Celtic Corner
By Decimus Rock

Celts in the Capitol

The players in Louisville and Lexington are well known to LMN readers who will not be at surprised to learn that there is great talent in Frankfort as well. Our seat of power boasts two active Celtic music groups: Beyond the Pale and The Mink Run Consort. In Beyond the Pale, Jack Twombly, Bob Cox and Byn Bowen Cox share a passion for the traditional music of Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as Brittany and Cape Breton.

BTP was formed in early 1998 to meld Twombly's singing, guitars and bouzouki with Bob Cox's fiddle and Bryn Cox's harp, piano and concertina. Their musical pedigrees are impressive. Jack Tombley, known to many musicians for his expertise as a sound engineer, grew up as a folk rocker and bassist, having been a member of the critically acclaimed band "Easter Island" and a respected solo performer appearing at the Kentucky Music Festival, Louisville Homefront, Frankfort Expo and even on National Public Radio.

As a student in Arkansas in the 70's, Bob Cox played the hammered dulcimer and mandolin with a strong affection for dance music. Bob's interest in Cape Breton fiddling had led to two visits to the island where he studied with masters Buddy MacMaster and Jerry Holland. Bob also tends to the bodhran when necessary. Celtic harp is the first love of Bryn Bowen Cox who holds a degree in music from Ball State University. She has explored the use of the harp for therapy and healing and has a music practitioner's certification through the Music and Transition in Houston, Texas. Bryn's love for Celtic music has led her to study the piano style of Cape Beton with masters Joey Beaton and Hida Chiasson and in 1998, she traveled to Ireland to study Irish harp with Maire Ni Chathasaigh, Grainne Yeats and others. BTP performs at St. George and the Dragon Pub in Frankfort as well as dances and festivals. You can reach them at (502) 226-5540; rcoxfiddlr@aol.com (Cox), or (502) 227-5080 (Twombley). Rock has heard only snippets of an informal tape and it was wonderful. We hope to see them at Molly Malone's or the Irish Rover sometime soon!

Mink Run Consort is comprised of a couple of couples who joined together in 1996 to share their love of traditional tunes and ballads from early America, Ireland, Scotland and England. Sylvia Sousa Coffey plays bass fiddle and sings alto harmonies. A longtime leader of traditional folk dances for children and adults, Sylvia has served as co-director of Cumberland Dance Camp, is on staff at Terpsichore's Holiday and was a staff leader at the former Winter In The Woods and Kentucky Summer Dance School. A board member of the Frankfort Arts Foundation, Sylvia periodically leads folk dancing in Frankfort area schools and holds monthly dances in her home.

Don Coffey plays hammered dulcimer, guitar, keyboard and accordion as well as sings. An experienced vocalist, he has performed folk tunes for many years. He teaches dance band and hammered dulcimer, arranges and composes music and has directed choral groups for 15 years. A long time folk dancer, Don is a director of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation, a regular staff leader at Terpsichore's Holiday and was a co-director of the Cumberland Dance Camp. He was co-founder of the Kentucky Heritage Institute for the Traditional Arts and co-producer of its major dance events from 1982-86.

Paul Andis plays guitar, bouzouki, keyboards and penny whistle as well as vocals with the band. An experienced musician, who began as a child soprano, Paul initially played various reed instruments en route to singling and playing guitar in the 60's folk revival. Singling in Lexington coffeehouses he later formed "High Grass" a regional bluegrass band.

Diane Simmons, a longtime vocalist, sings lead and harmony vocals with MRC and provides rhythmic foundations for the band with her bodhran and a broad variety of rhythm instruments. To contact the band call (502) 747-5700 or 875-5271.

Eileen Ivers at KCA

One of the top Celtic fiddlers in world is coming to the Bomhard Theater on October 22. Ms. Ivers is bringing a band and a stepdancer with her, so it should be a great show. With much high-powered musical collaboration and many recordings to her credit, including "River Dance," Eileen is world-class, so get your tickets NOW! Rock will hunker down front for sure for this one! Thanks once again to KCA for keeping our Celtic heads filled with great music.

Cincinnati Celtic Fest

This is a first class festival of music and culture October 2 and 3 at the Cincinnati Zoo. Northern Ireland's Croagh Rua will be the headliners, supported by a big bunch of great bands and musicians including our own Ten Penny Bit (10/2) and Beyond the Pale as well as Silver Arm, Gabriel Hounds ... the list goes on.

H.O.T.S. for you!

The Heart of Tennessee Scottish Festival also takes place October 2 and 3 in Murfreesboro, TN. The Louisville Pipe Band will be performing with the Nashville Pipe Band. Call 894-0856 for more information re LPB and HOTS.

Ten Penny Bit Plays for the Queen!

...city, that is. TPB will be in the line-up at the Cincinnati Celtic Festival October 2 as well as holding forth at R. P. McMurphy's Pub on October 9. More locally, you can catch them at the Locust Grove Heritage Festival on October17 and at Molly Malone's on October 29. The big news is that TPB now has their third recording: Live at the Thomas Winery! Live albums can be dicey but Robin Loeffler (hammered dulcimer/vocals) is happy and, of course, she is her harshest critic. So it must be quite good. For more information, call Robin at 447-0581 or check out the TPB web page at: www.tenpennybit.com

Rashers on Record

Celtic bad boys, The Rashers are caught hot-handed on a new compilation: Citterns on Ice - Volume 2. They have put down their take on "Lanstrom's Pony,""Southwind" and the "Doon Reel." Check it out at: http://netserver.massmedia/~mikeb/cittern/coi2 . You can hear them live and in persona at Molly Malone's on October 9.

Celtic Halloween-Samhain

Galloglas will be hosting its fourth annual Celtic Halloween Costume Party and Bonfire at the Rudyard Kipling on Saturday, October 30. They will be joined by guests: piper Karen McKenzie and stepdancer Beth Majors. Prizes are awarded for the best costumes. The last three have been great events, so you are well advised to make reservations: 636-1311. Galloglas will also be playing live on WFPL Radio 89.3 at 8 p.m. on Friday October 29 on James Bicker's "On Second Thought," where they will talk about the Celtic origins of Halloween and play some related music. They will also be playing at the Empty Bowls benefit at Bellarmine College on October 21 and will be at Molly Malone's on October 2.

More About Molly

Don't forget the Sunday Sessions at tea time (4 p.m.) each week. It's laid back because the audience actually listens and there is often a great lineup of players, including Bardstown fiddler/raconteur Larry Green and Mark Cannon of Ten Penny Bit among others. Molly gives you your only chance this month to hear Drowsy Maggie on October 9. According to leader Gerry Forde, this is the best lineup the band has ever had and Rock must agree, they're great! All groups start at Molly's at 10 p.m. Rock would also like to see repeat performances of some wonderful groups who have played there such as Silver Arm from Cincinnati and Isla from Nashville.

Ceili! Ceili! Ceili!

Mark your calendars for Sunday November 7. The Greater Louisville Irish Cultural Society (the angels who bring us the Feis each year) is hosting another Feis fundraiser at Bellarmine College from 2 to 5 p.m. Stepdancing demonstrations by the McClanahan Academy of Irish Dance as well as participatory ceili dancing will have a firm musical foundation by our own Ten Penny Bit. You will not get to Valhalla unless you support this grand event!

Slan, Decimus Rock

Paul: Galloglas dates are: 10/2 Molly Malone's 10/21 "Empty Bowls" Bellarmine College 6:30 p.m. 10/29 WFPL 89.3 "On Second Thought" 10/30 Celtic Halloween Costume Party Rudyard Kipling 8 p.m.