Just east of Lake Tahoe, Cíana performs tunes and songs from the Irish and Celtic tradition in the Carson Valley at the feet of the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains. “Cíana” is an Irish word roughly meaning both “distance” and “time,” which evokes the ancient expanse that defines western Nevada.
With a nod of appreciation to those Irish musicians from whom they learned, Cíana keeps the Irish tradition of lively tunes and soulful songs alive in the high deserts of Nevada. While Cíana is based in Western Nevada’s Carson Valley, the swirling rhythms of traditional Irish music will quickly transport you to another time and place. Be prepared for some serious toe-tapping!
With their second album, Cíana continues the tradition of high-octane Irish Trad with a Nevada flair. This release showcases both original and traditional music played with a focused energy while staying true to Nevada roots.
“The group’s instrumental tunes move with toe-tapping bounce. Kathy’s guitar and mandolin playing provides a rhythmic center, and the fiddle, whistle and flute lines provide catchy, intertwining melodies.”
Brad Bynum, Reno News and Review 6/21/12
“We love you guys (and the girls too…well, mostly the girls)”
-Keith Shannon, The Blarney Band
“You are good”
-Unknown child, crayon on napkin
1. Matt Peoples’ / Pauline Conneely’s / Mulqueen’s: Two very northern tunes sandwich a Liz Carroll free-for-
2. Little Fair Canavan / F-Sharp Minor (The Cock and the Hen) / Barra Bheata: We heard Little Fair
Canavan in Mendocino, early in a smoky morning. Charlene Adzima introduced us to the F-Sharp Minor.
We actually play it in Phrygian mode instead of a true minor, which gives it that weird half-tone on the
turn. Joe heard Scottish fiddle champion, Rebecca Lomnicky, playing Barra Bheata in the distance and
ran after her to plead with her to take out her fiddle and play it for the tape recorder. Rebecca found it in a
200 year old collection of Scottish fiddle manuscripts.
3. Crooked Jack: The surly lyrics to this song was put to the lovely tune “Star of the County Down” by
Dominic Behan. Joe doesn’t remember where he heard it. The guitar riffs developed during nightly jam
sessions with David Brewer after returning from the studio. Joe overdubbed the low-Eb and monstrous
low-Bb whistles at the end. Moral of the song: Don’t work on dams.
4. Tom McElvogue’s Reel #3 / The Monaghan Twig / Woman of the House: Joe learned Tom McElvogue’s
from a fiddler in Colorado. The other two tunes are session classics.
5. The Leitrim Polka / The Carson Polka / The Race Classic: The Leitrim was overheard in a session. Joe
wrote the Carson Polka quite by accident when he was searching for a fragment of a different tune. Joe
learned the Race Classic (a.k.a., Tina Lech’s) from the playing of Preston Howard, a piper in Portland, OR.
6. Tom Busby’s / Pancake Tuesday / Paddy from Portlaw: A collection of interesting jigs. Joe learned Tom
Busby’s from the playing of Kevin Crawford, and we picked up Pancake Tuesday from a Solas album.
7. Them’s My Toes / Mulligan’s / Kilfenora Barndance: Emerald Bay stretches like a long, bony finger from
the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe. A lump of rock in the center of the bay, Fannette Island, was once the
home of Captain Dick “Them’s my toes” Barter in the 1860’s. One bitter winter after rowing his boat back
from the saloons on the south shore, severe frostbite forced him to amputate his own toes. He kept the
severed digits in a box which he would happily display to any who asked, proudly claiming, “Them’s My
Toes!” Both fascinated and disgusted by the thought, Tina wrote this to commemorate the occasion.
Mulligan’s was penned by Richard Johnson, a mandolin player from Ashland, OR. We picked up the
Kilfenora Barndance from a session in Mendocino. Strung together, they’re not very Irish, but it makes for
a lovely, bouncy set.
8. An Dro in Em / Breton March / The Bus Stop: Breton musician John Skelton taught the first two to a
mosquito-tormented group of flute players in Mendocino. We picked up the Bus Stop from the mandolin
playing of Richard Johnson.
9. Johnny Be Fair / Emmett’s Hedgehog / Jerry’s Beaver Hat / The Flying Wheelchair: Joe learned the
first song from Cathie Ryan. The following tunes are popular session tunes on the Left Coast.
10. The Wild One / The Bookmaker’s Daughter / The Foxhunter’s Reel: Holly Sternberg shared the Wild
One next to Clear Lake in Northern California on a lazy summer evening. We try to recall the feeling of that
evening through the tune. Joe dreamed The Bookmaker’s Daughter, awoke at four AM and tiptoed into the
bathroom to hum the melody into a recorder. Originally, it was titled The Broommaker’s Daughter in
honor of a woman we met in the mountains of North Carolina whose father crafted excellent brooms. But,
being from the gambling state of Nevada, we kept slipping up and calling it The Bookmaker’s Daughter
and the new name stuck. So thank your bookie the next time you see him. Nevada is also the home of legal
prostitution, so be grateful this tune wasn’t named something else.
11. Mo Níon Ó: Another lovely song from Cathie Ryan, who translated it from the original Irish written by the
legendary Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh of Altan.
12. Ormond Sound / The New Policeman / The Curlew: We learned Ormond Sound from our producer,
David Brewer. The last two are lovely tunes which don’t get played around here as often as they should.
13. Come Fare Away: The final song in the Cathie Ryan trilogy on our album. It’s a great singalong if you have
the chance, or if you ever feel like tossing it all in and heading for Newfoundland.
Performing most of the tunes of this album…: