Rowan, a Celtic and World Music trio based in Lawrence, will present a concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, in Hays at the Fox Pavilion in conjunction with the Hays Arts Council’s Fall Gallery Walk.
Rowan plays an eclectic blend of Celtic and European folk styles. From a 17th-century English Faire to 20th-century Belfast, the group’s music describes what humans share through the ages and across borders. Jigs and reels follow poignant ballads. Anti-war sentiment follows praise to those who are sent to fight. Songs of modern disconnection from the earth follow songs of immigration.
Rowan’s performance will be the culminating event of the Fort Hays State University Western Kansas String Academy’s special summer program, "Celtic Tour," in which 15 string and guitar students are learning a selection of tunes from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Wales. Students will refine the tunes and Celtic styles in a July 29th workshop with Carter, and then perform a few pieces with Rowan during their concert.
Rowan’s members include Marianne Payette Carter on fiddle, guitar, bodhran and vocals, Doug Harvey on cittern, guitar, mandolin, banjo, whistles and vocals; and newcomer John Thompson on accordion and vocals.
Carter, also known by her Renaissance Festival name "Matty Striker," is one of the top female vocalists in the Midwest as well as an accomplished musician on a variety of acoustic instruments. Aside from her solo work as a singer/songwriter, she was the driving force behind the band "Full Circle." In addition to band recordings, she has released two solo CD's.
Carter received a grant to study traditional and contemporary French Celtic music in Brittany, in northern France, during the summer of 2000. She is the owner of "Prairie Music," Lawrence, where she gives lessons on violin, guitar, acoustic bass, hammered dulcimer and voice.
Harvey's musical life began with a rock and roll garage band in the early 1970s. The sound of the banjo and fiddle led him to the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, where he first heard the music of the Irish group "De Danann" and was enamored by the sound of Irish traditional music. In the mid-90s, his motivation to study Irish music was rejuvenated. He traveled to St. John's, Newfoundland, and was inflicted with the sense of place and folk traditions of "The Rock."
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An excursion to France brought him into contact with Breton and French folk music, and an appearance on a French radio program helped boost his confidence. He is also a solo performer of traditional and original tunes and songs.
Thompson started playing the accordion at the age of eight. His early training at the Marsh Accordion Studio in Topeka exposed him to the diversity of accordion styles that he now employs while playing with Rowan.
After studying tuba at the University of Kansas in the late 1970s, he received a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson County Community College and is now a Certified Chef de Cuisine at Maceli's Catering in Lawrence. Over the years he has taught accordion and played in a variety of bands. In addition to Rowan, he currently plays
in the original world music group "Voyager."
Rowan has released three recordings over its 10-year history, including "Grandfather’s Horse" in 1999, "Current" in 2002 and "Tales Through Time" in 2007.
Rowan’s performance is sponsored by the Fort Hays State University WKSA and is funded in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, the Fox Pavilion, Midwest Music Inc., KC Strings, Tom’s Music House and Yamaha Strings.
Tickets for the Rowan concert are $5 each and are available online at www.fhsu.edu/wksa/rowan_concert.shtml or by contacting Cathy Drabkin, WKSA director, at (785) 628-5363. Tickets are also available for purchase at the Fox Pavilion, Midwest Music, Coffee Rules and Northglen Antiques, all in Hays.
In addition, a $5 hamburger/brats barbeque dinner is available for separate reservation and purchase through the Fox at (785) 625-9508. For additional information, contact Cathy Drabkin at email@example.com or (785) 628-5363.