“Across the Pond” to Debut at Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater
By Rodger Hara (from September2015 Celtic Connection newspaper)

At one time, it was common for residents of the United Kingdom to talk of traveling to Canada or the United States as “taking a trip across the pond” in a droll, understated sort of British way. The expression entered the lexicon on this side of the Atlantic and could often be heard on the East Coast. Today, it seems, the only place you’ll hear the words is in reference to one of Colorado’s newest Celtic Bands.

Formed in January 2015 by three long-time session players, Phil Coombs, Grace Carter and Brint Lukens, the band chose the name to reflect how the music they play came “across the pond” and influenced the sound of bluegrass and American folk music.

Phil, originally from London, is a microbiologist musician who plays melodeon, guitar, bodhrán and spoons with the band as well as vocals. Grace is a website developer who came to Colorado from Texas 20 years ago and plays fiddle. Brint, a computer programmer, is a Colorado native who plays rhythm guitar, provides backing vocals and also plays Flamenco guitar and the Highland pipes. Phil is self-taught, Grace has taken lessons from many teachers, including Adam Agee and Brint took pipe lessons as a junior member of the City of Denver Pipe Band and guitar lessons from Flamenco great Rene Heredia. All have Celtic roots and ties: Brint’s mother is a Fitzsimons, Grace has Sinclair blood and Phil has a childhood in Parochial schools where half the teachers and students were Irish. Together, they play traditional music that would sound at home in a pub or parlor in Ireland.

They began playing with each other at sessions over the years and one night, found themselves the only musicians at a session. At the end of the evening, they asked themselves “Why don’t we form a band?” Rather than leaving it in the abstract and theoretical, they acted on it and began performing here and there – including busking on Santa Fe Drive one recent First Friday Art Walk night.

They enjoy playing the music as it has been handed down from across the pond and enjoy seeing the pleasure it brings to people, especially children, for whom their playing well might be the first performance of live music they have ever seen. The timeless quality of music that came down through oral traditions, that still resonates with people and comes from the time before recording when music moved and people didn’t is the music they love to play. They explore the historical context of the music they play to infuse it with the energy of the time and place that created it and distinguish session music from performance music with the former being inward looking and the latter outward.

Their first appearance at a festival will be at the 6th Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater where they will open the music stage at 11 AM on Saturday the 19th and you can see for yourself how well they have succeeded.

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