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Bard and Ceilidh

Bard and Ceilidh exists to awaken the child in each of us, creating a sense of wonder so that listeners will be able to recognize and celebrate the beauty and small miracles of every day life.

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“A bird does not sing because it has an answer: it sings because it has a song.” -- Chinese Proverb


Bard and Ceilidh, a one-woman ensemble, offers a unique blend of musical styles, each of which represent a musical tradition significant to Vanhoozer: celtic, bal folk, Appalachian folk, and early music. Rooted in historical and folk traditions, Bard and Ceilidh creates a sound world into which the child in each of us is invited: to marvel, rest, and enter into creative but serious play. 

"Ever since I was a little girl I remember coming up with tunes: I would think up a melody (usually when I should have been practicing) and arrange it on piano or violin (the hurdy gurdy didn’t come until later.) I’d rope my sister into recording ourselves talking into our old tape recorder, and then play it back and talk over the ‘soundtrack’ to create an atmosphere of a festive celebration.

I’d record myself playing one part of an arrangement, and then I’d pull out the violin and start playing along to the recorded track, all the while imagining myself providing the music for a party, or festive gathering.

Music has always been deeply connected to play. Flash forward about twenty-five years and here I am doing almost the same thing: Bard and Ceilidh in a sense remains my imaginary ensemble of players (though occasionally I’m joined by a real friend or two!) 


As I write tunes, I arrange the music to accomodate my growing family of instruments, then I press record and lay down tracks. The finished product reflects both a recreation of spontaneous, live music making one might hear at a party, as well as music that creates space for comtemplation and rejuvenation.

As I grow older, two other elements have shaped and colored my music making: Joy and hope. It’s easy for daily life to become more about the urgent than about the important, and for our work schedules to crowd out time for rest and creativity. I hope my music helps listeners slow down, sometimes even be still, and learn to recognize and celebrate the simple joys and quiet victories of everyday life: the more I see these things in my life, the more I’m reminded to remain hopeful as well. I resonate with Samwise Gamgee’s bold and beautiful declaration: 'There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.' Or in my specific case, it’s worth writing, arranging and playing for.

Come, listen, be refreshed and encouraged."

- Mary Vanhoozer

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