About

CELTARA is a collective of five accomplished musicians from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada wielding fiddle, harp, flute, accordion, piano, bouzouki, guitar, bodhran, djembe, and world percussion instruments to great effect.  From flying-fingered foot-stomping jigs and reels, to beautiful ballads and richly textured and layered songs, Celtara entertains their audiences with traditional and original “New World Celtic Music”. Tami Cooper, Bonnie Gregory, Steven Bell, Andreas Illig, and Mark Arnison bring infectious energy, engaging warmth and humour to concert halls, folk clubs, festivals, ceilidhs, community halls and house concerts, private events (and trains and riverboats! And elephants!!). Audiences describe their experience of a Celtara concert as “joyous”, “awesome, beautiful, toe-tapping music”, “a timeless and enchanting evening”, “inspiring”, “heart wrenching, soul mending, spell-binding and original”, and “foot-tapping, celtic joy.”


News

Benefit Concert for Ft. Mac


May 10th, 2016

The people of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo have endured incredible hardship and Celtara and friends are stepping up to help. We’re playing a benefit concert hosted by Westwood Unitarian Congregation, tickets are $20 with all proceeds going to the Canadian Red Cross. Advance tickets available at Blackbyrd Myoozik (10442 – 82 ave, Edmonton). There are only 100 tickets available so don’t delay if you plan on attending!

Nova Scotia, here we come!


July 13th, 2015

11 years on and we’re finally heading off on a jet plane together! First, a house concert in Hubley, N.S. this coming Saturday, July 18 and then a week of learning new tunes at the Boxwood Festival in Lunenburg. East … Continue reading


Gallery

  • promotional

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  • concerts

Videos

Recession Jigs


Celtara Live at the Blue Chair, November 12, 2011


Listen

More Than One True Love

(click track title for additional information)

1. Flyby

Up da Stroud (traditional)
Golden Keyboard (traditional)
Superfly (written by Kevin O’Neill)

Tami – flute, D whistle / Bonnie – fiddle / Steve – piano, accordion / Andy – guitar / Mark – tube drums, djembe

2. The Diamond

(Traditional) The Davis Strathspey (instrumental written by Celtara)

Built in 1801 in Quebec, the Diamond sailed out of Aberdeen, Scotland. Like mining, whaling was yet another lucrative, but dangerous way for young men to make a living for their families. Many of these ships were lost in the Davis Strait.

The Diamond is a ship me lads, for the Davis Strait we’re bound,
The quay it is all garnished with the bonny lasses ‘round,
Captain Thompson gives the order to sail the ocean wide,
Where the sun it never sets me lads, nor darkness dims the sky.
Chorus: And it’s cheer up me lads, let your hearts never fail,
For the bonnie ship, The Diamond, goes a fishin’ for the whale.
Along the quay at Peterhead, the lassies stand around,
With their shawls all pulled around them and the salt tears runnin’ down,
Don’t you weep my bonnie wee lass, though you be left behind,
For the rose will grow on Greenland’s ice before we change our mind.
Chorus Here’s a health to the Resolution, likewise the Eliza Swann,
Three cheers for the Battler of Montrose and The Diamond ship of fame,
We wear the trousers of the white and the jackets of the blue,
When we get back to Peterhead, we’ll see our sweethearts now.
Chorus It’ll be bright both day and night, when the Greenland lads come home,
Our ship filled up with oil me lads, and money to our name.
We’ll make the cradles for to rock, and the blankets for to tear,
And every lass in Peterhead singing now, “hushaby my dear”.
Chorus

Tami – lead vocals, flute / Bonnie – harp, harmony vocals / Steve – accordion, harmony vocals / Andy – guitar / Mark – tube drums, djembe-snare

3. Butterfly

(instrumental interpretation by Bonnie Gregory of the song ‘Butterfly’ written by Mia Makaroff, as sung by Rajaton)

Tami – flute / Bonnie – fiddle / Steve –accordion / Andy – guitar / Mark – cymbals and chimes

4. Chanter Set

Chanter’s Tune (traditional)
Breton Dance (traditional)
Fahy’s Reel (traditional)

Tami – flute / Bonnie – fiddle, viola, harp / Steve – accordion / Andy – bouzouki, guitar / Mark – bodhran

5. Still a Tale to Tell

Written by Bonnie Gregory
Turn the Page (instrumental written by Celtara)

He stood there on solid ground, cold and still, he made not a sound
He watched her walk away again, he could not comprehend
All the words of love she’d said, all the times she’d held him then
Gone like all the ash she’d burned, like nothing in the wind.
Eight years that little patch of land grew marigold and lilac stand
Eight years he kept that cabin snug through cold and wind and snow
Eight long years he lived his life, holding on without his wife
His heart a tiny flick of flame burned low as it could go.
Chorus: Hang on, you carry on
You know there’s still a tale to tell
Too many pages still unfurled
Hang on, you carry on
The sound of love’s not far away
It’s beat, the drum, will mark your way.
Twas on a sunny autumn day, new love came at last to stay
A brown-haired girl with eyes like sky, and he thought to ask her why
Maybe life for some of us has more than one true love
All your pain and sorrow now becomes the ground where new love grows.
Chorus

Bonnie – lead vocals, fiddle / Tami – flute, harmony vocals / Steve – accordion, harmony vocals / Andy – guitar, mandola / Mark – djembe, shakers

6. This Shearing's Not for You

(Traditional)

Bonnie – harp, viola / Tami – flute / Steve – accordion / Andy – guitar / Mark – rainstick, cymbals, chimes

7. Yo Yo / Gæstebud

Written by Bonnie Gregory & Steven Bell / written by Morten Alfred Høirup

Bonnie – fiddle / Tami – flute / Steve – accordion / Andy – guitar / Mark – shakers, tube drums

8. Lord Cameron's Daughter

Written by Bonnie Gregory
Bill Donald’s (instrumental written by Celtara)

Lord Cameron’s piper ran away with Lord Cameron’s daughter, all the way from Scotland to Rimbey, Alberta, Canada. They were Bonnie’s great-grandparents!

My name is Bill Donald and I'm a stranger to you
I have travelled this country from the age of twelve years
My brother was elder, he inherited all
Leaving me to adventure and find my own way.
Chorus: Meet me in the garden, I’ll love only you
We’ll share wishes and kisses and promises too
Meet me in the garden, your true love I’ll be
Don’t tell your mother, she’d never agree.
I found work on the great ships and I learned many things
But the playing and the singing full many did please
I played for fine ladies and royalty too
Till I find myself here now, well I’m playing for you.
Chorus Oh the lassies, fine lassies, so many I’ve seen
But none who could smile like my Jenny for me
Lord Cameron’s daughter, shame if he doesn’t know
Come away with me Jenny and we’ll sail fore the snow.
Chorus When we reach that far shore I can own my own land
And my plaid I will lay down to cover our bed
My cap it will hang from the back of my head
And the songs of Lord Cameron, I’ll nae sing them again.
Chorus

Bonnie – lead vocals, fiddle / Tami – flute, harmony vocals / Steve – accordion, harmony vocals / Andy – guitar / Mark – bodhran

9. Follow the Heron

Written by Karine Polwart
Drift of Daisies (instrumental written by Bonnie Gregory)

The back of the winter is broken, and light lingers long by the door,
And the seeds of the summer have spoken in gowans that bloom on the shore.
Chorus:
By night and day we’ll sport and we’ll play
And delight as the dawn dances over the bay,
Sleep blows the breath of the morning away,
And we follow the heron home.

In darkness we cradled our sorrows, and stoked all our fires with fear,
And now these bones that lie empty and hollow, are ready for gladness to cheer.
Chorus
So long may you sing of the salmon, and the snow-scented sounds of your home,
While the north wind delivers its sermon, all ice and salt-water and stone.
Chorus

Tami – lead vocals / Bonnie – fiddle, harmony vocals / Steve – piano / Andy – guitar / Mark – shakers, chimes

10. The Pie

Up the Valley (written by Bonnie Gregory) Eddie Kelly’s (traditional) Hidin’ the Pie (written by Celtara)

Bonnie – fiddle / Tami – flute / Steve – piano, accordion / Andy – guitar / Mark – bodhran, djembe, djembe-snare

11. P is for Paddy

(Traditional) The Fairest Man (instrumental written by Bonnie Gregory)

As I roved out upon a May morn, to take a pleasant walk,
I sat myself down by an old stone wall, to hear two lovers talk,
To hear two lovers talk, me boys, and hear what they might say
That I might learn a little about love, before my dying day.
Well come and sit beside me love, on the dewy grass so green,
It’s a long three-quarter’s of a year or more, that you and I have been,
That together we have been, he cried, together we have been,
It’s almost been a year my love, that you and I have seen
Chorus:
P stands for Paddy I suppose, J for my love John
And the W stands for false Willy-O, but Johnny is the fairest man,
Johnny is the fairest man, she cried, Johnny is the fairest man,
O I don’t care what anybody says, my Johnny is the fairest man.
No I won’t sit beside you love, now or at any other time,
I hear you love another pretty maid, and your heart’s no longer mine
Your heart’s no longer mine, she cried, your heart’s no longer mine
I hear you love another pretty maid, and your heart’s no longer mine
Chorus
Oh I will climb the highest tree, and rob the little bird’s nest
And I will bring whatever I find to the arms that I love best,
To the arms that I love best she cried, the one I love the best,
Oh I will bring whatever I find to the one that I love best.
And when your heart was mine, she said, and your head lay on my breast,
You made me believe, with all your lies that the sun would rise in the west
The sun would rise in the west, she cried, and I’ve heard all the rest,
You made me believe with all your lies the sun would rise in the west.
Chorus

Tami – lead vocals, flute / Bonnie – fiddle, harmony vocals / Steve – accordion / Andy – guitar, bouzouki / Mark – tube drums

12. Florence’s Lament

Written by Tami Cooper

Tami wrote this for her mom, who passed away in June 2007 after a two-year struggle with ALS.

Tami –flute / Bonnie – fiddle / Steve – piano / Andy – bouzouki, guitar / Mark – cymbals

Until The Morning Light

(click track title for additional information)

1. 2-4-3

Down the Broom / Glenlivet / Tuttles (all traditional)

A set of favourite reels. We learned Glenlivet from our friend Keri Zwicker, a wonderful harpist and singer.

Tami: flute | Bonnie: fiddle | Steve: accordion Andy: acoustic guitar | Mark: bodhran, tube drums

2. Won’t You Take A Walk With Me

(song – Bonnie Gregory, Pickpocket Publishing, SOCAN) Johnny Darling’s (Bonnie Gregory, Pickpocket Publishing, SOCAN)

Bonnie wrote this as a piuirt-a-beul (mouth music) to be sung in English rather than Gaelic.

Tami: harmony vocal, flute | Bonnie: lead vocal, fiddle | Steve: harmony vocal, accordion | Andy: bouzouki | Mark: bodhran

3. Are Ye Sleepin’ Maggie?

(song – Robert Tannahill, public domain) Warlock’s Walk (Bonnie Gregory, Steven Bell, Tami Cooper, Out of the Woods Publishing, SOCAN)

This song was written by Robert Tannahill (1774-1810). Tannahill was a weaver and well-recognised songwriter after the time of Robert Burns. In the song, the young man’s discomfort is obvious as he makes his way to the home of his love during a terrific storm and begs to be let in. Some translation of a few Scottish words will help in understanding the story:
“not a star in all the carry”
– not a star in all the heavens
“loud the linn”
– the noise of the waterfall
“the boortree bank”
– bank of elder trees
“loud the iron yett does clank”
– the iron gate
“he’s cast aside his drippin’ plaidie”
– his soaked cloak

Tami: lead vocal, flute | Bonnie: harmony vocal, harp | Steve: accordion | Andy: acoustic guitar | Mark: modified djembe

4. The End of Summer

(Bonnie Gregory, Pickpocket Publishing, SOCAN)

Andy named this piece after returning from a long trip to Ireland at the end of summer.

Tami: flute | Bonnie: harp, fiddle | Steve: accordion | Andy: acoustic guitar | Mark: djembe snare

5. The Fair of Bellaghy

(song – traditional) Corcoran’s Hill (Tami Cooper, Brave New Hare Music, SOCAN)

Tami wrote Corcoran’s Hill to go with this lovely song she learned from the singing of Cathy Jordan.

Tami: lead vocal, flute | Bonnie: harp | Steve: accordion | Andy: acoustic guitar | Mark: bodhran

6. If I Was a Blackbird

(song – traditional)Lily White’s Soaring Lament (Tami Cooper, Brave New Hare Music, SOCAN)

This is a favourite of ours from the vast body of celtic songs lamenting a lost love who has gone away across the sea.

Tami: lead vocal, flute | Bonnie: harmony vocal, harp, fiddle | Steve: accordion | Andy: acoustic guitar | Mark: at the pub

7. Bjørnekæden

(Morten Alfred Høirup and Sonnich Lydom)

Steve brought this tune to the band after we were inspired by Haugaard & Høirup’s performance of it at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. To our delight, they posted the tune on their website. Morten Hoirup wrote us to say that the title “Bjørnekæden” means Bear Chain and that it refers to a bear carrying a piece of a broken chain around one wrist. The chain makes it limp a little when walking in the forest: a not so nice memory of the life as a dancing bear in the city. We hope you enjoy our version.

Tami: flute | Bonnie: fiddle | Steve: accordion Andy: acoustic guitar | Mark: xe xe

8. Castle Chelligh

Castle Kelly / Chelligh (traditional / song – traditional)
Pickpocket Polka (Bonnie Gregory, Pickpocket Publishing, SOCAN)

Chelligh is a traditional Scottish piuirt-a-beul Bonnie learned from her friend Linda MacDonald. A pick in the pocket is worth more than two in the bush.

Tami: harmony vocal, flute | Bonnie: lead vocal, harp | Steve: accordion | Andy: acoustic guitar | Mark: djembe, shakers, triangle

9. Quaker Set

Merrily Kiss the Quaker’s Wife / Timmy Clifford’s / After the Well (traditional / traditional / Bonnie Gregory, Pickpocket Publishing, SOCAN)

Andy kicks us off into this set of jigs. Bonnie learned Timmy Clifford’s from John Goodhelpsen. After the Well is another tune from up Bonnie’s sleeve.

Tami: flute | Bonnie: harp, fiddle | Steve: accordion | Andy: acoustic guitar, flying capo | Mark: bodhran, tube drums

10. Shake Your Fanny Set

Paddy Ryan’s Dream / The Ash Plant (both traditional)

A couple of very different reels that work nicely together!

Tami: flute | Bonnie: fiddle | Steve: accordion | Andy: bouzouki, acoustic guitar | Mark: tambourine, tube drums

11. Billy Be Fair

(song – Buffy Ste. Marie, original title Johnny Be Fair)

Your Papa Don’t Know (Bonnie Gregory, Steven Bell, Tami Cooper, Out of the Woods Publishing, SOCAN)
The Black Nag (traditional)

Apparently, there is a version of this story / situation / song in most cultures, and we’ve heard several, including the Caribbean version, “Your Papa Ain’t Your Papa, but Your Papa Don’t Know”.

Tami: lead vocal, flute | Bonnie: harmony vocal, fiddle | Steve: accordion | Andy: acoustic guitar | Mark: tube drums

The Billy chorus consists of Graeme Arnison, Kira Arnison, Rob Smith, Mark Arnison, Steven Bell, Tami Cooper and Bonnie Gregory

12. The White Waves, Take My Love

(Steven Bell, White Waves Music, SOCAN)
The Lee Shore (Steven Bell, White Waves Music, SOCAN)

The sea can be both a generous and a jealous mistress.

Tami: flute | Bonnie: fiddle | Steve: piano | Andy: acoustic guitar | Mark: djembe


Store

New Release for 2011!

Until the Morning Light - Celtara
Until the Morning Light - Celtara

Reviews

Press

“A great combination of talents.”

Lark Clark, host of World Spinning, CKUA Radio

“The balancing act of traditionalism and genre exploration is taut and at times even thrilling here, at least in part due to what appears to be a generous partnership.”

Tom Murray, Edmonton Journal

One of the best Celtic acts on the prairies…It is evident Celtara has become a unit where the members breathe in unison and are on the same page when it comes to navigating the musical journey that is taking place.”

Peter North, music journalist and CKUA host

-

Fans

“This is like a wee bit of Celtic heaven. Thank you” R.G

 “This has been a timeless and enchanting evening. Music the way it should be played – intimate, immediate and full of warmth and grace. Loved your sound and your arrangements. Bravo! ” Ron Berezan

 “Wonderful music, a blend of amazing distinct instruments brought together with enthusiasm, love and humour.” Leigh B.

 “I love the layers of sound and energy in the group.” Helen L.

 “Truly hard to sit still! Thanks for a wonderful evening of inspiring music. ” Holly

 “Foot-tapping, celtic joy – Thank you!”

 “Even though I’ve never set foot in Scotland or Ireland, I feel soooo homesick. Thank you all for sharing a piece of it with all of us.” J. MacDonald

 “Heart wrenching, soul mending, spell-binding and original…” J. Munro

 “Ah! To be wooed by the lilt of the music… to be cradled by the tune of the harp; to be held by the rhythm and to be rocked by the drums… it was heavenly to share this evening with you. Thank you for your gift of music for the soul.” C. Koppel

“When I closed my eyes in other tunes, I could hear each player singly and together at the same time – quite the experience, thanks!”  Kate Q.

 “So very uplifting, Dancing music! Thank you for this enthusiastic blend of ‘sound’ and merriment…”

 “You give me such a strong feeling of the gift of music, a gift of the heart in song.”

 “Your music brought together all sorts of wonderful people and filled our house and hearts with a wonderful musical spirit and a great sense of life. Thank you! ” Jen

 “Joyous, upbeat, happy music. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents.” Julie

 “What a great combination of music, instruments, voices, personalities… it was just so much fun…”  Joan

 “..a killer Celtic concert last night. Great evening!   Lee

“Can’t stop tapping my toes! Great fun. Such enthusiasm – it’s so contagious. Thanks for a fun evening!” E.C.

 

-Comments from listeners at our concerts

Past Shows

  • Concert, Blue Chair Café, Edmonton, AB, Nov. 3, 2012
  • Concert, Sangudo Arts Festival, Sangudo, AB, Sept. 29, 2012
  • Dinner & Concert, Edmonton Queen Riverboat, Edmonton, AB, Sept. 15, Oct. 6 & Oct. 12, 2012
  • Hillary’s Ride for Mental Health Fundraiser, Expressions Café, Edmonton AB, Sept. 10, 2012
  • Concert, La Créma Café, St. Albert, AB, Sept. 7, 2012
  • Concert, Rimbey Community Centre, Rimbey, AB, Aug. 17, 2012
  • Concert, Three Sisters Royal Canadian Legion, Canmore, AB, Aug. 16
  • Concert, Centre 64, Kimberley, BC, Aug. 15, 2012
  • Concert, Golden United Church, Golden, BC, Aug. 14, 2012
  • Concert, The Max Centre, Drayton Valley, AB, May 5, 2012
  • Concert, Calgary Celtic Folk Club, Calgary, AB, April 28, 2012
  • Concert, La Crema Cafe, St. Albert, AB, March 16, 2012
  • Breakfast TV, Edmonton AB, March 16, 2012
  • Devaney’s Irish Pub, Edmonton, AB, February 26, 2012
  • Concert & Food Bank Fundraiser, McDougall United Church, Edmonton, AB, December 31, 2011
  • Concert, Blue Chair Cafe, Edmonton, AB, November 26, 2011
  • Devaney’s Irish Pub, Edmonton, AB, November 30, 2011
  • Concert & Fundraiser, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Edmonton, AB, June 18, 2011
  • Concert,Water Valley Community Hall, Water Valley, AB, April 17, 2011
  • Concert, Southwood United Church, Calgary, AB, April 16, 2011
  • Concert,Camrose United Church, Camrose, AB, April 15, 2011
  • Concert, First United Church, Ft. Saskatchewan, AB, March 18, 2011
  • Concert, The Matchbox, Red Deer, AB, March 12, 2011
  • Concert, Blue Chair Cafe, Edmonton, AB, March 11, 2011
  • ‘More Than One True Love’ CD Release Concert, Muttart Hall, Edmonton, January 22, 2011
  • Headliners, Parkallen Music Festival, Edmonton, AB, September 4, 2010
  • Headliners, Kispiox Music Festival, Kispiox, BC, July 23-25, 2010
  • Concert, ArtSpace, Prince George, BC, July 22, 2010
  • Concert, Jasper, AB, July 21, 2010
  • Concert, Westwood Unitarian Church, Edmonton, June 12, 2010
  • Jig for a Kiss Concert, Edmonton, March 5, 2010
  • Neutral Hills Arts Alive Concert Series, Consort, AB, January 28, 2010
  • DaysArts Concert Series, Daysland, AB, January 14, 2010
  • Forestburg Concert Series, Forestburg, AB, November 14, 2009
  • Alberta Arts Days, Spruce Grove, September 19, 2009
  • Private function, MacEwan University, June 17, 2009
  • Parkallen Localmotion Event, May 31, 2009
  • House concert, Edmonton, May 23, 2009
  • Chautauqua Edson Red Brick Theatre, April 18, 2009
  • Nickelodeon Music Club, Calgary, March 14, 2009
  • Rocky Mountain Folk Club, Calgary, March 13, 2009
  • Uptown Folk Club Winterfest, Edmonton, February 21, 2009
  • House Concert, St. Albert, February 14, 2009
  • Concert, Westwood Unitarian Church, Edmonton, November 15, 2008
  • Homefest Edmonton, November 2, 2008
  • Alberta Arts Touring Alliance Showcase, Red Deer, October 18, 2008
  • Edmonton Queen, September 12, 2008
  • Canmore Highland Games, August 31, 2008
  • Concert, St. Mary & St. George’s Anglican Church, Jasper, August 29, 2008
  • Artists on Rails – Edmonton to Jasper, August 28 – 30, 2008
  • The Works Festival, Edmonton, June 25, 2008
  • Water Valley Celtic Festival, Water Valley, June 21, 2008
  • Concert, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Red Deer, June 1, 2008
  • Concert, Killarney Glengarry Community Hall, Calgary, May 31, 2008
  • Concert, Canmore Miners’ Union Hall, May 30, 2008
  • Concert, St. Mary and St. George’s Anglican Church, Jasper, April 12, 2008
  • Alberta Roots Music Concert Series, Westwood Unitarian Church, Edmonton, March 28, 2008
  • Help TV program, City TV, March 12, 2008
  • Blue Chair Café, Edmonton, March 8, 2008
  • House Concert, December 7, 2007
  • ‘Until the Morning Light’ CD Release Concert, Freemasons’ Hall, Edmonton, November 24, 2007
  • Private function, Selkirk Hotel, Fort Edmonton, October 27, 2007
  • Private function, Lister Hall, U of A campus, May 11, 2007
  • Benefit Concert for Memeza Africa, Edmonton, April 21, 2007
  • Blue Chair Café, Edmonton, April 21, 2007
  • Concert, Westwood Unitarian Church, Edmonton, March 31, 2007
  • Private function, Nisku, March 16, 2007
  • Private function, Fort Edmonton, June 24, 2006
  • Vermillion Folk Club, April 8, 2006
  • House Concert, Edmonton, February 4, 2006
  • Benefit Concert for World Accord Honduras Building Project, Edmonton, January 20, 2006