furtado Band, his gig at the time, and have been friends ever since. He is actually the bassist on our latest album, Chicken Boxer, and he really sounds great on it. Since we both travel so much, the “ships passing” saying definitely applies to us. We’re certainly looking forward to seeing more of each other!

You are bringing out a solo CD in the next six months or so.
Will it have original material? What is the general mix of tunes and songs? Who will perform with you on the album?

Though it still needs a name, my solo album is getting close to completion after 4 years of working on it in brief breaks between tours. I really enjoy playing different styles of fiddle music so in amongst Irish influenced music, there are lots of original tunes as well as Old Time and New Acoustic music. The most rewarding part of the process has been collaborating with some of my favorite musicians, and there’s lovely playing from Sean Sutherland (The Wayfarers), Jon Sousa, Brad Murphy, Rich Zimmerman, Jason Dilg, Erin Youngberg, Margot Krimmel and Eric Thorin and there might be more by the time I’m finished! I hope to have it out in the world in the Spring and it will be available on CD Baby, at shows and through my website. Now I have to think of baby names AND an album name!

You will also be teaching fiddle lessons this coming year. Are you setting up your own program or will you teach through an existing school?

Before Gaelic Storm, I had a really busy teaching practice which I’m re-starting once I’m off the road in mid October. I’ll have a private practice at first and then hope to teach additionally in connection with some local schools. Irish music is such accessible, social music that in no time at all, first time fiddlers can be playing tunes they recognize and before they know it, they’ve caught the fiddling bug! For advanced players, there’s no limit to the level they can reach. The technicalities of ornaments, style and bowings can be taken so far – and present a fabulous challenge! I love teaching and I’m really looking forward to connecting with students again.

I’ll bet you that the Sunday Irish sessions folks at Conor O’Neill’s in Boulder are excited to have you back in town?

I can’t speak for them, but I’m so excited to re-integrate back into the wonderful music community we have here. There’s nothing like a glass of cider and playing joyful music with friends on a cold winter night to put the world to rights!

You’re originally from England, will you have any excited family members coming to Colorado to see the new baby over the holidays?

My Mum is heading this way for a long stay over the holidays, for much needed baby help and to switch out the English holiday drizzle for our amazing winter climate! My sister in London just had her first baby too, so I’m planning on heading over to England in the Spring to introduce the cousins and spend time with my huge family over there.

Congratulations on all of your accomplishments with Gaelic Storm and of course on your new baby. Okay, boy or girl?

Thank you so much! It’s been quite the adventure and of course, a totally new one lies ahead now. We chose to have a surprise with the gender so bets are on- we did check and it is one OR the other (phew). It stuck its tongue out at us a few times during one scan (which we caught on camera) and since it kicks and squirms throughout every Gaelic Storm performance , I think Eric and I will have our hands very full!

An Evening with Gaelic Storm
Friday October 5th, 7:30pm Show, 6:30pm Doors.
All Ages Show (Under 16 must be accompanied by parent w/ticket)/GA
Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, Englewood CO
Tickets: $20.00 Advance $25.00 DOS
Advance tickets at Denver Folklore Center, Kolacny Music, and
at: or call 303-777-0502

September 12 CC Cover large

Cindy Reich caught up with Máirtin last month on one of his brief stops home while he washed clothes and they had a live chat on ‘The Long Acre,’ Cindy’s radio show on KRFC

CR—You have visited Colorado before with the Fuchsia Band, and will be in attendance this fall at the Spanish Peaks Celtic Festival. I understand you will be teaching a storytelling workshop there.

MdC—That’s right! They’re figuring out how many of my talents they’re going to make use of while I’m there, so I’ll be doing a good bit of storytelling. I was just down at the Catskills Irish Arts week, trying to instruct the people in my class how to be a storyteller. It’s great to be passing on the tradition—at least the bit I know, anyway! I was also just at the Augusta Irish Arts week in West Virginia as well, and after Spanish Peaks I’ll be at the O’Flaherty retreat in Dallas, Texas. Tis everywhere I’m going!

CR—Has anyone made you a decent cup of tea lately? Cause God knows, you like a well made cup of tea!

MdC—You know, I had a great cup of tea one day in New York! There is sort of a subsection of Queens, on the border of Sunnyside and Woodside. There’s a bar there—mostly bar—at 49th and Stillman and they have Barry’s Tea there! And not only that, they have nice milk—and a kettle!! Donnie will give you a grand boiled egg and a fine cup of tea wherever you’re at there!

CR—Tell us a bit about your new project that you’ve got up on the Kickstarter website? Because we just played “The Rose Of Coberg Street” off your album, “From Cork With Love” and you are now going to produce a DVD about all of the places on the album—to bring it to life so to speak? (Kickstarter is a website for artists to raise funds for projects—there is a fixed time frame and fixed amount. Anyone can contribute. If the funds aren’t raised by the deadline, no one pays. For more information:

MdC—I’ve been meaning to do this for a very long time. For any artist, it’s hard to pull the funds together, but I couldn’t hold the dream back any longer. So, someone said, “Why don’t you do Kickstarter?” and I put my faith in the people and they’re coming back strong. It’s going to cost $15,000 to make it. I’m going to take people via the DVD around the places—much like “The Rose Of Coberg Street”. I’ll bring you down to Coberg Street, show you what’s there now—tell you about what was there before… Show you the romantic spots of Cork—and some not so romantic spots! We’ll bring you along the river and show you where Johnny went rowing down to Blackrock, and the fine walkways down on the marina where people fell in love long ago—where the whole courting process went slowly in the days before you found yourself at O’Riordan’s drunk next to your partner for the next couple of years! I’ve got the cameraman and I’ve got Jimmy Crowley and John Spillane signed up to be a part of it and talk about the songs they gave to the album. John’s going to tell us about Prince’s Street, for example. The main thing we want to do with this project is to let everyone know that Cork is the center of the universe!!

CR—You know, I think that the Spanish Peaks Celtic Festival is the best Celtic music festival in Colorado by a mile. It reminds me a lot of Mairtin Hayes’ “Masters Of Tradition” Festival in Bantry. In an even more beautiful location. So you will find out for yourself at the end of the month, but it’s a wonderful, wonderful festival. Now in your storytelling workshop, do you teach people the basics of telling a story and then have them tell stories?

MdC—I try to show people what a story is—we look at urban legends as well as ancient tales from the Ulster Cycle and the Fenian Cycle. Those are some of the things we will focus on in the workshop. I then go into the presentation of it. The “mask” of the storyteller. Then if I’m allowed, I might give them a story and then have them repeat it back and then we’d all critique it. Critique is the hardest part of storytelling and something the modern world isn’t open to, so trying to get that is a big thing. With that, I also give them a few stories to go home with as well.

CR—What is it about Cork? It seems many of the most prolific storytellers and songwriters for that matter, seem to come from Cork. What’s that all about?

MdC—I dunno—It is a place where people are very positive about each other when they get a chance to get out and do something. We’ve always had great artists… MicroDisney, Rory Gallagher, John Spillane, Ger Wolfe—The Fuchsia Band is joining that band of merry men traveling around the world.. there’s a massive crowd coming out of Cork all the time, you know? I don’t know what it is—we’ve all just had our “party piece” which is part of the tradition. By the way, I think Pat (McCullough) the man of wonder and mystery might have me teaching dancing to the locals at the Spanish Peak Celtic Festival!

CR—You’d better get your ghost stories together as well, for the first afternoon of the festival, there is a ceili at a real ghost town called “Up Top” in an old dance hall. There will be dancing and music and it is a mighty start to the festival!

MdC—Shall I bring my pan and look for a bit of gold?

CR—You might—maybe you’ll make enough to pay for the trip—there’s gold in them thar hills, or so they say. Now, which song would you like us to go out on from “Cork With Love”?

MdC—I’d say “Johnny Go Boating”, would be a really romantic one, of days of old, in Cork when there wasn’t as many bridges and people used to have to use the boatmen to go across the river, because Cork is an island itself. It was once known as “The Venice of The West” in the days before we had the 29 bridges we have now over the River Lee. The boatmen used to tie up on Sundays, as there was no real work and people used to rent them for a short while and row down to Blackrock in a very romantic way. It’s a lovely song by Gus McLoughlin about two old lovers trying to rekindle that magic they had when they rode down to Blackrock long ago.

You can check out Mairtin de Colgan’s music at his website:
Join Máirtin de Coagin for Song, Dance, and Stories at Spanish Peaks

Máirtin de Coagin will possibly be the hardest working man in show business over
the Spanish Peaks weekend September 27-30. Here are some of the activities that you can do with him:
Thursday 12:00 pm Lunch at The Dog Bar in CUCHARA; 1:00 – 2:30pm Cuchara Ceili with set dancing in the street 5:00- 6:30pm
Friday 10:00 – 11:30 Set dance workshop in Walsenburg at Museum of Friends for HS students & participants (recorded music or Michael Harrison and Janine Redmond will play music for the wkshp); 12:00 – 2:45pm Opening picnic & ceili at UPTOP; 3:15pm Irish set dancing – final run-through at Museum of Friends; WALSENBURG 3:45 – 5:30pm Irish Ceili 6TH Street Concert led by Willson and McKee WALSENBURG; 10:00pm “The Guid Craig Club” Open to anyone who “Tells a story, sings a song or plays a tune DEERPRINT WINE, LA VETA
Saturday 10:15 – 11:15 am Irish Set dancing workshop 4H , La Veta 1:00 – 3:00 pm Matinee Concert “Top of the Irish performs & leads set dancing 4-H LA VETA
10:00 pm If anyone game -set dance calling in La Veta Inn
Sunday 9:00 – 10:00am Talk/song: “Blarney, Brown Bread and Barry’s Tea” LA VETA INN,Songs, Stories from Cork served with Irish bread and tea; 11:15am – 12:15pm Singing for Fun, Songs from Cork 1889 INN, LA VETA; 1:00 -2:15 pm Irish Lunch COMMUNITY CENTRE, LA VETA: 2:30 pm Irish Hooley Concert and set dancing to follow LV High School
Register Now at or call 719-742-5410

Delilah's Revenge b&w

by Rodger Hara

Colorado’s newest Celtic Festival continues to honor one of its original goals of featuring only local bands. Now in its third year, the Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater is offering a place on its stage to one of Colorado’s newest and fastest rising Celtic bands, Delilah’s Revenge.

This four piece Boulder-based purveyor of sounds they call “Celtic folk with a punk edge” has only been together since November 2011 and in that short time has won spots on the stages of the Colorado Irish Festival, Dickens Opera House, Cheyenne Depot’s Celtic Musical Arts Festival, People’s Fair, Oktoberfest and won a semi-finalist spot in the Colorado Irish Festival’s Battle of the Bands this spring. In addition, they have opened for the San Diego-based band Lexington Field at Scruffy Murphy’s and were recently nominated as Band of the Month on the Celtic/Folk/Punk Blog.

All four came to Colorado from other states; Justin Lancaster, lead guitar, accordion, whistle and back-up vocals and Tom Reed, bass, harmonica and lead vocals are childhood friends from Connecticut who moved to Boulder together several years ago on the basis of an HGTV show that featured dream homes in Boulder with an overview of the city. Karen Lauffer, fiddle, viola and cello is originally from Baltimore and drummer Giuseppe Cortese from Wisconsin.

In what is rapidly becoming the vehicle of choice for putting a band together, Karen and Giuseppe responded to a Craig’s List ad and the band was formed. The name came from an idea Justin had for a song about an alternate telling of the story of Samson and Delilah; development of the song didn’t work but the name for the band did.

Karen moved to Boulder to pursue a graduate music degree in violin and is the only full-time musician, teaching violin in Arvada when not playing with the band. Giuseppe is a former drummer with a heavy metal band who studied at the University of Minnesota and Harvard and is working on his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Colorado. Justin has a degree in Physics and Tom is a software engineer for a cable television company.

All are in their early twenties and in spite of or perhaps because of their diverse backgrounds, there is a musical chemistry that works exceedingly well for them. Justin’s grandmother was born in Ireland, Tom has Welsh blood and the two discovered Irish music in Connecticut. Karen, a classically trained violinist who had played with the York, PA symphony orchestra, was asked to fill in with an Irish band and was hooked.

Influenced by the Pogues, Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, the band uses acoustic guitars rather than electric to honor traditional sounds – but with the earlier-referenced punk edge – and a full drum kit. The band plays a grand mixture of cover and original songs with organic arrangements in which all participate.

Each has learned more about music than they knew before they began playing together as well as much about themselves, teamwork and communication. For Karen, the music the band makes is liberating and reminds her of her love of music; for Justin, it is a means to making his ideas real and for Tom, it has changed his outlook on life and how he regards music and approaches goals.

Delilah’s Revenge can be found on YouTube and Facebook and can be seen and heard at the Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater at 5 PM on Saturday September 15 where you can buy a copy of their first CD. Catch them now so you can say you heard them when…

Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater is September 15-16 at Citizens Park, Edgewater, CO W/Colcannon, Delallah-Bartsch Duo, Mulligan Stew, Deb & the Pariahs, Delilah’s Revenge, The Indulgers, Beth Gadbaw & Margot Krimmel, Jon Sousa & Adam Agee, The Wicked Shehogues Ren Scots, Flyball Dogs and Irish and Highland dancing, pipers, farmers market, clan tents, food and fun, lots of merchandise from local artists, merchants and vendors.
Free Info at:

September 12 CC INCO-cropped

Irish Network Colorado (INCO) kicked off the first community service program at Rocky Mountain PBS on August 19th in Denver. The non-profit, public television station provides free programming to the residents of Colorado encouraging them to discover provocative and inspiring local, national and international programming. Twelve INCO members staffed the phone banks during a donation drive that occurred during a live broadcast featuring a performance from Clannad, an Irish folk rock group. Clannad features new age and Celtic sounds while incorporating other jazz elements to produce a unique sound that has garnered them a large following. The program was a prelude to a Denver concert on October 23rd at the Paramount Theater and will be replayed several times over the next six weeks.

It was evident that all INCO members enjoyed themselves while coming together to help a great organization such as RMPBS. Several brand new members sat side-by-side with INCO veterans and shared a laugh or two between broadcasts. “As a new member, I was happy to find such a positive and welcoming group at the PBS pledge drive,” said Carly Bacon. “I am very much looking forward to participating in upcoming events and meeting the rest of the INCO members.”

In addition to the PBS event in August, members of the Colorado Rapids made a surprise visit to INCO’s Happy Hour on August 8th at Scruffy Murphy’s Irish Pub. President Tim Hinchey, Marketing VP Jeff Johnson and Assistant Coach Paul Caffrey all mingled with INCO members and new-members alike. Caffrey, a Dubliner, chatted with attendees about his football career, his path to Denver and the strategies of the Rapids season going forward. Although he couldn’t reveal extensive details about the season, he did chat about the positives they have seen this season with some young players as well as challenges faced due to injury. Although the season isn’t going as they have hoped, the Rapids coaches and front office were very transparent about the state of the club, where it’s going and how they want to get it there. It was a pleasant surprise to welcome them and INCO members were happy to accommodate such wonderful company.

Upcoming Events:

Discovery Lunch: September 21: 11:30-1:00 p.m. Strings Restaurant
Caoimhin Mac Gill Mhin and Dr. Francis Costello will speak on An Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge, the fund set up to help develop Irish language capital projects within the expanding Irish-language sector. The emphasis is on the development needs of the Irish language in Northern Ireland and they will speak on the program, its successes, challenges and goals. What a great topic!

Register today at

longs peak ww1crop

The Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival’s Tattoo Estes is a unique military parade ground concert. This years program will commemorate our grand fathers who were in WW1and other events between 1910-1920, also there was 400,000 Irishman that fought in that war and as they were veterans of WW1 and we were said to have been the most successful combatants during the revolution This was at the same time Estes Park was being incorporated, Rocky Mountain National Park was dedicated, and The Stanley Hotel and the Fall River Road was being constructed and the Titanic was sunk (a special segment in this years Tattoo Estes remembers the Irish lost in this tragedy).

The 1st Marine Division Band and the 4th Infantry Army Bands will perform with the US Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team, The Halifax WW1 re enactors and the Texas Camel Corps is Lawrence of Arabia.

To complete the performance team two of Scotland’s best championship pipe bands,
The Scottish Power and The Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Bands will be joined by The Ft. Collins & The Centennial State Pipe Bands and the World Championship Irish Dancers from Colorado Springs.

The tradition of Tattoo Estes is modern day version of an historical event from the 1700
hundreds when the British Armies were deployed in Belgium and France. On quiet days the soldiers would leave camp and go into the villages and of course gather at the bars.
At a designated time the commanding officer would send an NCO with a piper or a drummer, order the men out of the bars, and demand that the bar keepers shut off the beer taps (tap too). The soldiers were marched back to camp then ordered to perform a military drill for the commanding officer. Over time this event has become TATTOO.

This years Tattoo Estes will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30 pm
September 6,7,8 at the Stanley Park Fairgrounds in Estes Park, Colorado.
Tickets are $25.00 at the gate, however it’s best to reserve your ticket at or
970 586 6308.

Kevin McNicholas-zoo web

Kevin McNicholas, President and CEO of Denver based KM Concessions /Service Systems Associates, Inc (KMSSA) is being awarded the AZA (Association of Zoos) and Aquariums Wendy Fisher Award for Professional Excellence on Sept. 12, 2012 in Phoenix . This prestigious award has only been given out twice before and is the highest honor award for professional excellence in his field as a concessionaire. He was nominated by Barbara Baker of the Pittsburg Zoo and endorsed by all the other zoo directors.
Denver Zoo President and CEO Craig Piper, said in his supporting nomination, “Kevin is truly an integral part of the Denver Zoo family. Kevin is determined to help others improve their lives as long as they commit to work hard, take care of family and serve their community. As a fitting testimony to his service to others, Kevin was awarded the Daniel Ritchie Ethics in Business Award, one of Colorado’s highest. I am honored to nominate Kevin for this prestigious national award for his dedication to zoos and aquarium commercial service.”
KMSSA is in 36 venues (zoos, aquariums, museums, stock show, etc) around the country. Kevin and KMSSA give a high percentage of their sales to venues and give extra help through professional operations; doing heavy investments in equipment, remodeling, and food for their fundraisers.
. In 2004, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums established the Wendy Fisher Award for Professional Excellence to honor those Association of Zoos and Aquariums Commercial Members who have demonstrated outstanding character, leadership, professional excellence and distinguished service to AZA and fellow Commercial Members. The award is named for its first recipient, Wendy Fisher. Only one recipient can be honored in any given year, and since the award criteria are lofty, it is anticipated that the award will not be given every year. Among the qualifications include impeccable character and a distinguished record of honorable service to AZA throughout his or her career; he or she must be strongly committed to education, conservation, science, recreation, and the welfare of animals.

“We are very excited about this award,” said wife and business partner Mary McNicholas, “Kevin has been selling popcorn and hotdogs for 43 years now and helping out many zoos!”
Stephen D. Minnis, president of Benedictine College would not be surprised of the most recent McNicholas honor as he says, “Kevin (class of ’60) and Mary have lived their lives and run their businesses with integrity and have been shining examples of character, ethics and respect for others, in both their business and personal lives,”
The list of donations to community projects from McNicholas/KMSSA is very long and goes far beyond AZA. A priority is making sure students get scholarship help to further their education. “In honor of Kevin our company is starting a TKM Foundation
which will have its kick off on October 26th at the new History Colorado Center,” said Mary, “ The focus of the foundation is on the education needs of young people in offering them scholarships and preparing them to enter the workforce with character, ethics and leadership skills.” Sean McNicholas and Time Brantley are vice presidents of KMSSA and they are heading up this new foundation.
For more information on kmssa go to

Ruth Chaikin cliff

Ruth Chaikin, who has played recorder, mandolin and penny whistle with Kindred Spirits, Orion’s Bow and the Molly Magpies and is a regular fixture at the Sunday afternoon music sessions at the Irish Snug and elsewhere, had surgery for pancreatic cancer on September 10th. A procedure that should have taken 6 hours wound up taking 12 hours and resulted in her being placed into a medically induced coma and intensive care. She is now out of the coma and remains in the intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Cheryl Ward and some of Ruth’s friends and local Celtic musicians are organizing a silent auction to raise funds to help her expenses. Eron Johnson will host a Halloween Party (costumes encouraged!) in his architectural antiques warehouse at 389 S. Lipan St. in Denver at 7 PM on Saturday October 27 where the silent auction will be held along with a BYOB pot luck and session.
There are many ways you can help: Donate for the silent auctions, i.e. hand-made art work, services, gift certificates, time in a ski-condo, music lessons, anything that you can think of to donate that has value; Attend the party/auction and bid on items; Donate directly with check/cash.
If you would like to help in anyway contact Cheryl at 303-517-5734. Email is

Ruth set a site up on CaringBridge so you can keep up with her and send her your thoughts and prayers.

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(Advance Discounts Available for Limited Time)

Over the centuries, the famous Spanish Peaks in Huerfano County, Colorado, have been welcome landmarks to Native American tribes, explorers, immigrants traveling the Santa Fe Trail. Over the last week of September, the peaks, also known as Huajatolla (pronounced Wa-ha-toy-a, Ute translates as “Breasts of the Earth”) will be the beacon guiding Celtic music lovers to one of the most unique events of its kind, the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival.

“Spanish Peaks,” as the Fest is referred to by many, is a retreat as much as it is a festival.
Folks come from near and far to learn and celebrate the living traditions of Celtic music, dance, singing and storytelling. Some come from great distances to take part in the festival and also explore some of beauty and history of Huerfano County.
The festival is designed for all levels of interest and all budgets. You will find the casually interested taking advantage of free entry level workshops to seasoned professionals who want to learn a new tune or nuance, and network and play in sessions with other world class players.

“Spanish Peaks” is unique in a number of ways. You won’t find the tell-tale field full of tents that defines most festivals. The event, September 27-30, is an Huerfano county wide festival that includes the four major areas of population, Cuchara, La Veta, Walsenburg, and Gardener. The artisan town of La Veta is the center of the festival workshops and houses the fest’s office and store. Concerts and other activities are held throughout the 4 towns, and the annual Harp Retreat will again be held in Walsenburg. Walsenburg will also be the site of a new offering this year, a free early evening street concert and dance hosted by Willson and McKee. It will end in time for you to enjoy dinner and get over to the much anticipated Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill (and friends) concert at the Fox Theater a couple blocks away. FullSet (and friends), a young award winning band from Ireland making their first Colorado visit will headline at the Fox Theater on Saturday night.

One of the most unusual events offered at “Spanish Peaks” is the free Friday noon Ceili/Ceilidh (Kay-Lee, both spellings)/picnic at the awesome “UPTop” Ghost Town off old La Veta Pass. This relatively new event is becoming an increasingly popular event for locals and out-of-towners alike as they play, sing, and dance at the old abandon saloon.
By popular demand there will be more dancing this year as Irish Set dancing (all ages/partner dancing) is introduced to the fest by multi-talented Mairtin de Cogain, who besides singing and telling stories, teaches and calls the exciting dance form.
Players who want to learn “The Lift” to play for dancers will have the opportunity to take workshops to learn and hone their skills.
The night owls will enjoy post night concert music sessions, and new night storytelling and set dancing.
Time to get excited about this special event and get in on “early bird” discounts while they last at or links at

Willson & McKee PR harp etc

When the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival comes to Huerfano County September 27-30 not all the performers will be visiting guests with foreign accents. Locals will be familiar with Walsenburg residents Kim McKee and Ken Willson who make up the professional touring duo of Willson and McKee. Kim, a Colorado native, and husband Ken, will perform, teach, and host at this year’s event. Pat McCullough, Fest AD, enthusiastically said, “One of our goals for Spanish Peaks fest is to include some of our fine regional talent along with the imported talent from around the world. The fact that we have Wilson & McKee living right here in Huerfano County ready, willing, and able to help, is an embarrassment of riches!’

To say Willson & McKee are workhorses in the traditional arts scene is an understatement. They have been touring for over 20 years, recorded 9 albums,
and have reached out to many underserved schools and educational programs in 10 States. Last year alone they spent 325 days on the road, reaching over 15,000 students. Over the years they have also produced concert series, festivals, workshops, and arts conferences.
“We are simply passionate about what we do,” said Kim (Winner of the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in 2002, and four time award winner at the Milwaukee Irish Festival songwriting contest). “We’ve traveled to Ireland and Scotland to study with traditional players and storytellers, then bring it home and make it our own. With that said, you’ll not hear a fake accent or a butchered Gaelic word from us, ever! We are ‘western Americans’ doing our own work.” Showing respect to the traditional players she added, “We look up to the brilliant performers, and the ‘natives’ of the culture, but we also give it honor by integrating all the folklore we bring back into our original work.”
Willson & McKee describe themselves as “Two Voices with guitars, bouzouki, harp, accordion, dulcimers, stories, dances and FUN!” They will perform a number of times throughout the fest. The rest of the time they will check out workshops (Kim has scheduled some time at the Harp Retreat) and meet up with friends. And if help is needed they’ll come running, said Kim, “We do love this festival and are totally committed!”

Aug 042012
September 12 CC Ms Cave

By Rodger Hara

The internet makes it possible for any band anywhere to be heard around the world at virtually any time. There is an old-fashioned comfort that can be found in the immediacy and intimacy of radio broadcasts that may be preserved and listened to again but can only be heard live once. Boulder station KBCO and its Studio C shows come most readily to mind for that kind of magic – you can hear it live if you live in radio range or on the net if you tune in. Rarely, however, does a local band get a chance to be heard in another country!

In July, several local bands were given an opportunity to be heard on Scottish radio by Madelaine Cave (, a former resident of Boulder and Broomfield who now lives in Haddington, a town about 20 miles east of Edinburgh. Madelaine has her own weekly show “East Coast Folk” on community radio station East Coast FM ( On a visit to Colorado, she recorded several of her shows in the Longmont studio of Craig Corona to which she invited local bands and musicians. Included among them were Colcannon, Deb and the Pariahs, The Celtic Friends, Loretta Thompson, Craig Corona and Crowboy, an Americana/Folk Rock/Indie band.

Born in the East Lothian coastal town of North Berwick to a family where her mother sang, brother played guitar and stepfather the fiddle, she arrived in Colorado via her first marriage to a diplomat who was the American Consul General to Scotland. When that marriage ended, she chose to remain in Boulder with her daughter and continued her life-long love of singing. Madelaine re-married in 2000 and began sitting in on sessions around town, taking bodhrán lessons from Bonnie Carroll, vocal coaching with Karen Tucker Patterson and Liz Whitney, and performing with High Country Chorus in Wheat Ridge. In 2010 Madelaine began working with Mark Geissler, Craig Corona and Chris Smith and released her first CD of Scottish songs entitled “Away To The Westward”.

A copy of her CD found its way to East Coast FM radio, and while on holiday in Scotland Madelaine was invited as a guest on the morning show by presenter Jim Anderson. When program director Ian Robertson learned that Madelaine was considering a return to Scotland on a more or less full time basis, he offered her a show of her own and in the course of less than a year she grew the station’s folk music library from just a few albums to hundreds. On her weekly show (8 PM to 10 PM GMT each Tuesday), she includes tracks from both well-established and up and coming folk musicians and often has guest artists who perform live in the studio. On August 28th “East Coast Folk” with guests Kathy Stewart and Patsy Seddon featured the songs Davy Steele, the Scottish singer/songwriter who died in 2001. Davy’s widow, harpist and singer Patsy Seddon, brought together many of Davy’s friends to perform songs from the CD “Steele The Show” at the Trad on the Tyne Festival in Haddington. Madelaine had recorded some of these songs being performed by Colorado musicians and played them on that show to the delight of Patsy and Kathy.

Madelaine is expanding her musical horizons to take in guitar lessons and is organizing concerts, bringing more music to East Lothian. She hopes someday to join a band and in the meantime is contemplating a full time relocation to Scotland. Scotland’s gain is our loss, and we can still hear her on East Coast FM online, but it’s just not the same as hearing her live…

August 12 CC cover small

Nessie, the friendly giant mascot of the Colorado Scottish Festival, will be dancing up a storm Saturday night, August 4, when Irish balladeer and humorist, Seamus Kennedy, and the Indi/Scottish/Folk rock group Enter the Haggis take the Festival stage in a musical extravaganza. The internationally known musical acts will follow the5 p.m. Hot! Piping and Hot! Drumming contests, judged by the audience.

Now in its 49th year, the all-new Colorado Scottish Festival and Rocky Mountain Highland Games runs all day August 4-5, 2012, in Highlands Heritage Park, two miles south of C-470 on Quebec in Highlands Ranch.
Come enjoy music, dance and fun for all ages. Experience the earth-shaking sound of the Massed Pipes and Drums, the grace of the Highland dancers, and the power of the great Scottish athletes as they throw the caber (telephone pole) to win the Rocky Mountain Scottish Athletic Championship. Enjoy the ever-popular historical re-enactors and dogs of the British Isles, along with a British car show (on Sunday). Trace your family history as you meet members of your clan. Try a taste of haggis with a wee dram of whiskey, and have a laugh as ladies of the Festival judge the Bonny Knees Contest for Men. Bring the kids for fun children’s games. Wonder at the flying feet of dancers from the Bennett School of Irish Dance, and enjoy food and vendors all day both days
With its new Title Sponsor, the Streets of Southglenn, the Colorado Scottish Festival is open from 9 am to 10 pm on Saturday and from 9 am to 5 pm on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased in advance from the website, or at the door. Special rate for seniors; children 6 and under are free. Free parking and shuttle service.
For tickets and additional information, visit, or call the Festival’s hotline at 303-238-6524.

Shane O'Neill

Shane O’Neill not only made the bench for the Colorado Rapids, put he has been given playing time despite the fact that the 18-year-old native of Boulder, Colo., signed his first professional contract in June. In a recent interview head coach Oscar Pareja said, “[Shane] is s a kid who’s growing within the group…He’s growing with the training and playing with the reserves, and he’s making a lot of progress and he’s one of the options.”
O’Neill attended Fairview High School in Boulder and was named Colorado’s 2011 Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year, as well as earning MVP honors in the 2011 High School All-American Soccer Game. He was also a standout basketball player at Fairview, earning Player of the Year honors this past winter. At 6’2”, 190 pounds, O’Neill has played as both a midfielder and a forward in soccer, and his 10 goals for the Rapids U-18’s this season led the team. He has been training with the Rapids first team throughout 2012, and has played in four Reserve Team matches this season, including playing the full 90 minutes in a 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City on June 9.

He had planned on playing soccer at the University of Virginia this fall, but instead will stay in Colorado and is available for selection with the first team immediately. O’Neill is the second Homegrown Player – a roster designation that allows MLS clubs to sign players from their youth system to contracts that do not count against the salary cap – to be signed by the Rapids, following Davy Armstrong of Aurora, who joined Colorado’s first team on August 16, 2010.

Born in Midleton, Ireland, Shane moved with his family to the United States when he was one year old, and he has dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland. His father Colm O’Neill, won All Ireland medals with County Cork in Irish Football, and is in the restaurant business, including ownership of Conor O’Neill’s in Boulder.
Both father and son played on championship GAA teams with the Denver Gaels.
(Photo Credit: James Dewhirst / Colorado Rapids)

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