accordion · acoustic · banjo · Canadian · Celtic · female singer · festival · fiddle · flute · Irish · traditional

Grass Valley: Solas and Vishten

I’m just back to my desk after ten days on the road with Molly’s Revenge. The annual KVMR Celtic Festival in Grass Valley was a good one as usual. They have a knack for getting the truly great Irish and Scottish bands to come out there and play among the tall pines of the Sierra foothills. My favorite bands this year were top-tier Irish group Solas, sporting their new vocalist Mairead Phelan, and Canadian Maritime party band Vishten, featuring twin sisters Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc.

Solas has been called the most popular, influential, and exciting Celtic band to ever emerge from the United States. May I add friendly and fun to that description? Here’s a video from the filming of their reunion concert, available on DVD:

Vishten’s music is a mixture of the French, Irish and Scottish styles of Eastern Canada, with fiery fiddling and powerful step dancing front and center. This Vishten video offers a taste of their down-home appeal:

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