Irish Tuesdays: Bob Soper, Elizabeth Nicholson, Hanz Araki and Colleen Raney
Elizabeth Nicholson & Bob Soper
- Edgefield - Little Red Shed |
- Tuesday, August 19, 2014
- 7 p.m. til 9 p.m. |
- Free |
- All ages welcome
About Hanz Araki
The path of a musician is often unpredictable. One wouldn't imagine that six generations of mastery of the Japanese shakuhachi would lead to a career in Celtic music, however that is exactly how it played out for accomplished flute player and traditional singer Hanz Araki. The son of Irish and Japanese parents guaranteed a household with a broad spectrum of musical influences.
His maternal grandmother, born in Clare, traveled with her mother (Mary Gallagher, also a Clare woman) across the Atlantic, landing first in Canada and making a second long journey across North America before arriving in Seattle, WA. There, she was joined by her husband Samuel (from Achill Isl. Co. Mayo) who had stayed behind to finish his post in the Irish Coast Guard. His maternal grandfather's family are Campbells who settled in the hills of Jackson Co., NC. from Co. Tyrone in the late-18th century after having been displaced from Glasgow, Scotland decades before.
Hanz's father is shakuhachi grandmaster Tatsuya Kodo Araki, the fifth generation to inherit the name Kodo, one of the most important names in the world of traditional Japanese music. "Hanz" is short for "Hanzaburo," the name of his great-great grandfather who developed the notation used in shakuhachi music even to this day.
In April of 1988, Hanz began his apprenticeship with his father, to make his professional debut in August of that same year. Colleagues of his father likened Hanz's playing to Kodo IV, despite the two never having met. Hanz continued studying under his father, and taught at his father's alma mater (the prestigious Keio University in Tokyo), as well as making concert appearances throughout Japan. In 2009, in a private ceremony in Tokyo, the title of Kodo VI was conferred on Hanz as is customary in the tradition.
Upon returning to his hometown of Seattle in 1992, Araki and a group of close friends with a shared love of Irish and Scottish music started a band called The Whyos. The discipline, techniques, and mechanics he learned on the shakuhachi translated very well to the penny whistle and the Irish flute. Seattle being home to respected stalwarts like uilleann piper Tom Creegan and fiddler Dale Russ gave Hanz no shortage of guidance in his exploration of traditional Irish music. Celtic music became a single-minded focus, turning songs and tunes of Scotland, Ireland, and England into a second language. His uncanny grasp of Celtic music, both instrumental and vocal, quickly led to opportunities for touring across the United States and Canada, the UK, Spain, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, and an annual tour of Japan.
In a career spanning twenty-five years, Araki, now a resident of Portland, Oregon, amassed an impressive body of award-winning Celtic music albums, including a series of seasonally-themed albums released in 2012 with fiddle and guitar player and vocalist Kathryn Claire. A project to collect, remix, and remaster recordings of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather is also currently in production in Japan.
Festival appearances include the Austin Celtic Festival, the Maine Celtic Celebration, the Missoula Celtic Festival, KVMR Grass Valley Celtic Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival, Bumbershoot, Celtic Connections, and over 20 years of performances at the Northwest Folklife Festival. Hanz has also been invited to perform with the Seattle Symphony, at the Gates Estate, and for the Japanese Consul General.
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About Elizabeth Nicholson & Bob Soper
Irish harp, North Indian sarod, Greek bouzouki, Middle Eastern and African percussion, Irish and Appalachian fiddle, folk guitar and harmony vocals--no one has ever been able to reach a final tally on just how many instruments Elizabeth Nicholson and Bob Soper play, or how many cultures influence their music. Duo partners for seven years, they also share the dual role of fronting the critically acclaimed international roots quintet Stringed Migration. Their music has been hailed as "performed with the sort of resonance that separates masters from neophytes" (Jerome Clark, rambles.net, 2009), and has been featured on NPR's The Thistle and Shamrock, The Midnight Special, and hundreds of other radio programs worldwide.
Considered among the top American interpreters of Irish traditional music for harp, Elizabeth Nicholson's harp studies have also included classical, Paraguayan, and medieval music, and she has stretched the traditional boundaries of the instrument into rock music and country blues. Her 2006 CD of traditional and original music, Sink or Swim was released to widespread critical praise and international airplay, and was chosen "Folk Album of the Month" on Iowa Public Radio.
Bob Soper is counted among Portland's most astonishingly versatile multi-instrumentalists. A rock and jazz drummer from a young age who also studied classical Indian music at the Ali Akbar College, he went on to learn the Irish fiddle, ultimately becoming one the Northwest's most sought-after players. Also an accomplished guitarist, bouzouki player and vocalist, he's been a member of some of the region's most beloved and successful ensembles, including the Irish bands C'l an T' and Grafton Street, as well as the old-time/country-blues group The Pagan Jug Band.
About Colleen Raney
Musicians don't come with much more history in the craft than Irish singer Colleen Raney. She's been singing traditional music for more than two decades, and has been immersed in America's Celtic music and dance scene for over three. Rarely is an artist as deeply entrenched in a musical niche as Colleen Raney able to present centuries-old music with an eye toward current and future listeners outside of the genre. By adapting and developing her voice, at turns lullaby-soft and intensely powerful, and by surrounding herself with a constantly-evolving ensemble of the best musicians the Northwest has to offer, Colleen manages to credit her background and stake claim as a serious presence in contemporary Celtic music.Map & Directions