Bangor Celtic Crossroads and Bangor Arts Exchange Present “Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald”

As the early evening progressed, the beautiful upstairs venue welcomed the avid Celtic followers of such a genre either to their seats or the quickly filling concession stand all ready for an evening of Scottish and Gaelic influence. The band consisted of Scottish Border pipes, which were not of typical origin, powered by a bellows rather than mouth, two alternately tuned fiddles, and last but not least, the acoustic guitar. This amazing collaboration fueled the stage from the powerhouse regions of such lands with the traditional stomping, to the delicately arranged and near melancholy melodies. Typically, the guitar remains as a rhythm instrument in the Celtic world, but the chains of restraint were broken last night as lead guitar melodies spewed out in a wildly organized manner. The bands speaker, Ben Miller, is apparently quite the knowledgeable historian in matters of the Celtic background stories behind the songs they play which is quite refreshing really since many of the numbers are instrumental in nature and the musical voice does not reveal either the sadness, oppression, or happiness hidden within the musical notes. Anita MacDonald devoured her fiddles with organized abandon. Her quick witted fingers not only kept the pace but superseded in accuracy and speed. Her  lively Irish stepdancing not only pleased the crowd, but was very true to form. The music is touching, rambunctious, and and sweet as portrayed on their new CD, “A Day at the Lake” where many of the styles witnessed are ever present and finely recorded. A wonderful evening of Celtic collusion. 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

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“Childsplay” Live at The Gracie Theatre

 Along comes a battalion of twenty one wonderful musicians placed together in a rolling menagerie of singing, virtuosity, and instrumental expertise. The magnificent compilation of musicians joined together from all different portions of musical experience stemming from the Boston Pops, the Colorado Philharmonic, and with John Williams are all influenced by Irish, Scottish, and Appalachian fiddle traditions. The amazing brainchild of Bob Child and his hand made fiddle masterpieces extends itself to a huge onstage show where the fullness of sound knows no bounds. Their new and sixth CD “As the Crow Flies” is reminiscent of the aforementioned influences and a whole lot more. Such an intense format sparks a wide circle of improvisation as per all of the mastery this band of minstrels in the gallery. This melodic event takes place at the prestigious Gracie Theatre  on Friday November 17th t 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased by calling…

207-941-7888 or online GRACIETHEATRE.COM

See you there…and bring your stomping shoes.

 

Bangor Celtic Crossroads Presents “BARRULE” live at the Hammond Street Congregational Church (from the wee isle of Man)

   I asked this talented triumvirate what Barrule meant, and without hesitation a tale had begun to spin, much like during their wonderful performance, adding humor and bits of stories both of their experiences here in the states as well as back home. And as we all know, this portion of the world is duly noted for its colorful legends and folklore. It seems Barrule is a mythical place on the isle of man located in the Irish sea where a sea god exists which may sway its will upon anything within its path. This legend still holds true today. These boys came together a few years ago and veered in and out of other bands yet continued to play together. Keeping a most fresh approach to their art, they adopted many various styles of music and holding on to what could be gleaned into their triumphant trio. Each of them play many instruments which incorporates their accumulation of township tastes. In as much as different towns have different dialects, the music styles become somewhat territorial in nature, only to be melded into other styles and variations which creates new flavors as part of the freshness musicians seek after. The album “Manannan’s Cloak” is an amazing compilation of these aforementioned styles and hidden virtuosity one will pick up on who holds an ear for multi-notation (or just fast fingers.) They filled the walls of the church with foot stomping as well as tenderness ranging from fast numbers to ballads from home. This is a very well rounded band which can flee in any direction and keep you within its wide range of musical circles. A great event.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Gentle Giant/Three Piece Suite (and then there were giants)

     As our world turns we admire some new talent and some we should be seriously scoffing at. Our GIANT friends as gentle as they may be, have through the years accompanied themselves with one of the most unique combinations of musical tyranny. They’ve landed in the midst of progressive rock with an odd paragon at every turn. One could attempt to describe them as Yes has a head on collision with The Mothers of Invention with Frank Zappa at the helm. The music is fantastically arranged with multi vocal spheres of sound surrounded by masterful and may I add intricate walls of distinct virtuosity. This CD compilation compiled of selections from their first three albums unites and writes a prequel to where the Giants direction was heading. This is a grand collection spanning from the acoustical methodology of the bands talents all the way to the experimental. The Blue Ray offers incredulous instrumentals showing the areas of bestowed musical ranges from instrument to instrument. There are extras which  will allow you to sample for yourself as well. This is indeed and honest calliope of sound only revisited by the only giant left standing.     

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos By Susan D’Alessandro

Ruaile Buaile Live at Next Generation Theatre (there’s a new style in town)

  Celtic roots have long since held a most traditional foothold in the known world as a mythical and ancestral style of music. It leaned heavily upon its Irish lore for stories of old and family customs. These ideas have most certainly been upheld through the years and have shaped what we’ve come to know as Celtic music. That is until four young lads known as Ruaile Buaile (rhymes with Julia Julia) came onto the scene and have changed all that. Their perspective with regard and respect for the style, which shines through, has been altered to fit everyone’s need for a most diversified musical style. Incorporating rock, folk, traditional, in heavier and lighter numbers have opened up the world to a whole new technique with a Celtic flair. With this new concept, many more can enjoy this wave of music reaching an even wider audience hitting on contemporary as well as classics. They are definitely a live band that perform with precision, playing with all they’ve got to give. Their personal influences shine through their songs with a healthy dose of improvisation and jamming. Their new album “Commotion” is a grand example of how these personal influences have driven the band to incorporate a live energy within their studio recordings. The Celtic rules have now been broken with due honor and vivacious power. 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Dragonfly Farm & Winery (a retreat for the spirit)

     Many times we search for solace from the very things that surround us. Through all of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, there is a place you can escape to. If you delve a little further and enter into a wonderful little town called Stetson in Maine you may have just found what you were looking for, the Dragonfly Farm and Winery.

There you will find  your enchanting hostess, Temi, who will take you on a journey through the flavorful libations produced on the very premises. The more you taste these elite wines and their ever unique flavors, the more frequent flyer miles your mouth will acquire. There is an extensive combination of tasty delights creatively titled to suit their distinctive flavors such as Raspberry Riot, Berry Con2sion, and Common Sense. The Candle Waster, aptly named as a reference to burning the midnight oil is a refreshing cranberry wine originated to wile the night away in bountiful conversation. Blackberry Bewitched overloads our senses for those who wish to indulge in a reddish wine feel. Blueberry Bliss is just that…poses as a wine and then infiltrates you with its dessert like tendencies. Owners Todd and Treena Nadeau have gone to great lengths to make certain you leave with a smile and a bottle in each hand (maybe even more). Feel the ambiance for yourself and walk the fields where eleven hundred vines stand at attention as sentinels of gusto waiting to serve you. An atmosphere where you will be liberated to the world of wine as never before. Allow your spirit to meet the hideaway you’ll want to retreat to.

Dragonfly Farm & Winery

1069 Mullen Road Stetson Maine 04488

(207) 296-2226

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Ten Bucks Theatre Presents “Shakespeare Under the Stars” The Merry Wives of Windsor

      The great Bard, the weaver of tragedies, the writer of writers who can be still your beating heart…Well this time he has taken quite a turn. This highly comedic and entertaining Falstaff fiasco will toss you to the parallel universe of Shakespeare’s humorous side of life. A most intriguing self inflicted mess of meddling misadventure turns our pompous Master Falstaff into a target to the delight of those he wished to deceive. The actors are brilliant (and who wouldn’t be to memorize Shakespeare) with their exaggerated development of their colorful characters. Be sure to keep watch for their wordless facial expressions which sometimes say more than their words, not to mention the not too blatant and yet not too hidden Monty Python references complete with accents. See this masterpiece performed again at Fort Knox in Bucksport Thursday through Sunday (August 3,4,5, and 6) at 6 P.M. and prepare to be dazzled. The fault lies not in our stars but in not attending. (469-6553 for tickets or e-mail fofk1@aol.com for more information fortknox.maineguide.com/). 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro