Fraser / Live Music: ‘As if a family was playing together in the kitchen’
May 23, 2008
Local Irish band Claddagh is about to release its second CD and a party has been scheduled in its honor. The cultural celebration, whose admission cost includes a copy of the new CD, serves up shepherd’s pie and appetizers, desserts catered by Betty’s Bakery and Cafe, coffee, and a cash bar will be available.
The event will be family friendly, with patrons at tables for the concert in the fireplace room.
“This way, they can eat and relax without having to move to the sanctuary for the concert,” said band member and CD producer Dave Naples.
Titled “Seven Dragons,” the CD’s name was an inspiration from Naples, who is also finishing up a children’s book with the same name. The Irish story tells of the Dance of Seven Dragons, when all the dragons gather once a year to dance around a fire and band together to look into some strange occurrences. A cousin from England is helping put together colorful images for the book, set for release tentatively by Christmas. Local artist Lisa Tarr of Tarr Art, LLC, who created the CD cover, also helped with the book.
Naples said the album took about one-and-a-half years to make and that it is “right up there with the best.” Recorded at Moja Magic Studio in Boulder, its success has already been reflected from national distribution and several songs are already being played on a radio station in Ireland.
Musicians included on the album are Dennis Stafford, Sarah Clements, Becky Shaw, Kathy Naples and Yaniv Salzberg.
Members of the band are “all homegrown folks.” But, with at least 17 instruments, they are a force on stage and in the studio.
Stafford plays 12-string guitar, concertina, recorder, bodhran, spoons, and sings vocals. Clements plays fiddle, mandolin, tambourine and sings vocals. Shaw plays flute, piccolo, penny whistle, güiro, shaker, and sings vocals. Kathy plays flute, penny whistle, cavasa, and buffalo drum. Salzberg, a guest performer with Claddagh, plays cavaco banjo, bass, guitar and rainstick. Dave plays guitar, balalaika, percussion, udu, bodhran, djembe and sings lead vocals. Scott Simmons, their new bass player who also lends vocals, said he likes playing with such good musicians that that he is really having fun playing with the band.
Claddagh was called a “kitchen band” by an interviewer from KGNU who hosted a live radio broadcast with the band in 2007 in the Gantz family kitchen.
“He was taken with our energy and our inviting sound, as if a family was playing together in the kitchen,” Dave said. “Everyone knows that a great kitchen is full of energy, fun, a little chaos and great friends. Claddagh has all these ingredients and more.” The result, he said, “is a full course of music for your Irish soul.”
Songs are “Bayne Water” (Kathy’s favorite), “Far Away,” “Julia Clifford’s Polka/Din Tarrant’s Polka,” “Molly Malone,” “Cooley’s Reel,” “Si Bheag Si Mhor” (which means “Big Hill-Little Hill”), “Step It Out, Mary,” “The Butterfly/Whiskey Before Breakfast,” “Kesh Jig/Morrison’s Jig,” “I’ll Tell Me Ma,” “Irish Blessing,” and originals “Tail Waggin’ Dog” and “The Dance of the Seven Dragons” by Dave. “Tail Waggin’ Dog,” he says, was inspired by his and Kathy’s “very friendly and energetic” border collie Spencer and is one of Clements’ favorites (along with “Julia Clifford”).
Shaw’s favorite songs are “Julia Clifford’s Polka/Tindarrant” and “Step It Out Mary.” She and the members agree the project was a lot of hard work (especially perfecting everything in the studio) but very rewarding. Stafford, whose favorite song is “Kesh Morrison’s Jig,” said “The resulting musical work was well worth the effort.”
“I feel that the CD is a great marker of time for the band,” Clements said. “We are even better now then we were last year.”
“This was great fun ” Give us a listen,” Dave said. He also wanted to let the community to know how much Claddagh appreciates the local support and that members hope to see residents at the CD release party to help them celebrate. Copies are also available on the band’s Web site and at The Paper Clip in Granby.