The Magic of Beltaine

Winter Wind, a collection of traditional Christmas music by Beltaine. Cover Art: Eileen George.

I’ve seen Beltaine perform at half a dozen different events in recent years. Unfortunately, with them, my timing is never good. I always seem to arrive right at the end of their set which is very sad. Why? Because it means I only get to hear a couple of songs by this very talented group of musicians instead of a dozen or more!

Who is Beltaine? Brian Baker, John Keys, and Kris Chase are the members of this Pacific NW trio. Together, they perform a variety of Celtic and other traditional folk songs from around the world.

The music is light and lively–with bright, clean tones and toe-tapping beats that make it hard to sit still! (though they might throw in a slower, more introspective piece from time to time) It’s also 100% acoustic, not electric. No amps here to drive the sound. Their instruments include the hammered and mountain dulcimers, guitar, flute, marimbula, and penny whistle.

Beltaine currently has two CD’s out: String Fling and Winter Wind. Winter Wind, a collection of traditional holiday music, is especially appropriate this time of year. It has a total of 17 instrumental tracks that “take you on a journey through the history of Christmas music, starting in the 13th century with March of the Three Kings and ending with more contemporary tunes like Up on the Housetop and The Little Drummer Boy.

Beltaine performs at festivals and events through the Pacific NW, such as the Portland Highland Games, the Portland Rose Festival, Oregon State Fair, etc. John Keys told me in a recent email that the group has some cool gigs coming up during the holidays. So please check their website regularly for a list of upcoming appearances.

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