Sunday, December 4, 2016

More Changes to the Devil's Tailors

It's been a few months since we last checked in, and some great gigs. After our gigs at the Virginia Scottish Games, the Takoma Folk street festival, and the Outlander Fashion show, Rosemary Hall has had to say farewell to the band. She's going to be immersing herself in her last semester of grad school, among other projects, and so decided it was time to step away from performance.

We'll really miss Rosemary, and wish her the best of luck in all her future adventures!

But with that second hole in our line-up, we had to fill the ranks quickly. Fortunately, we found a new fiddler almost immediately, in the form of the electrifying Kaitlyn Likas!

Kaitlyn is the fiddler for Capital Celtic and The Wild Irish Roses, and will be also joining the Devil's Tailors full time. As her bio on the Capital Celtic site says:

Kaitlyn Likas (A.KA. The Wild Irish Rose) is an award-winning fiddler and Irish/ Scottish dancer based in the Washington DC area. From an early age, Momma Likas ingrained in Kaitlyn and her siblings an awareness and appreciation of their cultural heritage. As a first-generation Irish American, Kaitlyn makes a point to be active in her local Irish community here in Virginia, DC and Maryland. You might have seen her sawing on strings, and dancing on swords with the well-known Irish sister group, "The Wild Irish Roses."  

Kaitlyn began her dancing career at the age of 4, learning Scottish Highland dance because Irish was sadly not available in Southern Maryland "back in the day."  She later was taught Irish dance in high school from both the Hunt and Broesler schools in Maryland, winning various competitions and championships. 

Kaitlyn is a self-taught fiddler with humble beginnings as a classically trained violinist. After playing classical for over 10 years, Kaitlyn took on the new challenge of teaching herself the fiddle. Since then, she has not looked back! Kaitlyn is the only female fiddler to perform in the Baltimore-based Irish punk band, The Charm City Saints. The Charm City Saints contributed music to various Irish films and documentaries. Kaitlyn has also recently performed with Black 47, O'Malley's March, Celtica, and The Fighting Jameson's. Her musical inspirations are Lunasa and The Chieftains.  Since starting "The Wild Irish Roses," Kaitlyn has performed at several Irish/Celtic festivals on the east coast, including ShamrockFest. She has graced the stages of The Kennedy Center, and various restaurants and pubs. One of the most recent highlights of Kaitlyn's career was performing before Her Excellency, Ambassador to Ireland, Anne Anderson at Fiona's Irish Pub in Kingstowne, VA.

In her spare time, Kaitlyn volunteers as secretary to the Ballyshaners, a charitable Irish organization in Old Town Alexandria.  She enjoys painting and sculpting, and dreams of opening a Celtic arts school in the future. Kaitlyn currently works as a contractor to the Department of Defense.

We are very excited to have Kaitlyn with us! We've already played two gigs with her - one a house concert/ceilidh for a wonderful couple and their friends and neighbors who had visited Cape Breton but hasn't had much chance to see any music; and the other the St. Andrew's Day Kirkin' at Christchurch Episcopal in La Plata, MD, which we first played last year. A great thank you to everyone who saw us there.

But Kaitlyn is not our only change. We have become a smaller band in another way, and this time in a permanent one. Soon after our Mid-MD gig, Peter was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. You might have noticed from the pictures taken from Strongbow's in August 2015 that he had become a very... jolly... piper. Well, no more of that. Much of this year has been a relentless focus on his health and weight, and so music has had to take a back seat to that. The good news is that Peter is down 75 pounds as of this writing, with 25 more to go, and his blood sugar is completely under control - meaning he'll be playing tunes in good health for the indefinite future, but the bad is that this and the personnel change has once again slowed down work on the album.

So the plan moving forward is this: 

We're going to be spending December and January getting Kaitlyn up to speed on some of our current material, while working up a few sets that were in the pipeline - some of which Peter composed! Peter and Jim will also begin laying the groundwork for the album, with an eye to the first tracks going down in January and February, after some December trial runs. We'll resume our hunt for the perfect person to step in and fill Chris' large shoes. And some time in spring, look for the website to be completely revamped!

It's slow going, but the destination is in sight. Thanks to all of you for sticking with us!

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