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Welcome to the 2017 Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival: Crossroads of Tradition

Hundreds, maybe thousands of years ago, Spanish Peaks Country became an intersection of cultures and traditions.  Indigenous natives, Spanish explorers, mountain men, traders, work seekers, and homesteaders migrated from foreign lands to hunt, mine, farm, and survive in the region.  Over time folks began to gather together in places they named La Veta, La Plaza de los Leones (now known as Walsenburg), Gardner, and Cuchara.

People of many backgrounds were brought together by shared stories, music, song, and dance.

Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival (SPICMF) has been perpetuating these customs during the last full weekend of September for over a decade.   It has been a preferred place to meet with others who share a passion for the various sounds from Celtic cultures that have been often separated by time, miles, and local traditions.  Musicians have come from Ireland, Scotland, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain to teach and perform.  In the process, musical connections have been made and enjoyed not just through regional representations but also from spotlighting connecting genres from Jazz to Americana.

The folks behind SPICMF will again bring some of the best musicians in the world to perform, inspire, and experience the magic of Spanish Peaks Country September 21-24.  Festival-goers will come from near and far to listen, learn, sing, dance, and celebrate.  The events of the days ahead are designed for all levels of interest and budgets and are offered in a relaxed environment.   SPICMF encourages you to be open to the unique festival opportunities – whether you just want to dip in a toe or immerse your whole being, this is your weekend.  Enjoy!

Thanks again to our volunteer festival staff and folks who support this event with their time, talents, and resources, and the performers and festival-goers who make this fest happen.

All the best,

Pat McCullough, Artistic Director


2017 Featured Performers


Old Blind Dogs

www.OldBlindDogs.co.uk
Jonny Hardie, Aaron Jones, Ali Hutton, Donald Hay

“The skill, talent, and verve with which they played belied their laddishness and the crowd responded with thunderous applause. Folk is the new rock and roll.” – Evening News

“The Old Blind Dogs play with a compelling energy and intoxicating rhythm; players and audience seem to share a wild ecstasy of emotion.” – The Scotsman

The Screaming Orphans

www.TheScreamingOrphans.com
Joan, Angela, Grainne, and Marie Therese Diver

“These sisters… have some of the most beautiful voices and intoxicating harmonies I have ever heard.”
– Jane Roser, That Mag

Paddy Keenan

www.PaddyKeenan.com

“Paddy Keenan returned to Celtic Connections and presided over one of the most white-hot, gloriously musical displays in… the Royal Concert Hall history.” Rob Adams – Glasgow Herald

Kevin Burke

www.KevinBurke.com

“Lyric, fluid and precisely as tricky as he needs to be…probably the greatest Irish fiddler living.” – The Village Voice

“Burke imparts a rhythmic intensity that is remarkably powerful…a superior instrumentalist in any idiom…impressively virtuosic.” – The New York Times

The Hydes

www.HydesMusic.com

“Iain and Joanna are big talents. Big… Joanna’s fiddle work can be blazing, but is always beautifully controlled and tasteful. She is a fiddle star already…[Iain’s] guitar is VERY current, hip, fab chords and runs—but all very tasteful and intuitively grasping how to support the fireworks being brought by the fiddle.” – Chicago Irish American News

Tadhg O’Meachair (Goitse)

TadhgOMeachair-goitse.ie

“Tadhg O’Meachair rocked the house on accordion.” The Columbus Dispatch

Robbie O’Connell

www.RobbieOConnell.com

“…a writer of timeless-sounding, emotionally powerful and often hilarious songs… among the most respected guitarists, singers and songwriters in Celtic music.” – The Boston Globe

Ed Miller

www.SongsOfScotland.com

“One of the finest singers to come out of the Scottish Folksong Revival… one of Scotland’s best singing exports…”

Mairtin de Cogain

www.MairtinMusic.com

“Mairtin has really impressed me with his passion and knowledge of the Irish tradition – be it singing, inventive bodhran playing, or storytelling. The man has a natural, engaging way with people.” – Jimmy Crowley

Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald

www.BenAndAnita.com

“A cocktail of tradition, distilled like a pure drop of the Canadian Maritimes, their unique blend of driving dance music transcends boundaries – equally at home at a kitchen ceilidh or on a late night festival stage… Fiery, fresh, yet totally traditional.” – Alex Monaghan, Piping Today

2016 Festival Memories

The High Kings with the Walsenburg High School Choral Singers ~ 2016

“We are rarely rendered speechless by our experiences on the road but yesterday was one of them! For the last few weeks these HS kids have been rehearsing ‘Schooldays Over’, ‘Goodnight Irene’ and ‘The Boys are Back in Town’ and yesterday we finally got to sing them together. Ladies & Gentlemen, the Walsenburg High School Choral Singers!! After we took this photo we performed these songs live together in front of an audience, including the WORLD EXCLUSIVE first-ever performance of ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ Take a bow boys and girls, each and every one of you were amazing!! #proud — in Walsenburg, Colorado.”

~The High Kings


The High Kings with the Walsenburg High School Choral Singers ~ 2016

“I’m hoping you will forward this message to all the Board and the Volunteers who made our weekend so great! We loved it, working with the HS kids in Walsenburg was a highlight, as was the show on Saturday, and then those special talks and performances on Sunday! Thanks to all for your very kind hospitality, we will never forget it.”

~Paddy McPoland
Tour Manager
The High Kings
Dublin, Ireland


Defining the Festival

The Spanish Peaks Celtic Festival is designed as an intimate four-day gathering led by renowned guest artists, teachers, and scholars from Celtic countries abroad, Canada, and the United States. The Festival offers over 60 different events, including major concerts; two singing programs; instrumental workshops and master classes; a series of demonstration talks and performances on aspects of Celtic music, history, and folklore; a Celtic Harp Retreat; a newly established Piping Retreat; and sprinkled throughout are ceilidhs/ceilis and playing sessions where anyone can freely join in or enjoy as an audience. Finally, the friendly ambiance and spontaneous interplay between artists and participants spark the exciting sharing of music, ideas, and knowledge, all reflected gifts from the fullness of a rich Celtic experience.

We thank you for coming and sharing this experience with us.

The Festival Board

We invite you to embrace music that reflects the rousing spirit of Celts past and present, whose songs haunt us with their pure beauty or make us laugh with their bold humor, and whose tunes, be they deeply rooted or newly composed, are as delicate as the lilt of a flute on the air or as explosive and exciting as the jigs and reels that fly from a fiddler’s bow, lifting your feet right off the ground –music as compelling today as it was a hundred years ago.