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Solas in wheelhouse

Solas, Sun April 6th, 2pm

Acclaimed Irish-American band Solas will be presenting traditional and original Irish tunes and songs at Don Quixote’s in Felton, CA on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 2pm. This matinee show will feature the story of “Shamrock City,” about a mining town in Butte, Montana through the eyes of an Irish immigrant (Michael Conway, the great-great uncle of Seamus Egan, one of the founders of Solas) at the turn of the 20th century in a multimedia presentation. Solas has been performing together for some 18 years, releasing 11 albums and winning the award for Best Celtic Recording from the Association for Independent Music three times. They’re known for their fresh arrangements of old traditional tunes plus compelling topical original songs. Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (fiddle, vocals) anchor the band and are joined by Mick McAuley (accordions, low whistle, concertina, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and newest member and lead singer, Niamh Varian-Barry. Presented by the Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay.

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Año Nuevo Bluegrass Festival, March 7th-9th

The weekend-long Spring Brookdale Bluegrass Festival has moved 25 miles up the coast from Santa Cruz to Pescadero, CA, north of Año Nuevo State Park on Highway 1 to the Costanoa Lodge. Concerts start at 5:00pm on Friday evening March 7, 2014 followed by all-night jamming. Pete Wernick and  Jean Butterfield will lead workshops Saturday morning, followed by more concerts and non-stop jamming. The festival will conclude with an open mic on Sunday morning. Performers include Pete & Joan Wernick, David Thom and Jim Lewin, the Naked Bootleggers, Bill Evans, Cactus Bob & Prairie Flower, Regina Bartlett and Friends, The Stoney Mountain Ramblers, The Tuttles with A.J. Lee (sans Molly Tuttle who is away at college), and many others. Tickets are available for all or part of the weekend, as is lodging. No worries about the weather, as performances will be indoors as needed.

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Lúnasa, Mon Feb 24th

Lúnasa, one of the outstanding traditional bands from Ireland,  will be performing at Don Quixote’s in Felton, CA on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 7:30pm. Presented by the Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay, the band includes Seán Smyth (fiddle and low whistles), Kevin Crawford (flute, low whistles and tin whistles), Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistles), Trevor Hutchinson (double bass) and the group’s newest member Ed Boyd (guitar). As an all-instrumental band, they play a diverse array of their own compositions, as well as traditional melodies from Ireland and other Celtic regions including Brittany, Galicia, Asturias, and Scotland, often weaving tunes in medleys that build in rhythmic excitement with intricate harmonies. Nominees and winners of numerous awards including Best Traditional Album of the Year in Ireland, and Folk Album of the Year in the BBC Radio 2 Awards, they have also performed for President Obama in the White House and collaborated with Billy Bragg, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Roseanne Cash in concert to much acclaim.

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Carlos Núñez Band Feb. 20th

Master of the gaita (Spanish bagpipe), flute, and recorder, Galician multi-instrumentalist Carlos Núñez will be appearing with his band on Thursday, February 20, 2014, 7:30pm at Don Quixote’s in Felton, CA. Carlos blends the music of his native Galicia (the Celtic Northwest region of Spain) with the traditional music of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and other areas of the world including Cuba, Brazil and Argentina. His most recent double-album features numerous guest artists including Jackson Browne, Los Lobos, Sinéad O’Connor, Laurie Anderson, the Chieftains, the Buena Vista Social Club and many more, as examples of the diversity in his interests. Presented by the Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay.

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John McCutcheon, Fri Jan 17th

John McCutcheon makes his annual visit to Santa Cruz, in a benefit concert for the Resource Center for Nonviolence in their concert hall on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:30pm. John is a well-regarded folk musician who is a songwriter, storyteller, singer, and multi-instrumentalist (fiddle, banjo, guitar, hammered dulcimer) and has recorded over 30 albums for adults and kids, receiving multiple Grammy nominations. His tunes and songs range from the traditional to poignant stories that relate to political and socially conscious issues. Folk music is featured on KZSC’s Backroads show, every Sunday from noon-2pm.

Hillbillies from Mars

Hillbillies from Mars, Sun Jan 5th

The Hillbillies from Mars will be landing at the Felton Community Hall for the first Sunday of the month Contra Dance sponsored by the non-profit Santa Cruz Traditional Dancers on January 5, 2014 at 7:00pm. The Hillbillies are a favorite dance band from the San Francisco Bay Area that’s been together since 1982, combining elements of Celtic and American traditional fiddle music blended with some swing, Latin and African rhythms to keep your feet moving. The band includes interstellar musicians Kevin Carr (fiddle, bagpipes, accordion, banjo), Ray Bierl (fiddle, guitar), Paul Kotapish (mandolin, guitar, percussion), and Daniel Steinberg (keyboards, flute, percussion). Susan Petrick will be prompting the dances. While you can pick up the dance moves on the fly, you’re welcome to attend a newcomers orientation session at 6:40pm for a head start. The tradition of contra dancing involves frequent changes of partners and movements with everyone in the room, so you’re welcome to come alone or bring a friend.