Scottish & Irish folk songs combined with Lord of the Rings music and Celtic music fun at Renaissance Faires

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Opus Fantasy Arts Festival Review

Wow! We had an absolutely amazing time at Opus Fantasy Arts Festival in Denver, Colorado. This year was a zillion times better than last with a great new hotel, well-organized events, concerts, and lots of great sessions. You wouldn't imagine Irish sessions at a Fantasy convetion, but I'm sure everyone would agree that craic was hot this weekend!

A highlight for me was, I finally got to meet Stonecircle. I featured them a while back in my Celtic MP3s Music Magazine, but it was a real treat to finally see them perform live. Stonecircle combines guitar, flute, uillean pipes, fiddle and bodhran with Mary Johnston-Coursey's gorgeous vocals. They have an incredible contemporary Celtic fusion sound, and best of all, they're good down-to-earth people. I had a nice time chatting with guitarist George Schoemaker over breakfast.

We also spent a lot of time in the vendor's room jamming with Stonecircle and our friends, Kindred Spirit. Their Friday evening show was a three-piece symphony of sound that included a gorgeous rendition of "Star of the County Down" from their "Dispelling All Woes" CD and a beautiful harp-lead tune called, "Nancy's Waltz" that I really hope is on their next album!

Our session in the vendors room even included members of Denver's latest Celtic group, O'Leary's Ghost. This 7-piece band drew huge cheers from the crowds. They've one powerful, BIG sound that includes some of Denver's most-prominent sessioners.

I was sad to miss Saturday's session. Every sessioner I saw that evening came away buzzing. But at least I got to see another favorite of mine, Goth legend, Voltaire. He's no Celt, but he's a brilliantly funny storyteller and songwriter.

All in all, I'm sure folks will be raving about this Convention for a while. And the buzz will make next year better than ever!

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Monday, May 17, 2004


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