Music, What makes you happy?

Archive for November, 2011

Colcannon..not the food, the US band.

I’ve known this band since the 1980s. I was introduced to them at the James restaurant and Pub in Boulder which is now Conor O’Niells.
Some of the albums that I have, they not only don’t have out anymore but some band members wished I would lose, but Three Days In May is their most recent album. The band has changed member over the years, but even as some have left the new ones have brought new talent and innovations to the group. From left to right, Mick Bolger, Jean Bolger, Brian Mullins, Cynthia Jaffe, Mike Fitzmaurice. They were kind enough to share some info about themselves with me.

Mick Bolger, singer, bodhrán player, Little bio.
Born in Ireland in 1951. After High School I moved to England where i worked various jobs — construction, spot-welding, grave-digging. Used the time for travel, too. Europe, North and East Africa. Attended the University of Lancaster 1976-1979. Got a scholarship to CU Boulder and have been in the US ever since. Became a citizen in October 2010.
How did you get started?
Well, the band started out prosaically enough. There was a little group of us that liked to get together and play tunes and drink beer. Just hanging out. Then Alex McCannon (banjo) and Peggy O’Neill (harmonium) asked me if I’d be interested in forming a band.
Along with Glenn Henderson (fiddle) we played a few very small casual gigs. But that was kind of unsatisfactory. Glenn was the only guitarist in the band and he didn’t want to put down the fiddle to pick up a guitar to accompany songs so it all kind of fizzled a bit.
Then The James Bar and Grille (sadly now defunct) decided that it wanted to have Irish music on a regular basis at the weekends Larry Worster (Dr. Larry Worster Metro State College Denver) the first guitarist in the band, took us in hand, and had us rehearse in a more focused way. He was the one who made the whole thing work and it wouldn’t have happened but for him. Well, we got the gig and worked that bar for nine years. Over the years the lineup changed, the band got a lot better and we went on to performing concerts and writing our own music. By the time we left the bar scene our performances were more like concerts than the usual rowdy bar scene — though there was plenty of that at times, too.
What instruments do you play and who manufacturer them?
My bodhrán (drum) is made by Seamus O’Kane from Dungiven, in County Derry. His bodhráns are sought after and a joy to play.
What do you like to listen too?
I don’t have music on all the time. When I do want to listen, I put on a disc or tape — I still have a lot of music on cassette and vinyl — and actually sit down and listen. But I can’t multi-task e.g. read and listen or study and listen. Recently, I’ve been listening a lot to a collection from Topic Records called ‘The Voice of the People’ and a lot of it is really old field recordings of folksong from the British Isles. It’s very unadorned and spontaneous and just full of life. I find it pretty exciting.
What makes you happy?
Singing, cooking, being with my wife and friends. Reading.
What do you do in your spare time?
The stuff that makes me happy — singing, cooking, being with my wife and friends. Reading.
Anything else you think people don’t know about you that you would like to share?
I’m pretty boring and transparent — no surprises here, really.

Jean Bolger, singer, violin.
How did you get started?
I started playing violin at age 6 and played- steadily but not very seriously- throughout my childhood. I started playing Irish music in my early twenties, right before I joined Colcannon.
What instruments do you play and who manufacturer them?
My violin was made around 1900, probably in Eastern Europe- its provenance is not very clear. I’ve been playing this same instrument since I got big enough for a full size violin, so it’s been with me over thirty years.
What do you like to listen too?
I actually haven’t done a lot of concentrated listening for the last few years- I think I was kind of “full”. Recorded music is so omnipresent today that it can become a little overwhelming. I think I’m gearing up to jump back in though. I like a lot of baroque and early music.
What makes you happy?
People always tell me I look very happy when I perform with Colcannon, and you know what? I am!
What do you do in your spare time?
I like to read, garden, sleep- I’m not much of a go-getter really; my idea of a perfect vacation is to be in a beautiful place with nothing in particular to do.
Anything else you think people don’t know about you that you would like to share?
Well, I’d hope there’s a lot they don’t know about me! I think we’d all like to be a little bit mysterious….

Brian Mullins, plays a number of instruments, also plays with Laughing Hands.Little bio.
I am multi-instrumentalist, composer and performer playing . Cittern, Guitar, Mandolin,Flute, Whistle, Tenor Banjo and occasional Chinese Erhu and perhaps Tuba. I have performed and recorded with more projects than we can list. I have also toured extensively with a residency program, bringing his enthusiasm for world music and instruments to elementary school children. (Brian has been a featured soloist with symphonies and chamber orchestras. His music was featured in short film and public television specials. Is a collector of proverbs, and aspires to yodel like his mother.)
How did you get started?
Born in the dark reaches of semi-rural Kansas, I started listening too, and longing too play, ethnic musics of all kinds, as a result of basic sensory deprivation. This gave way to a love and pursuit of exotic sounds, instruments and foods.
What instruments do you play and who manufacturer them?
Cittern ,(10 string long neck lute) made by Stephan Sobell
Mandolin made by canadian luthier Gavin Baird
Mando-cello and Tenor Banjo made by Gibson
Irish flute of forgotten origins
Sweetheart whistle and fife
Chinese Erhu made by Dunhuang
Eb concert tuba made by Conn I believe
What do you like to listen too?
Traditional Vietnamese and Chinese music, Astor Piazolla, Hermeto Pascoal, Tom Waits, Jazz, Theremin, Arvo Part, Finish, Musical Saw and Armenian music (the “Duduk”).
What makes you happy?
A good turn of a phrase, Cats, babies, tennis, diners, composing, performing ,improvising ,improve anything, jokes, dancing, camping/ hot springs and traveling in general.
What do you do in your spare time?
Compose, garden, dance, play tennis, plan musical installations, score sound tracks to silent movies.
Anything else you think people don’t know about you that you would like to share?
I am is aspiring to learn the phrase : I’m sorry (or Pardon me ) I don’t speak ….. ” that language ”
In as many languages as possible.

Cynthia Jaffe, flute player.Little bio.
I am Colcannon’s newest member. I was brought on board in 2010, when Rod Garnett, Colcannon’s flute player for many years, left the band first just on sabbatical and then for the long term. It’s been a real privilege to be with this witty and really talented bunch.
I played in a couple of different Celtic music trios in Colorado before joining Colcannon. My main musical influences are classical, folk, improvisational and Indian (Carnatic) music.
How did you get started?
I had studied classical music first (piano and flute) and eventually branched into jazz and Indian music (studying at Wesleyan University’s World Music program) – but was not a performer until recently. In the late 90’s I dove into the Irish flute and was lucky to be in a community with many good and inspiring players.
What instruments do you play and who manufacturer them?
I play a Pratten model wooden flute handcrafted by Patrick Olwell. I play a variety of penny whistles and low whistles, mainly made by Michael Burke. I also play a 6-keyed “Grey Larsen Preferred Model” Irish flute by flute maker Terry McGee.
What do you like to listen too?
Among Irish and Celtic artists I’m really fond of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Lunasa, Dervish, Claire Mann, Moving Hearts… it’s hard to think of all the many great players who inspire me! But I love many kinds of music, especially world music (Indian classical, African kora music, Zimbabwean vocal and mbira music, Afropop, Brazilian vocal music, Persian music…), not to mention Bach and a whole variety of orchestral music.
What makes you happy?
Love, of course!
And nature. And great writing, a good read, a wonderful concert, a moving solo, improvising music with others…
What do you do in your spare time?
I love to be in nature, hiking, just being.
Anything else you think people don’t know about you that you would like to share?
? It’s good to leave a little mystery… 😉

Mike Fitzmaurice, bass, guitar, he also plays with Laughing Hands. Little bio.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Adult child of Catholics, Studied painting and drawing at Pratt Institute, moved to Colorado in 1980, studied music (classical) at Univ. of Colorado, joined Colcannon in 1986 (I think) active freelance musician, performing classical, jazz, and world music.
How did you get started?
Started on guitar, was self taught, (with the help of friends of course) kept practicing.
What instruments do you play and who manufacturer them?
My bass is a 7/8 size Juzek, made in Prague in 1929, My guitars are a 1967 Martin D 28 (Brazilian rosewood) and a Lowden, made in Ireland in the late 1990s. and my bass harmonica is made by Honer, purchased on e-bay so I don’t know the date of manufacture, but it’s old. I also play the Erhu (2 string Chinese spike fiddle).
What do you like to listen too?
I listen to a wide variety of music.
What makes you happy?
Many things, beer among them.
What do you do in your spare time?
Spare time? what’s that.
Anything else you think people don’t know about you that you would like to share?
But then there would be no mystery.

Well If you would like to see them in action check out their website to see their schedule.
Also check out these sites.
I’d like to thank them for spend some time letting us get to know them.

Jam Workshop Festival starts Nov. 25th In Boulder, Co.

So you want to play with other people, now’s your chance.
As the ad says, A Three Day Musical Event For Players, All Ages, All Abilities, Nov 25, 26 & 27.
Bring your tambourine, bring your guitar, bring your French horn, bring your recorder. Friday Night Acoustic Jam at the Sink with Otis Taylor, Don Vappie, Anne Harris and Cassie Taylor.
Schedule of Events Friday 7:3-10pm
Acoustic Jam @ The Sink Restaurant, Electric Jam @ Boulder Outlook Hotel
Saturday Daytime
Workshops @ Boulder Outlook Hotel
Nighttime Jam @ Boulder Theater
Sunday Workshops & Afternoon Jam @ Boulder Outlook Hotel
For more info CheckTrance Blues Festival or call 303.443.3322 x 0
Good playing for all.

Lark Vs. Owl…..I forgot to ask who was the Lark or Owl.

Lark Vs. Owl…Interesting name for a rock/doom/pop group, and they proved to me to be a very interesting band.
This Seattle based band is part of the Wandering Infinity Production Label.
Dennis told me a little bit about them.
Could you give me a little background?
Were caged pets for a band called Yam in early to mid-00’s. During/after Yam’s demise, adopted by instrumental hip-hop group, starkiller. in 2006, flew the coop and formed Lark vs. Owl, first CD year or so later. Quick migration with Uneasy 2008-2010, but back to old feeding grounds, working on new CD 2012.
What or who inspired you?
Birds of a different feather but liked each others’ side bands (Matt Supernauty, Dennis AJBBV) and said flock it! Also Quasi’s “Including Birds” or something like that; simple/not-so-simple 2-piece band (at the time) said anything’s possible.
What instruments do you play?
Dennis bass/guitar/ukelele/vocals, Matt vocals/drums/keyboards/gong/whistles and kazoo.
What do you listen too?
Like any good songbirds we listen to too much. Wanna reinterpret old folk or John Lee Hooker-style blues but end up just covering the Ramones or Radiohead.
What makes you happy? or sad?
Happy: the courage to fly musically naked (musically only) in front of an audience. Sad: Dealing with Rubber Chickens aka: people truly faking it to make it.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Try to sleep in between reading scraps of nesting paper (Matt-Salman Rushdie jag, Dennis-NW History books).
. If you could do anything you wanted what would it be?
Continue to fly musically naked (again, musically only) in front of larger audiences, perhaps naked audiences.
If you couldn’t tell these guys are hoot, bad pun.
You can hear them and see them at on the web at these locations. Thanks again guys for sharing with us.

Build your own guitar….mandolin….banjo….I guess you can.

After I had interviewed Andy Sartori the other day I started to wonder about the ease of building a guitar.
I was surprised to learn that you can buy kits for a number of instruments and that there are a number of places on the net that teach you how.
How to build your own guitar at the Instructable site.
Build Your Own Classical Guitar with help from Jeremy Locke.
Or buy a kit and see if it’s for you.
@Guitar Kits.
Saga has kits for guitars, mandolins and banjos.
Gold Tone Banjo Kits.
Siminoff Banjo and Mandolin has kits for mandolins.
I also found kits for Violins, Dulcimers and other instruments. If your passionate about music and thought about trying to build your own you should probable check these out.

Andy Anderson Sartori…..musician and so much more.

I was first introduced to Andy through ReverbNation and what I heard was amazing but what I found out about him was even more amazing. The bio on the website doesn’t tell you all of what makes Andy such a cool person. I recently got to speak with Andy and found out more. He was born in Brazil and has traveled and lived all over. Currently he is living in the US. He says he misses the big city life. Both his parents were musicians, his mother playing the piano and his father playing the acoustic guitar. Andy started playing chords at the age of 9, later taking some classes by the time he was 17 he had joined a band as was playing night clubs. During those days he played things like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and others. By the time he became 20 he was playing from 8 in the morning till 10 at night. “If music is a drug, I’m addicted.” He is hungry to play as he told me.
Andy is not only a musician but composer, writer, arranger and producer. He likes his music to have a positive message. His musical roots go back to classical music. Mozart is his favorite, after that comes Vivaldi and Bach. His metal inspirations come from Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell to name just some of them. Andy explained that the likes the melodic qualities of these groups. When he listens to music he prefers vinyl over CD’s, like most rockers I know who say the sound quality is deeper from vinyl.
In his spare time he says he is an organizer but he is also a designer. Making and designing bracelets, buckles, belts and more. “It’s my hobby.” One of the other thing I was surprised by when talking with Andy was that he made his own guitars. Your passion is music why not, although one of his guitars was made by Brazilian guitar maker Leandro Copetti of Copetti Guitars .
Andy loves his fans and as he told me, they are what make you. He’s a real true person and he has a great attitude and he is personable to his fans. You can’t alienate your fans then you will have nothing he told me. It’s a privilege to be playing and doing what I love for my fans.
Andy and his Band are managed By Full Force Entertainment’s James McComas.
They have just finished a master version of their album, FORGED BY FIRE.
If you are into Progressive/Metal/Rock you should check it out.
Thanks again to Andy for taking the time to chat with me.

Myspace page.

Dead by April…..Sunrise Avenue…european bands on SingStar.

European bands as I mentioned before are part of the SingStar fun. For us here in the US alot of them may be unknown, and for those of us that play we are getting a wider look at the groups over there.
Dead by April, according to some they are Alternative Metal or Melodic Death Metal. From Sweden this band first hit the scene in May of 2009 with their debut self-titled album.
Jimmie Strimell does screaming vocals as well as clean vocals and also sings for Death Destruction and in the past Nightrage.
Zandro Santiago also vocals.
Marcus Wesslén plays Bass guitar.
Alex Svenningsson plays the drums.
Session and Touring Members: Pontus Hjelm, guitars, keyboards, backing vocals and songwriter for the band. Joel Nilsson plays guitars along with Jonas Ekdahl.
The song released for play on Sing Star is “Losing You” which you can see on their YouTube site. Their most recent album “Incomparable” was released in Sept. 2011.
The other band we are spotlighting is Sunrise Avenue. This European band hails from Finland forming in 1992. They have released 4 albums “Out of Style” is the most recent released 2011. One of the songs from this album featured on SingStar is “Not Again” along with 7 other songs form their previous albums. Their newest video is “Somebody Help Me“.
Te band is made up of Samu Haber who is the lead vocalist and guitar player.
Raul Ruutu plays the bass guitar.
Sami Osala is their drummer.
Riku Rajamaa also plays guitar.
This group falls into the alternative rock, pop rock and soft rock. Here is the link to their website which is in English.
Keep on discovering music.

Paying Homage….from another perspective.

Artist pay their dues or so it’s said. Fans go to the shows, friend their favorites on Facebook, MySpace or sign up on there websites.
But then there are the few who play video games and show their appreciation of artists in a different way.
These people play, Halo, Warcraft, Guild Wars and make machinima. Confused, don’t know what it is.
It’s making a movie with animated computer graphics of sorts.
Here’s some that we liked.
Here Without You
Re: Your Brains
Too Sexy
Shes Too Fat For Me
Black Betty
Stacy\'s Mom
Blow Me Away
Kuzu Kuzu
And a few non-machinima
Tik Tok
Dance Party in Iraq
ICe ICe Baby
Good job to some wonderful soldiers.

Internet Radio…….Free and Fee…just a few of the many.

Even if you do a simple search you come up with a good list of online radio stations.
Most of us have played with Pandora, which has a free as well as a fee based component.
SHOUTCast part of WinAmp software has a large group of free radio stations.
iHeart Radio which is part of FaceBook, don’t know what it’s like.
Jango another free one which so far I am really liking.
Slacker says it has a free as well as a fee based, haven’t tried it out.
Live 365 is all fee based, I also haven’t tried it.
Let me know if you have tried some of these and leave a comment about them.
We are all looking for the best when we are stuck working at the PC most of the day and don’t want to just listen to the same old thing.

Billy K Band……Red Dirt and Country.

I’m sure some of you don’t know what Red Dirt is and well I didn’t either till I had the chance to get some information from Bill Kelley about his band. Red Dirt if you don’t know is has to do with the color of the dirt in Oklahoma and the music there.
Bill Kelley is the lead singer and songwriter for the Billy K Band.I had the chance to ask him a little about the band himself and what’s been going on.
Love Playing & Writing music. Im blessed to be playing with guys that I not only get along with on stage but enjoy spending time with off stage. We have a great relationship together. I enjoy picking up the guitar and seeing what comes out next. Danny Purser(Lead Guitar) and Jaimee Anderson(Drums) are like family. We fight like brothers and love like brothers. In the end we always have each others back.
What did you do before this band and how did you get started?
In the past, I have been a front man in a few Rock Bands starting in the late 80’s to 2008. Some of them include, Shattered Glass, Shays’ Rebellion, Tangent, and Dizzy Down. The music I was writing fit more into a singer songwriter category. This eventually sparked my interest in Red Dirt and Country. Ballads and telling stories with my music came natural. I play Guitar and Piano but most my songs came from sitting with my guitar and just letting it happen. I had a guitar in my hand at an early age. Although piano lessons came first, when I was 12 and sparked my interest in music.
What instruments do you play and who manufactured them?
The types of guitars I use are an Ovation and Washburn. The keyboard I use on stage is an Alesis.
What do you do in your down time?
My time relaxing is usually with my dogs, horses and donkeys.
What’s new now?
I am currently signed with Richard L Watson, VP of Redtail Records. We are currently working on my Album to be recorded in the early part of 2012 at the Tracking Room in Nashville. I am currently showcased in American Artist Showcase and RedStarr Entertainment Magazine.
I’d like to thank Bill Kelley for the time to give me this interview and best of luck.
If you want to see and hear more about the Billy K Band check out these websites.
Billy K Band.
YouTube Billy K Band.
FaceBook Billy K Band.
Billy K Band ReverbNation.