The Gothard Sisters – Review

Their entertaining flair and delightful combination of musical instruments engaged an ever changing combination of sound and song. It was a wondrous sight to see siblings so given to their art and each other and it was very evident in their selections for the evening.

— The Write Exchange

 

The Gothard Sisters Irish Music and Dance

Coming up June 14 at 7 pm. Bangor Arts Exchange an exciting program of Irish American music and step dancing. If you’ve seen them before you know what a great show the Gothard Sisters put on. If you haven’t, well here is your chance!

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“The Gothard Sisters’ grasp of style and presentation is big league, even when playing in more intimate settings. This is a trio that comes off like an orchestra.”
– Celtic Beat Magazine.

The Gothard Sisters are a dynamic group of three sisters, whose impressive array of talents have set them apart as one of the most refreshing and compelling acts in Celtic-roots music today. The sisters’ unpredictable and theatrical flair brings a youthful splash to the time-honored tradition of Celtic folk music, bridging the gap between classical, folk, Celtic, world and roots influences with a sunny, optimistic style that has been described as “beautifully arranged, melodic-minded Celtic folk-pop.”

After ten years of playing together and a lifetime of getting to know one another, The Gothard Sisters’ collaborative process and eclectic style has evolved into a jubilant live performance, full of entertaining sibling-banter, Irish step-dancing, foot-stomping tunes, lyrical melodies, storytelling, and a genuine lightness of heart that leaves audiences feeling refreshed and inspired.

Hailing from Edmonds, Washington – in 2006, The Gothard Sisters first began playing together as a violin trio busking for tips at the local farmer’s market, working their way onto stages at local fairs and festivals. Audiences responded with enthusiasm, and over 1,000 performances later the band recently performed at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., completed several national concert tours of the United States, and are well-known musicians on the national Celtic festival circuit. In December 2016 The Gothard Sisters charted on Billboard’s World Music Chart with their latest Christmas album, Falling Snow, alongside notable Irish music phenomena Celtic Woman and Celtic Thunder.

When sisters Greta Gothard, Willow Gothard, and Solana Gothard use their musical talents together, the result is an irresistible mix of spritely violin and fiddle tones, pure sibling vocal harmonies, mandolin and pennywhistle accents, all supported by the powerful and exuberant rhythms of the Irish bodhran, African djembe, and acoustic guitar – creating what Irish Central calls “an earthiness that gives the songs a lively, approachable, down-home sound.”

The sisters have produced two albums, Story Girl, Compass and Mountain Rose- and self-produced, filmed and edited a collection of music videos at beautiful outdoor locations across Washington’s wild landscape, striking chords with hundreds of thousands of Youtube viewers. Since then their music has been featured on NPR’s Thistle and Shamrock program and PBS’s Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour broadcast.

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Review: Irish Harper Grainne Hambly and Scottish Harper William Jackson at The Bangor Arts Exchange

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro

The evening was a well anticipated one. The chatter about the Harpers grew as some of the crowd wondered if they would play together or separately. Would it have been a case of dueling harps so to speak or could the cultures be intertwined and joined at the strings? There were numbers spent well in a solo effort on both shores as well as a well balanced marriage of the two ends of the isle joining in a most harmonious and melodic grace. The stories never cease to amaze. First of all, who would ever think that an instrumental could be a simple spark of an untold or a variably very told story which seems to be the case for every song. In a life lesson on the same subject it seems that some of the tunes are also tweaked by the artist who plays them at the time, adding and even subtracting bits and pieces of the the tune at their artistic discretion. The titles needed to be adjusted as well depending on the message the composer wished to express at the time.

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro

The musical endeavors were superior and masterfully performed. Clarity of the instrument had most certainly drawn the audiences attention due to the delicate nature of the instrument. Included within the musical parameters were the beloved miniature accordion, the whistle, and the ever present bouzouki. They blended well as friendly accompaniment to the featured harp. The traditional aspect was never ignored, ever loved, and most of all respected by both musician and appreciator for hundreds of years past and to come.

Two of the Foremost Harpers of Ireland and Scotland Together!

MASTERS OF THE CELTIC HARP

Gráinne Hambly and William Jackson. Coming up March 31, 2018 at 7 pm at Bangor Arts Exchange Ballroom. 187 Exchange St. Bangor, ME.

Tickets $20 ]

Gráinne Hambly and William Jackson are two of the foremost harpers of Ireland and Scotland. Combining their extraordinary talents on harp as well as concertina, tin whistle and bouzouki, The Masters of the Celtic Harp, have been performing all over the country and dazzling audiences with their artistry. Their Two Sides of Celtic show is a special treat.

“…the most creative interpretations of Irish and Scottish traditional music you’re likely to hear.”-IrishPhiladelphia.com

Since 1998 Gráinne Hambly has been touring extensively throughout the United States and has garnered an ever-growing following of devoted harp enthusiasts and has captured the Irish music fan with the taste for the fast, driving reels and jigs of traditional music. A lifelong County Mayo resident, Gráinne has won the senior All-Ireland titles on harp and concertina in 1994 and then the prestigious Keadue and Granard harp competitions. Her three critically acclaimed solo CDs, The Thorn Tree (2006), Between the Showers (1999) and Golden Lights Green Shadows, (2003) are “must haves” for every Irish harp player and fan. She and William Jackson teamed up and began touring as “The Masters of the Celtic Harp” in 2005 and have been traveling together ever since. They live now outside of Claremorris in County Mayo.
William Jackson of Glasgow has been at the forefront of Scottish traditional music for more than 40 years. Besides his stature as one of the leading harpers and multi-instrumentalists in Scotland, William has gained an international reputation as a composer. His “Land of Light” won the international competition in 1999 as the new song for Scotland. William was a founding member and creative tour de force of Ossian in 1976, which became one of Scotland’s best-loved traditional bands. The band, whose music influenced a generation of musicians, extensively toured the U.S. and Europe. Besides harp, he also plays tin whistle and bouzouki. William Jackson and his band Ossian were inducted into Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame Sept. 11, 2015 in Inverness Scotland and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Somerset Folk Harp Festival in July 2016.The Swannanoa Gathering awarded William its Master Music Maker award for Lifetime Achievement in 2004.

Tickets ]

Robert Burns Supper

Come join us at our first ever celebration of the birthday of Scottish bard Robbie Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796).

  • When: January 26, 2018  6-9 pm
  • Where: Bangor Masonic Center 294 Union Street (ample parking!)
  • Tickets: $15 for the event.

We will begin the evening with introductory remarks, followed by piping by Pipe Major Scott Heney of Maine St Andrews Pies and Drums in the haggis at 6:30, with a recitation of Burns’ Address to the Haggis. A traditional meal of haggis, ‘neeps and taties (turnips and potatoes) will be served and is included in the price of the event.

Following supper we will have entertainment and a raffle for Robbie Burns cds. Please bring your favorite Burns poem or song to share, if you play traditional music, you are welcome to bring an instrument.

We will end the evening with Auld Lang Syne.

So that we can plan to have enough food we recommend tickets be purchased in advance.

This is a fundraising event for the 2018 festival.

Cape Breton’s Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald to play Bangor Maine

Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald
Bangor Celtic Crossroads and Launchpad will present Cape Breton’s Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald in concert at the Bangor Arts Exchange located at 193 Exchange Street in downtown Bangor on Nov 14, 2017. Doors open at6:00 show starts at 7:00 pm. [Buy Tickets]

Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald join together, blending the rich traditional sound of the Cape Breton fiddle, with the fiery edge of the Scottish Border pipes. Combining their creative vision with influences from Old and New World Gaelic traditions, they create a powerful sound. Since meeting at the 2013 Celtic Colours Festival, Ben & Anita have toured across North America and further afield, wowing audiences with their captivating blend of driving dance tunes and soulful Gaelic airs.

Ben is an American-born player of Scottish bagpipes.His interest in traditional music stems from his exposure to the pipes at a young age, in his hometown of Queensbury, New York,as well as his family’s strong connections to its Scottish and Irish roots, through both his American mother and Canadian father. He began studying the Highland Bagpipes around age eight, but by twelve he began to shift his focus to the bellows-blown Scottish small-pipes and Border pipes. Ben is also an academic, holding an undergraduate degree in Music, as well as a Master’s degree in Scottish Ethnology, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Scottish Studies. His repertoire and style draw mainly on the Gaelic traditions of Western Scotland and the Canadian Maritimes, blended with a healthy dash of Irish tunes for good measure.

Anita is an accomplished musician, dancer, and Gaelic singer from Little Narrows, Cape Breton. She began step-dancing in the family kitchen at the tender age of four, and picked up the fiddle a few short years later, at age eight. She has been wowing audiences with her impeccable timing and neatly choreographed steps ever since. Anita’s fiddle playing has a distinctive sound, influenced by the deep roots of her musical family. Her energetic style has put her in demand as a performer and teacher, across Cape Breton and beyond.

Guest artists include Tyson Chen, Ottawa Ontario, on piano and Zak Cormier Wellington PEI, on foot percussion and guitar.

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Launchpad is an Arts Incubator focused on Creative Place-making in Maine through its work with emerging artists & partner organizations.

Isle of Man award winning trio Barrule return to Maine

Bangor Celtic Crossroads will present Barrule from the Isle of Man at The Hammond Street Congregational Church on Friday October 27 at 7:00 pm.

The unique sound of traditional Manx music is the Celtic World’s best kept secret. This has changed with the introduction of Barrule, the Award winning trio dedicated to taking the music of the Isle of Man to a much wider audience.

Named after the famous Manx summit where legend says the ancient Celtic God Manannan MacLir stalked his mighty fortress, Barrule fuses three distinct musical forces – gifted fiddle-player Tomas Callister, accordion wizard Paddy Callaghan  and versatile accompanist Adam Rhodes on bouzouki. Together this versatile acoustic unit creates a powerful and wholly distinctive sound.

With bold but sensitive arrangements, the trio presents a fresh take on traditional and contemporary Manx music. While sharing common ground with its Celtic cousins, as well as the English tradition, Manx music has retained its own particular and inherent Manxness: an atmosphere evoked by the music that speaks of the natural beauty of the island and the lives of its inhabitants.

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