Three more music legends pass away……….

Ralph Stanley

“Ralph Edmund Stanley (February 25, 1927 – June 23, 2016), also known as Dr. Ralph Stanley, was an American   bluegrass artist, known for his distinctive singing and banjo playing. Stanley began playing music in 1946, originally with his brother Carter as part of  The Stanley Brothers,  and most often as the leader of his band, The Clinch Mountain Boys. He was part of the first generation of bluegrass and was inducted into both the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honour and The Grande Ole Opry.” – Wikipedia. To the general public he was probably best known for the sound track of the film O Brother Where Art Thou  in which he sings the Appalachian dirge O Death. At the age of 88, following a musical career that spanned 70 year Stanley died on June 13, 2016  as a result of skin cancer.

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Guy-Clark

Guy Charles Clark (November 6, 1941 – May 17, 2016) was an American Texas country and folk singer, musician, songwriter, recording artist, and performer. He released more than twenty albums, and his songs have been recorded by other artists including Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Lyle Lovett, Ricky Scaggs, Steve Wariner and Rodney Crowell. He won the 2004 Grammy Award for the Best Folk Album My Favorite Picture of you. Clark was born in Monahans, Texas, and eventually settled in Nashville  where he helped create the progressive country and outlaw country genres. His songs L.A. Freeway and Desparados Waiting for  a Train that helped launch his career were covered by numerous performers. The New York Times described him as “a king of the Texas troubadours”, declaring his body of work “was as indelible as that of anyone working in the Americana idiom in the last decades of the 20th century”  … Wikipedia

At the age of 74  Clark died in Nashville on May 17, 2016, following a lengthy battle with lymphoma.

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Alirio Díaz - fotos (1)

Alirio Díaz (12 November 1923 – 5 July 2016) was a Venezuelan classical guitarist and composer and one of the most prominent composer-guitarists of his country. A guitar competition named Concurso Internacional de Guitarra Alirio Díaz has been held in his honor in Caracas and other cities in Venezuela (the April 2006 contest was held in Carora). Many compositions have been dedicated to Díaz including Spanish composer  Joaquin Rodrigo’s  Invocación y Danza…. Wikipedia.

That short paragraph hardly does justice to the magnitude of his status in the classical guitar world. Prior to him emerging on the scene Andre Segovia was “the man”. Alirio Diaz, John Williams, Julian Bream  and others that followed Segovia and were part of the changing of guard in the classical guitar world. Segovia was the bench mark of an “old world” approach to the music. His recordings and performances exhibited a mellow, stately approach that demonstrated that guitar music deserved to be taken seriously. Segovia toured and recorded relentlessly throughout the 20th century and that certainly opened doors for the guitarists that followed. He invented the genre of classical guitar and paved the way for guitarists like Alirio Diaz that allowed them to gain an audience and, ultimately, perform in a different way with an expanded repertoire. Diaz’s sound and technique were way more dramatic than the Segovia school and on the standard pieces like Fernando Sor’s Variations on a Theme by Mozart (“The Magic Flute”) he virtually reinvented the music. I was most fortunate in my youth to attend concert performances by Segovia, Julian Bream, John Williams and Alirio Diaz and the one that left the most lasting impression was Alirio Diaz. At about that same time I acquired a LP called Guitarra De Venezuela that included the following tracks:  Recuerdos de la Alhambra /  Dos Valses Venezolanos / Guaso / Canción /  Quirpa / Asturias / Dos Canciones Populares Catalanas / Minuet / Pavana y Folia / Sonata / Gavota / Fuga / Variaciones Sobre un Tema de Mozart. Here we are a half century later, the recording is still in the catalogue (complete with the original cheesy cover) and is still probably the finest recording of classical guitar music out there. One of his most notable achievements was the introduction of the music of Antonio Lauro (a fellow countryman) to a wider audience. The Valses Venezolanos are part of the modern day standard repertoire. You may have a perception of waltzes as being some what stately affairs, that will change once you hear the Venezuelan waltzes of Antonio Laurio.

Alirio Diaz at the age of 92 died on July 5, 2016

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Summer Sounds: Heather Gemmel and Lindsay Cuff

Summer Sounds: Heather Gemmel and Lindsay Cuff, at Cranbrook Rotary Park, Saturday July 9, 2016

536. Lindsay and Heather

A luthier friend of mine described BlueGrass Music as “Heavy Metal on acoustic instruments”. I think there is some truth in that but it needn’t be so. There are BlueGrass musicians out there that look forward to new musical adventures, Bela Fleck immediately comes to mind, and musicians that look back to the origins of the music. The latter group are digging deep into the mother lode of the early traditions that inspired the original BlueGrass musicians. Lindsay Cuff (Fiddle, Clawhammer Banjo, guitar and vocals) and Heather Gemmel (Guitar, Banjo, Dobro and Vocals) is a new duo on the local scene dipping into the early traditions. Heather has been ever present on the local music scene for years as a blues/rock/BlueGrass advocate. Lindsay is relatively new on the scene. The duo is so new that they have not yet settled on a name. Following some on stage chatter during tunes Lindsay was ruminating on the “the bump in the middle” (her pregnancy) and was wondering how that was going to effect her banjo playing. The duo is looking for a name and my vote is for Bump in the Middle. I doubt that there is another band out there with that name and they have a ready made back story for whenever a question should arise about the band’s name. The duo was the second act in Summer Sounds first concert of the season and they stepped out of the gate with some laid back material that included Lindsay’s original I Hear You Coming  and a sampling of old time tunes like I Wish I was a Mole in the Ground. The mix of the melodic fiddle over the rhythm of the clawhammer banjo allowed for a lot of nice space in the music. We often forget that in music the space between the notes is as important as the notes played. In the pursuit of over the top virtuosity musicians sometimes forget that. So, “as the sun set in the west” the dulcet sounds of this duo added a pleasant ambience to the afternoon / evening concert. I am looking forward to hearing more of this duo in the coming days.

500. Lindsay Cuff   502. Heather Gemmel504. Heather Gemmel         506. Lindsay Cuff510. Lindsay Cuff518. Heather Gemmel   520. Heather Gemmel530. Heather Gemmel  514. Lindsay Cuff    512. Lindsay Cuff534. Lindsay Cuff522. Heather Gemmel544. Lindsay and Heather   546. Lindsay and Heather532. Lindsay Cuff552. Dobro538a. Lindsay Cuff

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Summer Sounds: Dark Fire Cloud and the Lightning Band

Summer Sounds presents: Dark Fire Cloud and the Lightning Band , Rotary Park in Cranbrook, July 9, 2016

“Weather forecast ………  thunderstorms,  heavy rain, Dark Fire Cloud and the Lightning Band”

100. Dark Fire Cloud

Summer Sounds is back and the first performance out the gate is a favorite band from previous years. Dark Fire Cloud and the Lightning Band with their special brand of Caribbean flavored Zydeko and Roots music. The line up of the band has slightly changed from previous performances in the area. The upright bass player Jay Shuttle has moved onto other endeavors and his replacement is the young Moroccan musician Mehdi Makraz on electric bass. Syama Mama is a welcome addition as a backup vocalist and the two pillars of the band, Dark Fire Cloud (guitar and harmonica) and Shuggy Milligan (drums) continue to provide the bands musical identity. For a short while the weather and Dark Fire Cloud had a running battle. The concert started with a torrential down pour that the band sent scuttling to the nether lands with the sunny sounds of more pleasant climes. Here are images from the afternoon:

126. Dark Fire Cloud128. Dave Prinn  112. Shuggy Milligan122. Mehdi Makraz   154. Syama Mama118. Dark Fire Cloud132. Mehdi Makraz   150. Shuggy Milligan158. Dark Fire Cloud 160. Syama Mama and Mehdi   168. Mehdi Makraz176. Shuggy Milligan  194. Dark Fire Cloud   196. Shuggy Milligan  212a. Shuggy Milligan      222. Mehdi Makraz206. Mehdi Makraz230. Mehdi Makraz   216a. Dark Fire CloudCloud and Gemmel 058-ed3236. Syama Mama   238. Shuggy Milligan256. Shuggy Milligan258a. Syama Mama  278. Mehdi Makraz274. Mehdi Makraz 010. DFC header

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The Jocelyn Pettit Band at the HeidOut

The Jocelyn Pettit Band at the HeidOut July 7, 2016, 7:30pm

This was a surprise engagement. Normally the LJO plays at the HeidOut on the first Thursday of the month but due to some health issues they cancelled their regular gig. The Jocelyn Pettit Band  was on their way from Fernie to Nelson so they were offered the opportunity to fill in for the LJO. This band from Squamish features Jocelyn Pettit (Fiddle and Stepdancing), Joel Pettit ( Bodhran, Cajon), Siew Wan Choo (Keyboard, fiddle), Colm MacCarthaigh (Guitar and Vocals) and Erik Musseau (Irish Whistles and Vocals). Although I had been in touch with Jocelyn by email the previous week but this gig was such a last minute thing I almost missed out. I received a phone call from a buddy at 8pm letting me know they were playing at the HeidOut. I managed to catch their last set. This was a straight up mix of music from across the Celtic World. I wasn’t organized enough to write down their set list but there were lots of fiddle tunes, songs, Cape Breton style piano, Step Dancing and, of course, Low Whistle tunes. This is a very polished band and I am looking forward to their return. Here are some images from the evening.

202. Jocelyn Pettit   206. Jocelyn Pettit  208a. Jocelyn Pettit  300. Siew Wan Choo   315. Joel Pettit  510. Colm MacCarthaigh  306. Siew Wan Choo   606. Erik Musseau212. Jocelyn Pettit  614. Erik Musseau 412. Joel Pettit   514. Colm MacCarthaigh100. Step Dancing   210. Jocelyn Pettit612. Erik Musseasu622. Erik Musseau624. Erik Musseau  628. Erik Musseau630. Erik Musseau

There were two really nice guitars on stage; A mid-1980s Larrivee with some fancy inlay on the head stock and the characteristic cut away of that make of guitar. Colm was playing a custom hand built guitar by James Goodall of Fort Bragg in California.

Also thank you Heidi for adjusting the positioning of the lights to improve my photography of the event

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LJO on the Small Stage at the Key City Theatre

The Little Jazz Orchestra at the Key City Theatre, Saturday June 11, 2016, 7:30 pm

100. On stage

The Little Jazz Orchestra (LJO) with their straight ahead Jazz concept has been a fixture on the local music scene for a number of years. The original membership of the band consisted of Dave Ward (Trumpet and Fluegelhorn), Janice Nicili (Acoustic Bass), Jim Cameron (Guitar) and Graham Knipfell (Drums). From time to time they featured other local guest artists. Dave and Janice remain on board with the latest edition of the band while Jim and Graham have moved onto other endeavors.  Sven Heyde has taken over the drum chair, Graham Barnes is now on guitar and Evan Bueckert has joined the band on Keyboards. The LJO is now a quintet. In keeping with their newer slightly more funky approach Janice Nicili has switched to Electric Bass

Normally they have a regular gig on the first Thursday of every month at the HeidOut Restaurant in Cranbrook. While that venue bristles with ambience it is a fairly noisy environment and to hear the band in this concert setting was a very welcome opportunity to really hear their music. It was an evening for the band to plunder the archives and come up with a solid batch of Dave Wade’s original tunes. The tunes go all the way back to the local band Wham go the Ducks (I never did find out about that name) when Dave was barely out of High School. From that era  of “Heaven and Hell” tunes (Dave’s description)  they extracted  Beelzebub and Heavenly Bodies. As witnessed by his tribute to his mum and dad in the tune Me and My Old Man and My Old Man’s Lady  Dave is never at a lost for whimsical titles. It was also evident in his nod to two long time fans Les and Vera-Lynn in Les is More. The lyrics were hardly ground breaking poetry but the sentiment and the riffs were heart felt . Sean Heyde added some tasty low keyed drum riffs on the tune Where to,  a tune written specifically for one of Janice Nicli’s bass lines. According to Dave, Make it So, was reaching for a Star Trek ambience. As a tribute to Graham Barnes and his occupation as a chef Janice named the whimsical tune It’s Chefie Pants. Sprinkled though out the sets were a couple of ballads that included the tune Nectar . One of the definite pluses of the evening was the opportunity for Evan Bueckert to show case his talents on the Hammond B3 Organ. This magnificent beast doesn’t get to see the light of day very often so it was real treat to hear one of Jazz’s unique sounds. The last time I heard the “B3”  in the Key City Theatre it was when Dr. Lonnie Johnson came to town with Cory Weed and his jazz outfit. That was a night not to be forgotten. This LJO event was also another memorable night with a choice mix of original tunes and tasty solos in a very choice intimate environment. Hope fully there will be more of the same in the future. Here are so images from the evening.

218. Dave Ward300. Sven Heyde and Janice Nicili  400. Janice and Graham  530. Evan Bueckert614. Janice Nicili304. Sven Heyde414. Graham Barnes  412. Graham Barnes416. Graham Barnes012. LJO Header200. Dave Ward512. Evan Bueckert224. Dave Ward206. Dave Ward220c. Dave Ward

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“It’s only an opinion, but……….”

“The War on Drugs” was (is) a stupid approach for handling drug use. Prohibition on alcohol in the 1920s didn’t work and the legal / illegal frameworks of the current era have completely failed. Drug use, particularly cannabis, is endemic. At last the “light bulb” has gone on and the beginning of a legalization process has begun. The concept of a legal, taxable, and controlled distribution has taken root and the government revenue agencies are frothing at the bit to get their hands on an untapped revenue stream. Enforcement agencies have better things to do and are looking forward washing their hands of the petty enforcement rituals they inflict on mostly law abiding citizens. The application of the laws as they now stand is impossible. A law that can’t be enforced is no longer the law. So there is really no choice but to create a legal frame work for drug use.

The following thoughts have come to mind while paying attention to the dialogue surrounding the legalization of Pot. It seems we haven’t learned much from the “Tobacco Debates” of recent years.

  • Number one: The inhalation of foreign substances into one’s lungs is probably not a good thing. It took us a couple of hundred years with tobacco smoke to come to that conclusion and yet as an issue there seems to be little thought or discussion of the ill effects of just inhaling noxious substances, psychoactive or otherwise
  • Number 2: The issue of second hand smoke – It is a given that pot is detrimental to brain development in youth and the very young so it would stand to reason that second hand smoke may end up being a far bigger issue in the Pot debates than in the recent Tobacco issue. Should children, or any one else for that matter, be subject to the ill effects of second hand pot smoke or vapour. I am looking forward to that becoming part of the debate. If you are a parent with young children there is a very strong possibility that your drug use will have a significant impact on your child’s mental development.
  • Number 3: Will there be an issue similar to the fetal-alcohol syndrome if pregnant women smoke up? It took us more than a few years to determine the links between alcohol consumption by pregnant women and its detrimental effects.
  • Number 4: The links between Pot use and Mental illness are out there but they don’t seem to be attracting too much interest. After all Cannabis use alters one’s brain chemistry and is that necessarily a good thing?
  • Number 5: In Colorado it has been noted that legalization has created a surge in the use of “edible” cannabis products and that is creating a whole new variety of problems all the way from the control of product strength to how do we keep “doped” candy bars out of the hands of children?
  • Number 6: How is Vancouver going to control or ban the annual “smoke-in” ? Technically the drug is still illegal, as is smoking in a public place, but the authorities have chosen to not enforce the law and the result is the mass misbehavoir of a large crowd who have no truck with societal norms. Will the city have to resort to using riot police?

Pot has to be made legal, controlled and taxed. The world is full of idiots and we can’t prevent people from acting in idiotic ways but at least we can generate tax revenues to do some good and get it out of hands of criminals. I suspect when it is legal Pot smokers are not going to be happy. The end result will not be what they wanted or expected. With the corporate interests of a new huge commercial industry to be protected along with the government protecting its new found revenue stream I suspect “home grown” operations will be strictly controlled if not eliminated. After all, in the world of booze how many individuals have a moonshine operation in their basement?

Pot has the reputation of being “a harmless recreational drug” and I suspect that is largely a myth. Here is a link to some information that may be useful in the ongoing discussions National Institute on Drug Abuse

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While I am at it here are a couple of my more outlandish opinions and rants.

  • Performance enhancing drugs in sport. Why do we bother banning these drugs? If an athlete chooses the drug enhancement route why should we care? The negative effects are self inflicted and as individuals they will bear the final cost. The standard answer is that drug use creates an uneven playing field. But once again why should we care? The list of drugs keeps growing and the testing protocols are always a step behind. The current policy has not eliminated use and  has only succeeded is creating a huge expensive bureaucracy of testing and enforcement. What a waste of time, money and energy. Don’t we have better things to do rather than catering to a bunch of overgrown adolescents indulging in less than meaningful activities? To paraphrase John Lennon “who cares who is the greatest Bass Player / Tennis Play / Weight lifter, etc. in the state of Israel?”
  • Sport and Pop Music both of these activities are meant to be recreational and if we relegate the activities to a cadre of professionals we are defeating the intent of the activities. Couch potatoes may be recreating but not in a meaningful way. Apart from coaches, trainers and educators I suggest that there should be no such thing as a “Professional Sportsman” or a “Professional Musician”. The top echelon in both of those categories reap millions of dollars for what are essentially non-productive activities. There is something basically wrong when we pay these people millions of dollars and yet quibble about the cost of welfare and paying productive workers  meaningful wages.

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The Red Cannons – Three Guitars and a Back Beat

The Red Cannons at Studio 64, May 28, 2016, 8pm

090. The Red Cannons

The Essence of Rock and Roll  – “Three Guitars and  Back Beat”. Well, this “band of brothers”,  Evan Boechler (rhythm and lead vocals), Braden Boechler (lead guitar and vocals) Landon Boechler (drums, vocals) and their fetching bass player, Jen Perry had it in spades. A Kimberley resident came across the band in performance near Edmonton and recommended them as Rock and Roll participants in the Studio 64 Spring Concert Series at Centre 64. To get from their home base in Spruce Grove, Alberta (just west of Edmonton) is a big trip and I hope the band enjoyed performing for this very pumped audience. They kicked off the evening with an original tune called One Little Bat an then worked their way through some classic Rock and Roll such as  Credence Clearwater’s Have you Seen the Rain? and Bad Moon Rising, the Beatles Come Together, Shake Rattle and Roll, The Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Woman, Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Good, The Tragically Hip’s New Orleans and for a “party piece” Evan and Landon got together on the drum kit to do a duet on the classic surf tune Wipe Out. To show their appreciation the audience just got up and danced beside and in front of the stage. Here are images from the night.

100c. Jen Perry102. Jen Perry   108. Jen Perry200. Braden Boechler015. Header302. Evan Boechler136. Jen Perry404. Landon Boechler210. Bradon Boechler   410. The drum solo - duet126. Jen Perry400. Landon Boechler  406. Landon Boechler402. Landon Boechler314, Evan Boechler     322. Evan Boechler212. Bradon Boechler  328. Evan Boechler104. Jen Perry140. Jen Perry

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Ali Sellin

ALI SELLIN with DAVE CARLSON & BUD DECOSSE at BJs Creekside Pub, Saturday May 21, 2016, 8pm

080. Ali, Dave and Bud

One one hand I am not a big fan of Country Music. On the other hand I appreciate spontaneous music that’s professional and well crafted. So once you move away from the Star Spangled Hollywood music of Nashville,  Country Music does have some thing 202. Ali Sellinto offer. Case in point is Ali Sellin on stage at BJs  last Saturday night. The music was country but Hollywood and Nashville were way over the horizon, almost out of sight and far away from ear shot. Ali is from Medicine Hat and on this visit to Kimberley she renewed her acquaintance with mandolinist Dave Carlson and guitarist Bud Decosse. These two 400. Dave Carlsongentlemen (dare one use that word in this day and age of “Bad Dudes”) are probably two of the finest musicians in the area. They are both well known and500. Bud Decosse highly respected in the Kootenays. With their smooth accompaniments and slick lead lines they were a perfect foil for Ali’s voice and her choice of material. All  the more so when you realize that all of the evenings music was largely unrehearsed. Although Ali is a Singer / Song writer  most of her material for this evening were covers of such classics as Red Wing (the Steel Wheels version) Anne Murray’s Snow Bird, Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, Gershwin’s Summertime, Willie Nelson / Patsy Cline’s Crazy, Take the Ribbon from Your Hair, Green Green Grass of Home, Banks of the Ohio, and Dolly Patton’s Joliene. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There was a sprinkling of her original material plus lesser known songs from the country repertoire. Dave and Bud did their bit with material from their own huge bag of songs and instrumentals. Ali obviously enjoys performing and it was reflected in her happy demeanour and rapport with the audience. It was an especially fine night of music and if, and when, Ali comes back to this area she should not be missed. Here are some images from the evening.

244. Ali Selin408. Dave Carlson222. Ali Sellin   204. Ali Sellin506. Bud Decosse214. Ali Sellin   220. Ali Sellin

A musical Note (pun intended) is Ali’s guitar technique.  She uses a right hand finger style technique with a thumb pick and plastic finger picks. While not that unusual it took a while for me to realize what she was doing. Her patterns and picking where appropriate and crystal clear and the picks were very pretty hard to see. I personally find it hard to use finger picks and the constant risk of getting  tangled up on the back strokes has put to rest any ambitions I may have ever had on using finger picks.  Good job Ali!0052. Ali's Guitar060c. The hand of Ali

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THE ODD COUPLE – CCT Rehearsal

Odd Couple Poster(2)

“The Odd Couple is a play by Neil Simon. Following its premiere on Broadway in 1965, the characters were revived in a successful 1968 film and 1970s TV series, as well as other derivative works and spin-offs. The plot concerns two mismatched roommates: the neat, uptight Felix Ungar and the slovenly, easygoing Oscar Madison. Simon adapted the play in 1985 to feature a pair of female roommates (Florence Ungar and Olive Madison) in The Female Odd Couple. An updated version of the 1965 show appeared in 2002 with the title Oscar and Felix: A New Look at the Odd Couple.” – Wikipedia

As the saying goes “what goes around comes around” and with this play that seems to happen on a frequent basis. The most notable performance would have to be the 1968 film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau. They followed that with their reprised roles in The Odd Couple II, directed by Neil Simon. Now, here we are in 2016 and the show is once again the inspiration for another TV series, oddly enough called The Odd Couple. Not to be outdone by Broadway or Hollywood the Cranbrook Community Theatre, under the direction of Bob McCue brings the iconic characters to life for local audiences.

Cast:

  • Bob Wakulich                           –  Oscar Madison
  • Peter Schalk                             – Felix Unger
  • Alexander Gilmour                    – Vinnie
  • Barry Coulter                             – Murray
  • Barry Borgstrom                        – Speed
  • Randy Tapp                               – Roy
  • Michelle McCue                         – Gwendolyn Pigeon
  • Andrea Grossman                     – Cecily Pigeon

Directed by Bob McCue and produced by Kristy Quinn

The Setting : Four acts in Oscar Madison’s apartment in New York City.

 Act One: Poker night and where’s Felix?
114. The Card Game
100. The opening card game   108. VINNIE, OSCAR MADISON & MURRAY.102. VINNIE - Alexander Gilmour  104. ROY - Randy Tapp   126a. MURRAY - Barry Coulter110. MURRAY - Barry Coulter
 118. OSCAR MADISON - Bob Wakulich   124. ROY - Randy Tapp104. ROY - Randy Tapp132. OSCAR & MURRAY   136. MURRAY - Barry Coulter138. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk        154. FELIX UNGER
Act Two: Two weeks later Felix has moved in
200a. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk206. SPEED - Barry Borgstrom208. MURRAY - Barry Coulter     212. MURRAY - Barry Coulter214. OSCAR & FELIX   202. The New Card Game216. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk
Act Three: The next evening about 7:30 pm
306. OSCAR MADISON - Bob Wakulich304. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk   310. CECILY & GWENDOLYN PIGEON - Andrea Grossman & Michelle McCue  318. Guys and Dolls   325. GWENDOLYN, FELIX & CECILY333. OSCAR MADISON
Fade to ACT 4.
400. OSCAR MADISON - Bob WAKULICH404. OSCAR AND FELIX   414.416.
AND CURTAIN CALL
 512. THE FULL CAST
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The “Banshee Wail” of LUNASA

LUNASA at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook, April, 16, 2016

104. Lunasa

As a descriptor for the music of LUNASA “Banshee Wail” it is not strictly accurate. Wailing it definitely is but Banshee, well maybe not. A BANSHEE is a female spirit in Gaelic Folklore whose mournful wailing is supposed to warn of an approaching death in a household. Lunasa’s music is much more joyous than that. In discussions of art, and in particular music, there are two terms generally applied; Apollonian – characterized by clarity, harmony and restraint; Dionysian –  sensual, spontaneous and emotional. Forget death and destruction. The wailing aspects of the flutes, whistles, fiddle and Uilleann pipes can only be described as Dionysian. After all it is joyous enough music to blister paint, get the feet stomping and generally bring down the roof.

LUNASA is probably the most significant band to come out of Ireland since the The Bothy Band roared onto the scene in the early 1970’s. They share the same sonic spectrum with  the emphasis on flutes, whistles and fiddle. The Bothy Band used guitar, harpsichord and bouzouki to anchor the rhythm. Lunasa has gone in  a slightly different direction by using the ultimate “bottom-end dweller”, the upright double bass, and along with guitar it  anchors the band and creates a unique sound.The band has been around for nigh on twenty years and, if one is to believe the flute player Kevin Crawford, they continue to stick around with the hope of another Hawaiian tour at some time in the near future. Over the years the band has had a number of very prominent top flight musicians taking their turn in the line up. They include:

  •  Tim Edey – guitar
  •  Donogh Hennessy – guitar
  • Michael McGoldrick – Uilleann pipes, flute, whistle
  • John McSherry – Uilleann pipes
  • Paul Meehan – Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin

For the concert at the Key City Concert Kevin Crawford played Flute and Irish Whistles as well as doing double duty as the MC. Kevin plays custom handmade instruments by  the Australian builder Michael Grinter . Cillian Vallely performed on that mystery of Irish plumbing, the Uilleann Pipes, and the Low D Irish Whistle. Belonging to the esteemed Vallely Family Cillian has a very honorable pedigree in the Irish music scene. His cousin Fintan Vallely edited The Companion to Irish Traditional Music and co-authored Blooming Meadows – The World of Irish Traditional Music. Both of these have a prominent place on my book shelf.112. Kevin and Cillian

Collin Farrell, not the real Colin Farrell of Hollywood fame , that would have cost the Key City a bundle, but rather an imposter who was actually born in Manchester, England. As an imposter, according to Kevin, he has scored numerous awards as performer of the year, month, week, day and on this tour and on this particular night performer of the minute on a set of tunes that included The Raven’s Rock / Ruby / The Beehive. Colin brings to the stage the fire and precision of the Irish fiddle tradition that is a big part of Lunasa’s music. He also plays Low Whistle and in combination with Kevin and Cillian creates a unique trio unison sound on a number of tunes.321. Collin Farrell

Although there are many guitarists out there playing solo finger style Celtic music the strength of the instrument in the Celtic context is in it’s supporting role as a rhythm instrument. It adds punch and drive to a band. Apart from that through out the evening Patrick Doocey did get opportunities to explore some of the delicate nuances of the guitar. Most notably in a set of Breton tunes and particularly in the wonderful Galician tune Aire de Pontdevedra. In combination with the upright bass player Trevor Hutchinson the guitar and bass combination provided the front line of Lunasa with a rock solid foundation to support their melodic explorations.  Trevor’s upright bass is almost unique in Irish Celtic music. To my knowledge the upright bass, unlike in Bluegrass music, is not a common instrument in Irish Celtic music. Having said that Trevor’s contribution adds an unmistakable signature sound to the ensemble. Over the years he has graced a number of bands, including those of the Irish button accordionist Sharon Shannon. Moving around the world poses some unique challenges for a bass player . Trevor is a tall man and he requires a big instrument . The shear size of the bass is a major financial and logistical hurdle in transporting the instrument from place to place. Trevor has overcome some of those difficulties by using an instrument that literally comes apart and folds down into a more manageable package. There are a number of these instruments on the market and to get some idea of the just how that is done check the link below.

Here are some images from a memorable night of music.

214. Kevin Crawford300. Cillian Vallely  308. Cillian Vallely404. Trevor Hutchinson     406. Trevor Hutchinson326. Cillian Vallely227. Kevin Crawford  216. Kevin Crawford262. Kevin Crawford  116. Patrick and Trevor   616. Patrick Doocey318. Cillian Vallely328. Cillian Vallely352. Cillian Vallely

530. Colin Farrell

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