Kevin Burke, Christian Lemaître and André Brunet to appear in York, PA, Sept 26, 2010

In what has been described as “a meeting of minds, music, and cultural roots,” Celtic Fiddle Festival brings its concert of fiddle solos and ensemble playing to York’s Yorktowne Hotel on Sunday, September 26, at 4 p.m. The concert is sponsored by Susquehanna Folk Music Society.

Celtic Fiddle Festival is three of the finest folk violinists in the world who represent three distinct Celtic traditions in their solo sets and then come together for stunning ensemble playing. The group members are:

  • Kevin Burke—a world-renowned Irish fiddler whose career includes stints with the iconic Irish groups The Bothy Band and Patrick Street. Playing in the fluid, highly-ornamented County Sligo style, Burke has been honored with a National Heritage Award by the National Endowment for the Arts. Burke has toured and recorded with many artists, including Kate Bush, Arlo Guthrie, Paul Brady, and Christie Moore.
  • Christian Lemaître—who honed his remarkable skills playing the hypnotic Breton melodies at night dances throughout Brittany, France’s Celtic region. He was one of the first to translate traditional Breton music to the fiddle. His style and repertoire also show influences from southern and eastern Europe.
  • André Brunet—a French-Canadian fiddler who plays Quebec’s infectiously rhythmic tunes. He performs a unique blend of folk music originating from France, England, Ireland, and Scotland, and was featured in the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Celtic Fiddle Festival is joined by master open-tuning Brittany guitarist Nicholas Quemener who records and plays with a number of Breton and Irish artists.

Celtic Fiddle Festival was originally conceived in 1992 as a unique touring project with Burke, Lemaître and Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham. The notion was such a success that a live recording, “Celtic Fiddle Festival,” was released in 2003 to glowing critical reviews and impressive sales. Sadly, Cunningham passed away in 2003. The group’s 2005 recording, “Play On,” was dedicated to him.

Before the 4 p.m. concert, local musicians are invited to participate in a free 2:30 p.m. Celtic music jam session. Listeners also are welcome.

Concert tickets are $22 General Admission, $18 for SFMS members, and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at or toll-free (800) 838-3006. This event is made possible with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society web site at

Written by John Hope. Published in Central Pennsylvania Traditions Sept/Oct 2010. the newsletter of the Susquehanna Folk Music Society.

Susquehanna Folk Music Society Announces New Season

The Susquehanna Folk Music Society, a folk and traditional arts organization that presents concerts in Harrisburg, York and Camp Hill, announces its 2010-2011 Concert Series. The series will include fifteen concerts showcasing an eclectic mix of folk music styles including Celtic, Old-Time, Blues, Hawaiian Slack Key and contemporary folk music. Forty-four musicians, hailing from Canada, France, Ireland, Scotland, Columbia, and the United States will be featured. Headliners for the series include the seminal Scottish group Battlefield Band, hammered dulcimer wizard John McCutcheon and avant-garde fiddler Darol Anger. Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the series will also showcase three influential American Masters; Irish-American Fiddler Kevin Burke, Prairie Home Companion favorite Greg Brown and Hawaiian Slack Key Guitarist Keola Beamer. The Susquehanna Folk Music Society has programmed events in Central Pennsylvania region for over 25 years. During that time they have produced more than 700 events.

The season will open with Celtic Fiddle Fest; a performance that brings together three outstanding traditional fiddlers from different Celtic cultures; Kevin Burke from Ireland, Christian Lemaître from Breton in France and André Brunet from Quebec. Celtic Fiddle Fest will perform 4 pm Sunday, September 26 at the Yorktowne Hotel in York. During the first concert in October Cimarrón will bring authentic Columbian music and dance to the Martin Library in York for a free performance at 11:30 am on Saturday October  2nd. Later that same day French Canadian Claude Méthé will perform with Dentdelion at 7:30 pm at the Camp Hill United Methodist Church (CHUM). Finishing up the month, Darol Anger and The Republic of Strings will bring their cutting edge music to CHUM for a 7:30 concerts to be held on the 31st.

November concerts will begin with an appearance by the Scottish group Battlefield Band. Under their banner “Forward with Scotland’s Past”, Battlefield Band have been performing on the international scene for more than three decades. Their concert, held at CHUM, will be on Saturday, November 6th at 7:30 pm. On November 20th Canadian Singer/Songwriter James Keelaghan will perform at 7:30 Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg. The last concert of 2010 will feature popular Mid-Western Singer/songwriter Greg Brown who will perform at CHUM at 7:30 on December 5.

The first concert of the New Year will feature New England songwriter and humorist Bill Staines who will perform at the Fort Hunter Barn in Harrisburg at 7:30 on Saturday, January 15th. Later in January on the 29th local favorites Neidig, Koretzky, Gehret & Campbell will give a concert at 7:30 at Fort Hunter. In February folk music’s “rustic renaissance man”

John McCutcheon will perform at 4 pm Sunday, February 13 at the Yorktowne Hotel. Tired of the cold weather, concert goers will be able to enjoy the sounds of the beautiful tropical islands of Hawaii when Hawaiian slack key guitarist performs with his wife; hula dancer Moana Beamer at 7:30 February 20th at CHUM. In early March the lively French Canadian band De Temps Antan will appear on Sunday, March 6th at the Yorktowne Hotel. Later in the month on 19th New England fiddler Lissa Schneckenburger will perform with Bethany Waickman, in a show to be held at 7:30 pm at the Fort Hunter Barn in Harrisburg. April’s concerts begin on the 9th with flatpick champion and blues performer Mary Flower who will perform at 7:30 pm at the Fort Hunter Barn. The final concert of the season will occur at 7:30 on April 16th and will feature old-time banjo player Paul Brown with Ann Porcella, Bill Schmidt & John Schwab. The concert will be held at the Fort Hunter Barn in Harrisburg.

Concert tickets range between $18 and $25. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For detailed information on the 2010-2011 Concert Series, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society web site at or find them on Facebook under “Susquehanna Folk”.

Written by Jess Hayden

Susquehanna Folk Music Society partners with Strand-Capitol’s CapLive in presenting The Carolina Chocolate Drops

Susquehanna Folk members will get a $2 discount when the Carolina Chocolate Drops perform at the Capitol Theatre on Wednesday, September 8, 2010. This black string band uses jug playing, flatfoot dancing and even beatboxing to play traditional American music in an untraditional way. The trio plays the old-time music of the Carolina Piedmont. Along the way, they’ve added blues songs and Gaelic a cappella to their repertoire, while bringing a modern energy to old tunes like

General admission tickets are $20. Doors open at 7:00pm and local bluegrass band Waitin’ on a Train will open the 8:00pm show. A full service bar will be available throughout the evening.

Written by Jess Hayden

Legendary Blues and Folk Performer Chris Smither to Play at Long’s Park August 22

Lancaster — Chris Smither is considered one of the biggest names on the U.S. folk circuit. He is a major draw at music festivals and his driving folk and blues-infused style has earned him countless loyal fans. And deservedly so.  He’s spent four decades honing his superb finger-picking style, perfecting his songwriting craft and developing a rapport with audiences that is nothing short of magical. “We were looking for a singer-songwriter who was also a storyteller,” said Stella Saxton, director of the Long’s Park Summer Music Series.  “We selected Chris Smither because he’s a great performer who really knows how to energize a crowd.” The Long’s Park Amphitheater Foundation presents concerts featuring an eclectic line-up of world class musicians on Sunday evenings in the summer. Chris Smither will make his debut performance at Long’s Park on Sunday, August 22, at 7:30 p.m. with his band, The Motivators.

 Longtime fans of Chris Smither who are used to seeing him solo may wonder what his music will be like with a band. “The concert will be all about Chris Smither,” assures band member David “Goody” Goodrich. “We complement Smither’s unique style. We sit close together, play off of each other…and sometimes you can’t tell where Chris’ guitar ends and mine begins.” Goodrich, who plays electric and acoustic guitars as well as piano, is joined by percussionist Zak Trojano. The trio originally formed in 2008 to play for a festival in the Netherlands and more recently worked together on “Time Stands Still,” a Chris Smither CD lauded for its raw energy, sparse arrangements and creative interplay. So as not to drown out Smither’s signature foot-tapping, Trojano beats an old suitcase instead of a bass drum and uses recycled material (like tin cans) along with more standard percussion instruments. Perhaps the most unusual instrument they’ll play is a “Diddley Boo,” a one-stringed instrument with a pickup made from the ignition of an old car. “This was made for us by a friend,” said Goodrich, “in honor of a song that Chris sings about a Chevy Slant Six.”

 “Come up and see me after the show,” invites Goodrich, “and I’ll show you how it works.”

 To find out more about Chris Smither, visit his Website at

By Jess Hayden. Published in Showcase Now! August-September 2010