High-energy, fiddle-fueled Celtic rock comes to Rock Hall, MD as the San Francisco-based band Tempest brings their Irish roots & reels, Scottish & Scandinavian ballad-laced progressive rock to the Mainstay on Saturday, April 21 at 8 pm.
Admission is $20. For information and reservations call 410-639-9133. Information is also available at the Mainstay’s website.
For more than 20 years, Tempest has been exploring the unlikely intersection of Celtic/Scandinavian traditional music and progressive rock. The result is a never too loud but always exciting, danceable groove that never abandons melody and tradition. Through years of touring, they have grown a strong following on both coasts and at Irish and Celtic festivals nationwide. They have played major festivals including the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Denmark’s Skagen Festival, Britain’s Cropredy Festival and the Winnipeg Folk Festival (Canada) as well as countless American Celtic festivals.
Their most recent recording “Another Dawn” is the group’s 15th release and 12th studio album. It showcases all the creative musical color and texture that comes through in a Tempest live performance.
Based in San Francisco, the group was founded and is fronted by Oslo native Lief Sorbye who sings lead, plays a double-necked electric mandolin among other instruments and is recognized as a driving force in modern folk-rock. California fiddler Kathy Buys is the band’s newest member. She was a medal winner in the 2007 Comhaltas Irish music competition and has a great love of traditional Irish and World music. Cuban-born drummer Adolfo Lazo, colors the band’s sound with inventive rhythms and a steady rock beat. Bassist Brian Fox, is a dual citizen of the US and Ireland, has an advanced degree in Ethnomusicology and is Editor in Chief at Bass Player magazine. Guitarist Gregory Jones is the latest in a long line of Tempest guitarists with fiery licks and a hard-rocking approach to Celtic music.
“I formed the band in 1988 because I got tired of playing acoustic folk music,” said founder Lief Sorbye. “It didn’t have the impact I was looking for – I wanted to make a lot more noise! I always tapped my foot to a fiddle tune rather than pop music. It communicated to me on a primal level more than other music.”
So Sorbye searched for rock musicians rather than folk musicians so that the band could explore folk with freshness. Through many personnel changes they have been able to do just that. Sorbye said. “Most members who left chose a different lifestyle. They got married, had kids… It’s hard to be a full-time musician ‘on the side’ … but actually it’s inspiring for us to have new people. It gives us a chance to explore different avenues.”
Their music ranges from pub-ready stompers to contemplative instrumentals to ballads about knights and knaves. It includes rocked-out traditional Celtic tunes, such as their adaptation of “Black Jack Davy,” and original compositions like “The Great Departure.” They usually include a traditional song or two in Sorbye’s native Norwegian, such as “Jomfru,” a ballad about a maiden stolen away from her own wedding. All three songs can be found on their latest album “Another Dawn”. Also on the album is their cover of The Rokes’ song “Live for Today,” which was made popular by the American rock band The Grass Roots.
“I think the music moves people in different ways,” Sorbye said. “And because it’s very high-spirited and full of energy, that’s what we get back from the audience. There’s a real exchange there.”
“Whether you’re into folk music or rock ’n’ roll, it doesn’t matter, you’ll find something you like about us. We have enough energy to satisfy the young punkers, but they can also bring their grandmas because they love dancing to us, as well.”
“Working with this musical form is timeless,” said Sorbye. “You don’t outdate yourself in the market. You might be trendy for, say, five minutes, but you’ll never outdate yourself.”
C. Woodrow Irving writing for Washington Post in 2006 said, “What a rock fan gets out of listening to Tempest is a sense of just how influential traditional European folk music has been to some of the great rock bands. Try listening to Tempest and not hearing just where Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull got some of their best ideas.”
The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), non profit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.
The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. .
For information and reservations call the Mainstay at 410-639-9133. More information is also available at the Mainstay’s website.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Upcoming Mainstay performances include:
April 22 Ann Hennessy Live Poets’ Society Poetry Reading
April 29 University of Delaware Jazz Ensemble
May 3 Max’s Mainstay All-Stars Reunion
May 10 Ramblin’ Jack Elliot
May 12 Verroneau
May 26 Honey Dewdrops
June 1 Tribute to Pete Seeger: Betty and the Boomers
June 2 Tribute to Pete Seeger: Tom Paxton
June 9 Guy Davis