Cíana performs tunes and songs from the Irish and Celtic tradition in the Carson Valley at the feet of the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains south of Reno. “Cíana” is an Irish word roughly meaning both “distance” and “time,” which evokes the ancient expanse that defines western Nevada.
With their unique, energetic style, Cíana wades joyfully into the deep waters of Irish and Celtic music. They combine fiery instrumentals and musical tales of life, death, and love to create a performance that gets your blood pumping and feet stomping.
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.
Holly Sternberg: fiddle
Kathy Bly: guitar & button accordion
Joe Bly: flute, tinwhistle, bombarde & vocals
Tina Carlsen: fiddle & vocal
1. Autumn Leaves, Gooseberry Bush, Finbarr Dwyer’s: We learned Autumn Leaves from John Skelton, and Finbarr Dwyer’s from Daniel Schoenfeld. Meanwhile, Gooseberry Bush just kind of showed up one day.
2. Rambling Irishman: Lovely song. Learned it from Shay Black and Niamh Parsons.
3. Winnie Hayes, I Buried My Wife and Danced on Her Grave, Timmy Clifford’s: Winnie Hayes was popularized by Micho Russell; we learned it from Daniel Schoenfeld. The other two have been rattling around in our heads for a long time, and we can’t discover where either one is from.
4. The Long Slender Sally, Weaving to Friday Harbor, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, Bunker Hill: Daniel taught us Sally, also known as The Hop Down. Next, Weaving to Friday Harbor was written by Eliot Grasso while driving his car to the Friday Harbor Irish Music Week, and we learned it as the morning sun broke through the fog-shrouded redwoods in Mendocino, California. Fintan McManus wrote Guns while watching the movie of the same name, and we picked it up from Charlene Adzima. Tina brought Bunker Hill with her from the Central Valley.
5. Siúil a Rúin: Instead of the usual lugubrious stylings associated with this song, Tina gave it a bouncy feel, choosing to sing it like a young girl who has yet to grasp its somber meaning.
6. Up in the Rafters, Heart-Shaped Wood, Kinnegad Slashers: Rafters, with its Hallowe’en-y sound, was written by Aaron Olwell. Michael McGoldrick composed Heart-Shaped Wood, which we learned (once again) in Mendocino. We picked up Kinnegad Slashers from (once again!) Daniel in Mendocino.
7. The Mill House, Mason’s Apron: Mill House is a fine reel written by John Martin. Here, we play it as a hornpipe. Mason’s Apron has been around so long that it has its own ecosystem.
8. May Morning Dew: An old song Joe first heard as a piping air. He sings all the drones in the background as well.
9. Baby Rory’s, The Night Before Larry Got Stretched, Is the Big Man Within?: Baby Rory’s is another Michael McGoldrick tune. We like Larry’s Nevada-esque title. The last tune is an old set dance tune, half slip jig, and half double jig.
10. The Otter’s Holt, The Tree Gap, Hommage à Edmond Pariseau: Otter’s is one of our favorite reels. New York fiddler, Gráinne Murphy, composed Tree Gap, and we learned it in Mendocino as well. Hommage is a great French-Canadian piece written by Marcel Messervier.
11. Back Home to Athenry: an original penned by Patrick Moriarty and Joe in response to the oft-maudlin and oft-performed ‘Fields of Athenry.’
12: Sliabh Russell, Jim Ward’s, The Donegal Lasses: The first two are wonderful jigs that are session standards. Donegal Lasses was forged by Brian Finnegan, and we love playing it.
13. Sailing into Walpole’s Marsh, Farrell O’Gara’s, Christmas Eve: A set of session standards that Tina brought to us from her distant past.
14. Madam, I’m a Darlin’, Lord Mayo, Flowers of Red Hill: A saucy song followed by a march and a reel. Yes, we know we play Lord Mayo too fast…but we don’t care!