This year the Games is welcoming back some of our most popular celtic music entertainment: Golden Bough, Men of Worth, Beltaine and Cathy Speer.
Golden Bough has captivated listeners with the magic and beauty of Celtic music since 1980. Annual tours have taken these modern-day minstrels throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. Fans and critics alike have expressed their enthusiasm for the performances. Their programs create an atmosphere in which the listener can enjoy unique entertainment and music that is well-received by all ages.
Golden Bough performs not only the more familiar music of Ireland & Scotland, but also the lesser-known Celtic music of Wales, Cornwall, The Isle of Man, French Brittany and Spanish Galicia. The musicians have carefully researched the authentic music of these Celtic nations, expanding on the styles to create a sound uniquely their own. Margie Butler, Paul Espinoza, and Kathy Sierra perform on an array of acoustic instruments, including Celtic harp, accordion, tin-whistle, violin, viola, mandolin, mandola, guitar, and bodhran (Celtic hand drum), supporting the pristine vocal harmonies that have become a Golden Bough trademark.
In the recording studio, as well as on stage, Golden Bough captures the essence and joy of traditional music. In the past 30 years, Golden Bough has recorded over 25 albums, gaining critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. The top international folk and ethnic music label, ARC Music, distributes the trio’s recordings worldwide. In 2001, ARC Music presented Golden Bough with the ARC Label Gold award for outstanding global sales of their recordings.
Golden Bough continues to be a driving, creative force in Celtic music and the Portland Highland Games is pleased to welcome them back to entertain us.
Men of Worth
The folk-music duo, Men of Worth, was formed by James Keigher (Ireland) and Donnie Macdonald (Isle of Lewis, Scotland) in 1986. They each play a handful of instruments, among them mandolin, guitar, concertina and bodhran, a handheld drum. James and Donnie are now living in Southern Oregon and Northern California respectively.
Men of Worth’s tunes and songs are authentic, closely connected to their heritage. Scotsman Donnie Macdonald sings some in his native Gaelic, while Irishman James Keigher includes time-polished pieces saved from the oral traditions of his native County Mayo.
The emotion and tradition of their homeland song heritage stayed with the pair. "We could
not grow away from those sounds," said Macdonald, "so we have preserved them as accurately
and authentically as we can, in our performances." "We entertain people with the real music of
our regions; we have an ancient yet fresh musical story to tell."
Sometimes that music comes from prosaic sources – Keigher wrote one song after overhearing two old ladies gossiping about him in a village market – and sometimes from traditional music passed down the generations. Several of Macdonald’s songs come from his mother’s own poetry and from Hebridean crofters’ airs.
Together Men of Worth blend their voices with harmony and support their collection of songs with their varied selection of instruments. They have a very simple approach to their presentation, and in keeping with tradition, remain true to the music and story. Their show is a unique combination of humor, exciting tunes, and soulful, heartfelt ballads.
Men of Worth are an international act and have earned much respect and success in two
decades of touring. They have played concerts across the US, from Alaska to Texas. They also take guided tours to their own musical roots; leading folk fans to the western isles of Scotland and to Ireland’s
heartland to hear the real music of the isles in its own home. Cultural presentations in schools have received rave reviews by students and teachers alike. Performing concerts, festivals, and having recorded ten
albums, Men of Worth continue the very tradition from which they evolved.
Dual Dulcimers, guitar, flute and marimbula offers a unique and bright sound to Celtic and traditional music from around the world. Beltaine is a Northwest trio that shines as bright as their name. There is a strong synergy among the members of Beltaine, as all members play both melody and harmonies on multiple instruments. The music is eclectic but not electric, with emphasis on traditional dance music and powerful songs. In live performances, Kris, Brian, and John keep it light and lively with spritely tunes, stories, and jokes – soon everyone gets to be a part of the magic of Beltaine!
Cathy Speer has been a musical guest at the Portland Highland Games for a number of years. It has become one of her favorite places to perform. With her loyal guitar, Cathy sings both traditional Celtic songs and those that she has written. Her pure and gentle voice can soothe even the most savage beast! Folks who listen come away relaxed and uplifted.
Cathy loves her Scottish heritage and owes much of her love for Celtic music to her grandmother's southern musical roots. "What I love about singing folk music is the telling of a story in a way that touches the soul."
Cathy lives in Hillsboro, Oregon, with her two youngest children who sometimes perform with her. She invites you to come and listen, and even to sing along. You may contact her to sing at your special event or venue. email@example.com