Cascadia Weekly: Irish and Folk Monday: The Colleen Raney Trio


Irish & Folk Night

The Colleen Raney Trio


By Carey Ross

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Although most elements of our music scene seem to come together organically and with little visible effort, truth is, it takes the work of a veritable army of motivated people to create a community as rich and varied as this one. These folks often receive very little money and even less recognition for their labors, but they’re not in it for fame and glory.

Instead, these individuals seem inspired by little more than the ability to define a need they perceive as being unmet within our music scene, coupled with a belief that they are the person who can meet that need.

Sometimes, things really are that simple.

Take, for instance, Jan Peters. The musician has been a mainstay in this area for decades, and while he’s dabbled in music of all types and genres, he’s exhibited a definite affinity for the distinctive sounds of the Emerald Isle. From his own experience playing before local audiences, he knew Bellingham shared his fondness for Irish music. And his time spent performing and touring with other, similar musicians had given him a network of artists from which to draw. He had a feeling a regular, year-round Irish night could find success, and so he decided to create one.

The idea was to have a dedicated night every week—Mondays, in this case—when Peters could invite his friends to come play music with him. And while the location of his Irish & Folk Night may have changed a couple of times, that basic premise of musical fellowship in celebration of Irish music (or folk—Peters isn’t one to unnecessarily limit his guests) has not changed.

These days, the Irish & Folk Night lives at Honey Moon, where it feels a bit like a secret that is ready to be stumbled upon. Except that this is one secret that’s pretty well out, as the success Peters envisioned has come to pass. The Honey Moon may not be the largest venue in town, but anyone who can fill a room on a Monday night in Bellingham is doing some things right.

Irish & Folk Night is a going concern, which has enabled Peters to cast a wider net when it comes to booking guest talent. Which brings to Colleen Raney, who will be the featured guest for the Mon., April 3 installment.

In Celtic-music circles, the name Raney looms large. Her whole, very large family is comprised of singers and step-dancers, and they perform and teach, spreading their Irish roots far and wide. Along with other gifted members of her family, Colleen has performed with Magical Strings as part of the ever-popular Celtic Yuletide concerts, and has recorded and toured solo as well. She’s renowned for taking her deep knowledge of Irish songs and traditions and interpreting them in a way all her own, putting a singular spin on tried-and-true classics as well as more obscure songs. Of late, she’s been touring with another band known for reinterpreting Celtic music, Solas, introducing her to an even bigger audience of Irish music fans.

When Raney plays the Honey Moon, the setting will be a little more intimate than the venues she’s appeared at with Solas, and it goes without saying that this Irish & Folk Night will no doubt be a crowded affair. Get there early, treat yourself to some mead or cider and a snack and settle in to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s music-scene labors.