Musician travels from Ireland for a Fraser Christmas |

Musician travels from Ireland for a Fraser Christmas

by Cyndi McCoy
Fraser, Colorado

Fraser, Colorado ” When Dave and Kathy Naples went on a mission trip to help the Nicaraguan people, they came away with a sense of accomplishment, as well as a kindred spirit in music.

Staying at the same hotel as their church group was Anja Peter, 25-year-old Irish accordionist. Her Gaelic captured Dave’s attention and by the end of the trip he and Kathy, musicians in Grand County Irish band Claddagh, and Peter brought out their instruments to entertain together at the hotel bar. Feeling a deep connection, the Naples couple asked Peter if she would be interested in coming to America to play during their holiday concert.

“She’s not just a good player but a neat person,” Dave said.

Peter, a veterinarian, has been living in a village called Bradford in east County Clare, said to be one of the most thriving music scenes in the country. She learned to play accordion and penny whistle with her dad and she would regularly accompany family and friends to play at dances. Her musical career branched into playing with several bands, including The Hairy Marys.

“Apart from the appeal of the music itself, it’s all about the people and having a good craic (time),” she said.

She had never been to the United States and with their shared passion for Irish music, she accepted the opportunity to play with her new friends. She and English fiance Ben Fife-Taylor, also a musician (bodhran, guitar), make their musical debut this weekend in the United States as Claddagh presents its fourth annual Christmas with Claddagh performance.

Other members and friends who round out Claddagh’s energy and talent include Dennis Stafford, Sarah Clements and Becky Shaw. The band’s past three performances have been sold out and with demand so great, Claddagh is happy to announce two shows will be available this year.

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. Dave plays guitar, balalaika, percussion, udu, bodhran, djembe and sings lead vocals.

Special guests include Tom Camillo (bass), alto Carole Williams, and soprano Lori Ouri. The program includes traditional tunes in Claddagh’s distinct, “toe-tapping” style. Modern Celtic classics intertwine with modern vigor and soul ” many of the tunes incorporating a variety of dances like the jig, polka, and waltz. Four of the songs will be off Claddagh’s “7 Dragons” album, and there will also some new stuff, including a new piece the group has been working on. Holiday hits include “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “We Three Kings,” “Saw Three Ships,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “12 Days of Christmas,” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

The cultural celebration is family friendly. Limited tickets will be available at the doors, which open each night at 6 p.m. for Irish-style appetizers. Dessert will be served during intermission and the second half will begin at 8:45 p.m. There will also be a cash bar.

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