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Tempest plays final arts council show

High-energy, fiddle-fueled Celtic rock comes to the CVIC Hall in Minden as the San Francisco-based band Tempest performs 7 p.m. May 9.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Students with ID and children are $5.

For more than 25 years, Tempest has been exploring the unlikely intersection of Celtic/Scandinavian traditional music and progressive rock. Through years of touring, they have grown a strong following on both coasts and at Irish and Celtic festivals nationwide. They have played major festivals including the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Denmark’s Skagen Festival, Britain’s Cropredy Festival and the Winnipeg Folk Festival (Canada) as well as countless American Celtic festivals.

For a sample of their music, visit their website at

Based in San Francisco, the group was founded and is fronted by Oslo native Lief Sorbye who sings lead, plays a double-necked electric mandolin among other instruments and is recognized as a driving force in modern folk-rock. California fiddler Kathy Buys is the band’s newest member. She was a medal winner in the 2007 Comhaltas Irish music competition and has a great love of traditional Irish and World music. Cuban-born drummer Adolfo Lazo, colors the band’s sound with inventive rhythms and a steady rock beat. Bassist Brian Fox, is a dual citizen of the US and Ireland, has an advanced degree in Ethnomusicology and is Editor in Chief at Bass Player magazine. Guitarist Gregory Jones is the latest in a long line of Tempest guitarists with fiery licks and a hard-rocking approach to Celtic music.

“I formed the band in 1988 because I got tired of playing acoustic folk music,” said Sorbye. “It didn’t have the impact I was looking for – I wanted to make a lot more noise. I always tapped my foot to a fiddle tune rather than pop music. It communicated to me on a primal level more than other music.”

So Sorbye searched for rock musicians rather than folk musicians so that the band could explore folk with freshness. Through many personnel changes they have been able to do just that, Sorbye said. “Most members who left chose a different lifestyle. They got married, had kids… It’s hard to be a full-time musician ‘on the side’ … but actually it’s inspiring for us to have new people. It gives us a chance to explore different avenues.”

Their music ranges from pub-ready stompers to contemplative instrumentals to ballads about knights and knaves. It includes rocked-out traditional Celtic tunes, such as their adaptation of “Black Jack Davy,” and original compositions like “The Great Departure.” They usually include a traditional song or two in Sorbye’s native Norwegian, such as “Jomfru,” a ballad about a maiden stolen away from her own wedding. All three songs can be found on their latest album “Another Dawn.” Also on the album is their cover of The Rokes’ song “Live for Today,” which was made popular by the American rock band The Grass Roots.

“I think the music moves people in different ways. And because it’s very high-spirited and full of energy, that’s what we get back from the audience. There’s a real exchange there,” Sorbye said. “Whether you’re into folk music or rock ’n’ roll, it doesn’t matter you’ll find something you like about us. We have enough energy to satisfy the young punkers, but they can also bring their grandmas because they love dancing to us, as well.”

For information and tickets call 782-8207. Information is also available at the CVAC website

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The Record Courier Updated May 7, 2014 11:43AM Published May 1, 2014 02:30PM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.