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The Unfortunate Rakes
February, 2002

In the late 70's, three college students met in the commuter lounge at Shenandoah Conservatory. After getting to know each other, they found that they shared a common interest in the music from Celtic lands, and started getting together in their spare time to play this wondrous collection of jigs, reels, hornpipes and songs of false love. After their years at the Conservatory, they embarked on separate musical paths: Chuck would find himself as a member of one of the army bands toting a saxophone; Bruce would play violin in a community orchestra; Michael would become the guitarist in the acoustic quartet Oxymora.

Through those ensuing years, they still managed to find the time to get together to play the Celtic music loved by all three. By 1988, they found themselves making a regular circuit of concert series, festivals, and the occasional pub. Thus began the odyssey known as The Unfortunate Rakes.

Since then, these three friends have recorded three albums, including therecently released "The Strayaway Child". They have appeared as guest artists for other performers, offered workshops in their approach to Celtic music, and through it all, have maintained the closeness that only friendships of 20 years can breed. No doubt, the friendship that they have built has become an integral part of the music they create. All are married with children living near each other in the West Virginia panhandle/Winchester area.

The trio performs traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, the Shetland Islands, Brittany, and even Canada, tracing the far-reaching influences of Celtic music. They have appeared at numerous festivals, concerts and the occasional pub throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and the Midwest. Recent venues include The Erie Irish Festival, where they were the featured attraction; The Potomac Celtic Festival; and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where their collaboration with choreographer Erica Helm, "A Celtic Suite", premiered with the Shenandoah Dance Ensemble. Their discography includes their debut recording "Banish Misfortune", released in 1994, "There Is One Story And One Story Only", a sampler of Christmas music, and most recently, "The Strayaway Child", with special guest Paddy Roy contributing her haunting vocals. All are available on the Falling Mountain label.



Hampshire County Arts Council, P.O. Box 624, Romney, WV 26757    webmaster e-mail address

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