Irish Band Ceoltoiri (pronounced kyul-tory) makes music that breaks through
traditional boundaries. With its trademark arrangements and chamber folk arrangement
style of intricate harmonies and variations, the group creates haunting ballads
and driving reels and jigs. The Washington Post praised the band for
and spirited performance." Ceoltoiri is Irish Gaelic for "musicians." Connie
McKenna studied Irish Gaelic at University College of Galway in Ireland and
sings in sean nos style. Sue Richards is
a four-time National Scottish Harp Champion. Karen
Ashbrook is the author of national bestseller "Playing
the Hammered Dulcimer in the Irish Tradition" (Oak Publications).
"Superb, highly-accomplished performers who know their music inside
and out."- Baltimore Sun
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Ceoltoiri Celtic Ensemble grew out of the friendship between Celtic harper
Sue Richards and hammered dulcimer player Karen Ashbrook that developed over
music sessions at the Irish Times in Washington, D.C. in the early 1980s.
Karen was living in West Virginia and would hitch a ride into town for the
sessions and then stay over at Sue's. Many a tune and late night
conversations quickly turned into a performing duo.
Ceoltoiri made their first
recording "Celtic Lace" (Maggie's Music 203) just as English/Irish Gaelic
singer and guitarist Connie McKenna joined the band. The band was off and
running with haunting ballads (yes, there were ghosts in some songs) and
lacey instrumentals with the strings of all the instruments weaving together
in a sparkling sound. Maggie's Music picked up the group and they produced
two more albums of instrumentals and vocals - Silver
Apples of the Moon (MM202) and Women of Ireland (MM218). Women of Ireland won
the WAMMIE (Washington Area Music Award) for best Celtic recording of 1998.
Ceoltoiri 's appearances include NPR's All Things
The Bethlehem World Music Fest, The White House, the Smithsonian Institution
and National Geographic. Sue's harp career led her to join the touring band
Ensemble Galilei. Currently, She performs with Ceoltoiri as a guest when
available. Connie and Karen are often joined by multi-instrumentalist Paul
Oorts (accordion, bouzouki, mandolin).
In the Ceoltoiri Family Band line-up
of the ensemble, Karen's son (and student of Sue Richards) Gabe Ashbrook
Osborne joins the group on Celtic Harp and sometimes Connie's husband Max
Sadtler adds electric bass to give the group a big sound!