Blackthorn, a Canadian Celtic folk band from Vancouver, will open Kimberley’s 2016 Live at Studio 64 spring season on Friday, March 4, with a concert of traditional and contemporary Celtic music. The program will feature jigs and reels, airs and ballads rooted in Scottish, Irish, English and French traditions, including original compositions by members of the band that can be heard on their recent albums. It promises to be a high energy, toe-tapping time.
Blackthorn’s four instrumentalists all sing vocals. Rosie Carver on fiddle is a classically trained violinist, associate director of Vancouver’s Corelli Strings and founder and director of the West Coast Fiddleheads. Her instrumental compositions can be heard on the band’s recent album, Sweet Forget-Me-Not.
Michelle Carlisle plays flute, piccolo, penny whistle and fife. She started her musical career playing classical, jazz, Latin and blues before turning to the complex harmonies and rhythms of Celtic music and joining Blackthorn over a decade ago.
Michael Viens plays 6 & 12-string guitars, harmonica and bohdran. He started his career as a saxophonist and singing in an acappella choir before joining Blackthorn in 1995. Michael co-hosts weekly traditional music sessions in a couple of Lower Mainland locations as well as hosting the Vancouver Co-op Radio show, In the Claddagh Ring, on Friday nights.
The fourth member of the group, Tim Renaud, plays bass, bodhran, and octave-mandolin. Tim writes music in the traditional style as well as producing and engineering albums, including Blackthorn’s recent Sweet Forget-Me-Not.
Since 1989 Blackthorn has been appearing regularly to great acclaim at concerts, festivals, and Highland Games across Western Canada and the Pacific North West of the USA. In that time they have produced 5 albums, their latest, Open Skies, the title song of which is a tribute to Michelle’s home province of Saskatchewan, was released in September, 2015. Previous albums are Sweet Forget-Me-Not in 2008, Singing the Travels in 2003, Market Town in 1996, and their first album, The Dark Island, released in 1992 but no longer available. Tunes from these albums can be heard on their website.
The March 4 concert in Studio 64 starts at 8 p.m., doors open at 7.30 p.m. for bar service and seating. Advance tickets are $22 for Kimberley arts council members, $24 for non-members, available online at www.eastkootenaysnapd.com or from Centre 64 (250-427-4919). Season tickets for the three concert series are $60 KAC members, $66 non-members. Tickets at the door are $26 if the concert isn’t sold out in advance.