The Celts (formerly known as “The Blair Band”) have been performing around the world for 15 years. The Celts are a combination of Irish born and Irish-American musicians. The band performs a combination of fiery Scottish/Irish traditional instrumental tunes and vocal songs as well as their own Beatles/American pop influenced original songs with Celtic instrumentation.
Ric Blair is the leader and founder of The Celts. In talking about the music of The Celts Ric says, “Although my family (Blair means “Battlefield” in Gaelic) has strong Irish and Scottish roots, I was born and raised here in America. So, although I love both traditional Irish and Scottish music and it is a huge part of who I am and where I came from, I am also very American. I am proud of my Celtic heritage as well as my American upbringing. So, in being true to these influences I have somehow unconsciously combined the two styles; that is, very pure traditional Celtic music melded with the pop sensibilities that I have heard my whole life in American pop music. So, the music that emerged has become the music of The Celts.”
Ric Blair has an extensive resume.He has worked as a producer,film-composer, engineer, session player and touring musician around the world. Ric has composed film scores for people like Morgan Freeman and Danny Glover, produced numerous CDs and has even penned a Grammy nominated song which went to number one on the billboard charts. An interesting note is that Ric also served as the personal guitar instructor for rocker Sheryl Crow. Across all genres of music Ric has done it all ; from rock to pop to hard core Celtic. Ric is a multi-instrumentalist and plays acoustic/electric guitar, piano/keyboards, vocals, bodhran, Irish whistle, and Irish fiddle.
Percussionist Jeff Durham and Dublin piper Patrick D’Arcy have been with The Celts nearly since it’s inception in 1995. Patrick (graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music who is frequently hired to perform by Bono of U2) is not only an amazing piper but he has got the quick wit that the Irish are known for. The bantering between Patrick and Jeff is a constant source of entertainment as each of them trades off accents leaving most wondering where anyone is really from.
Original The Celts band member Jeff Durham plays a unique hybrid djembe/percussion kit that he devised himself. Jeff is not only an incredible percussionist but a comedian, actor and published screenplay writer. Jeff will keep you in stitches as he shares his natural, yet unpredictable celtic sense of humor in concert.
Irish fiddler Kimberly Barnes has been with The Celts for 8 years. Kimberly has also performed with other legends of the Irish fiddle such as Martin Hayes, Matt Cranitch, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh of Altan, and has sat in with The Cheiftains. On her off time Kimberly can sometimes been seen performing with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and The Nashville Symphony. Kimberly is not only an expert of the Irish fiddler but possesses a Masters Degree in Classical Music. You will be mesmerized by Kimberly’s stage presence while performing with The Celts.
With a graduate degree from Edinburgh University in Ethnomusicology in Scotland, Deb Shebish is not only a virtuoso on Scottish fiddle but she is also an encyclopedia regarding the history and culture of her Scottish music. Performing with The Celts for almost 8 years now, Deb is an incredible talent, a gentle, humble soul, but she casts fire on the Scottish fiddle!
The Celts have recorded 8 records and have been featured on tons of Celtic music compilations through the years. They have performed in front of as many as 80,000 people everywhere from Civic Auditoriums to Festivals, Performing Arts Centers, churches and pubs. When you see The Celts you will not only be moved by the infectious energy and passion of the group but you will be impressed by the incredible musicianship of each band member. A typical concert involves not only fervent, inspired music but also periodic bouts of spirited Irish dancing.
SPECIAL GUESTS APPEARING WITH THE CELTS
MAIREAD NI MHAONAIGH
VOCALS & IRISH FIDDLE
Mairead is considered by many as the best Irish fiddler and Irish singer on the planet!! Being a native of Donegal Gaeltacht of Gaoth Dobhair, Ireland her first language is Gaelic.
Mairéad founded Altan along with her late husband, Frankie Kennedy; from humble beginnings they brought their music to the world arena without compromising the deep musical tradition they loved.
Along with her work with Altan, Mairéad is always in demand for solo work or presenting traditional music programs on radio or television; past projects include the classic radio show The Long Note and the television series The Pure Drop. A new series she presents, The Full Set, is to be aired on RTÉ1 in June 2008, and will be broadcast simultaneously on the web.
Mairéad has performed and/or recorded with other musicians such as Enya, the Chieftains, Dolly Parton, The String Sisters as well as world renown group “The Celts”.
If you have seen Riverdance chances are that you may have seen Ivan. Ivan is considered by many in the Irish world of music as the best traditional Irish uilleann piper on the planet. Interesting fact is that Ivan has a Russian first name but he is Irish born and raised through and through. No Russian blood at all he says. Ivan says it is kind of confusing sometimes to folks because his girlfriend (a lead dancer with Riverdance) is herself actually Russian. Ivan Goff, an All-Ireland champion from Dublin, plays uilleann pipes (Irish bellows-blown pipes), whistles and Irish wooden concert flute. A traditional musician with an eclectic background that includes master degrees in both musicology and computer composition and soon to be PhD in Ethnomusicology. Ivan has performed in several extended engagements with Riverdance (US tour and Broadway), Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance and has featured in film scores such as recently-released Cremaster 3 (Matthew Barney) exhibited in the Guggenheim museum 2003. In addition to performing as a solo artist, Ivan has collaborated as performer and composer in the theatrical productions Peacefire and The Voice of the Sea (Mac Uibh Aille) and has performed with numerous bands and artists including The Celts, Cathie Ryan and popular Irish traditional band Lúnasa.
WHISTLES/ UILLEANN PIPES
Eric Rigler has become one of Celtic music’s most sought-after recording session artists, bringing the timeless, haunting sonorities of the uilleann pipes, the Great Highland Bagpipe, the Scottish small-pipes and the Irish whistle to film, television and recording audiences.
Though best known for his work with composer James Horner as a soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra on the Oscar-winning films BRAVEHEART and TITANIC, Eric is featured on the soundtracks of dozens of other motion pictures including SEX AND THE CITY 2, CINDERELLA MAN, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, TROY, LADDER 49, MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD, THE ROAD TO PERDITION, AUSTIN POWERS: The Spy Who Shagged Me, THE FUGITIVE, and the IMAX documentary, EVEREST.
Referred to as “the most recorded piper in history”, Eric’s most recent work can be heard on CD’s by Faith Hill (Joy To The World), Keith Urban (Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing), Bette Midler (Cool Yule), The Celts (formerly known as “The Blair Band”) (Break the Walls) and Josh Groban (With You), as well as releases by such varied artists as Charlotte Church (Enchantment), Phil Collins (Testify, …Hits), Barbra Streisand (Higher Ground), Tracy Chapman (Telling Stories, New Beginning), Rod Stewart (When We Were the New Boys), and Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey
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