Original Alternative / Celtic Rock influenced by Irish Folk, Led Zeppelin, U2, Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel.
Skellig is an alternative rock band with Celtic overtones.This is largely due to a love of Irish Folk and most other types of world and rock music. Begun by Chris and Lisa Burness, the band played extensively in the UK, producing two CDs, 'In Another Time' and 'Fragile'. A move to Canada's west coast in 2006, meant the creation of a new line up, including Mike, followed by his son Will, most recently joined by Dylan Wickham and Shelley Brown.The band is based in Ladysmith BC.Their EP, 'Skellig' was completed in 2009.Dylan Wickham, high school friend of Will and Caleb joined them in May 2011 for a summer of gigs and recording of the soon to be released albumn 'Kingdom Come' ( Jan 2012) A huge project, recorded in a basement, mixed by Zak Cohen of 'The Woodshop' BC and mixed by Brad Blackwood of Euphonic Masters - Nashville, the sound is BIG!
2011 has been a busy year for the band and 2012 is already booking up, with gigs in Vancouver Island and Vancouver, as well as a spot at 'Celt Fest' and the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto after being voted in the top 3 out of 400 bands nationally, in the 'Hard Rock Rising Competition'. The band plays its set acoustically and electrically, depending on the venue and as a result, runs a monthly 'open mic' at the 'Willow Street Cafe' in Chemainus, to promote up and coming musicinas, as well as a seasonal 'Electric Opne Mic' at the Crofton Hotel Pub in Crofton.
Apart from being very competent musicians, Skellig is fun to watch, good at involving the crowd and appeals to many different types of music lovers, because of the fusion of a diversity of sounds. Their fans and fellow musicians are now extended family here on the island.They support original music, enjoy playing some covers and organising events for charity.
Hold onto your seats, as Skellig may be coming to a venue near you promoting what is most definitely the best recording they have produced to date!
Chris Burness - Vocals
Lisa Burness - Violin, Acoustic Guitar, background vocals
Caleb Burness - Drums
Mike O'Shaughnessy - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, background vocals
Will O'Shaughnessy - mandolin, keyboard, Acoustic Guitar, background vocals, Auxiliary Percussion
Dylan Wickham - Electric Guitar, background vocals
Shelley Brown - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, background vocals, Feadóg
"Kingdom Come" ~ January 2012
Grain of Sand
You'll Never Know
You Quicken Me
Smell the Love
"Skellig" ~ Released in Canada 2009
There for Me
Mystery of Life
"Fragile (Handle with Care)" ~ Released in the UK 1998
What Kind of Love
Love's a Sacrafice
Hope and Glory
More Than Language
This I Pray
For a Friend
Room in Your Heart
"In Another Time" ~ Released in the UK 1996
To the Very Heart
In Another Time
To the Unknown
Mystery of Life
Who's Crying Now
Only the Light
Learn to Live Together
Take Me Home
Skellig right at home on the Island
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Fifteen kilometers off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland rises a rocky island that was home to Iris...Fifteen kilometers off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland rises a rocky island that was home to Irish Celtic monks for 600 years. Remote, spartan and yet inspirational ‘Sceilig Mhichíl’ (Michael’s Rock in old Irish) is now a world heritage site that among many other points of interest and honour also gave rise to the name of the Chemainus Valley’s own British invasion, the Celtic rock band Skellig.
Lisa and Chris Burness visited Vancouver over four years ago. With 12 years of music touring the U.K. and two albums under their belt, they felt it was time to make a move. Despite never having set foot on Vancouver Island, they decided it would be their home. They left their Dorset, England home where Lisa’s father often recited the ditty “I be Dorset born and bred, strong in the arm and weak in the ‘ead” for the welcoming shores of the Vancouver Island because, she explains, “It just felt like home.”
It was left up to their son Caleb to pick the spot to settle and after a trip up and down the Island, Caleb chose Ladysmith. It has been their home ever since.
Lead guitarist Steve Nash was there with them at their first show, the Ringwood Festival, held in a car park in 1983. A childhood friend and long time collaborator, Steve followed shortly thereafter. When asked by immigration why he wanted to come to Canada he replied “well all my friends are going, I’m sure I will like it.”
And like it he does, citing the sheer natural beauty and reiterating the sentiments of Chris and Lisa. “It just feels like home, like I belong here.”
And oddly enough, none of them have ever admitted to any feelings of homesickness. Chemainus is now Steve’s chosen home.
I am sure that there are many of us transplanted Islanders that can sympathize. Check out the song ‘Home’ by the Comox Valley’s Todd Butler for a beautiful sonic sample of those feelings.
They are joined in their performances now by Nanaimo’s father and son team of Mike (bass guitar) and Will (keyboards, mandolin, guitar) O’Shaughnessy. If this is sounding more and more like it’s about family, maybe that’s because it is.
Chris is the front man and lead vocalist and he says that’s what it is all about.
“You have to sing from the heart, you use your life experiences and your spirituality to tell real stories, to raise awareness and inspire hope.”
No empty boast there, Skellig has performed for many fund raising functions. Lisa plays guitar and violin and she explains their performing philosophy.
“Sometimes you play just for the sake of playing and sometimes you play to support the community you live in. We have made a commitment to use our talent to give back locally and help bring people together.”
Collectively they cite many influences not commonly associated. The traditional Irish folk music alongside African rhythms and the modern beat of bands like U2, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and even the Masters like Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff top the list.
Steve likes Eddie Van Halen, Chris likes Bono, but Lisa says her heroes are Chris and Steve.
“They put up with a woman in the band for over 20 years,” she says. “Not an easy thing to do!”
I asked them what musical family would best be suited to portray them in a movie. I was thinking maybe the Partridge Family, the Cowsills or even the Beach Boys. They responded quickly and decisively.
“If Brad and Angelina are unavailable we would prefer to be portrayed by the boys from Spinal Tap, or well … anyone really, as long as they are younger and slimmer.”
And then there is Caleb on percussion who now at the ripe age of 15 names Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham as his favourite drummer.
I am not sure how he knows about those old rockers but I did learn that Chris and Lisa had a very hard time keeping drummers in their early years. They solved that problem by conceiving one of their own. Handy job, handy too that Caleb will work for food “preferably cheesecake.”
A welcome invasion indeed! This summer they are booked to play Ladysmith Days and Island Folk Fest. They will also be celebrating the release of their new CD with a concert at the Dancing Bean Café Saturday, May 9. Check them out at www.skellig.ca.
~ Larry Kossey is a Chemainus resident and freelance writer. Along with partner Mona Kennedy, he owns the Dancing Bean Café in Chemainus.
Skellig needs your help in online contest
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By Staff Writer - Ladysmith Chronicle Published: February 01, 2012 10:00 AM Updated: February 01, ...By Staff Writer - Ladysmith Chronicle
Published: February 01, 2012 10:00 AM
Updated: February 01, 2012 10:48 AM
Ladysmith Celtic rock band Skellig is sitting at No. 2 in voting for 2012 Hard Rock Rising, a global battle of the bands.
Three hundred bands have entered the online competition — which is run through Facebook — to earn a chance to play at the Hard Rock Café in Toronto. With six days left to vote, Skellig is asking for help to get to top spot.
To vote for Skellig, download the song Kingdome Come, the title track from the band's latest album, here.
Each download counts as one vote. When this round of voting ends, some of the bands will battle it out live at the hard Rock Café in Toronto. The winner will move on to the global competition against 85 other bands from around the world, and ultimately, one band will fly to London to play Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park.
Voting ends Feb. 6 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Skellig Ready to Rock Toronto
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Ladysmith Celtic rock band Skellig will soon be playing a live battle of the bands in Toronto. Ea...Ladysmith Celtic rock band Skellig will soon be playing a live battle of the bands in Toronto.
Early last week, the members of Skellig found out they made the top nine in online voting in the first phase of the Hard Rock Rising competition, earning a chance to play live at the Hard Rock Café in Toronto.
Electric violin/guitar player Lisa Burness says they are thrilled with the outpouring of support they received during the contest.
“We’re very thankful to everyone who voted for us,” she said. “We’re really encouraged by how people responded.”
Skellig finished about third out of 300 to 400 bands in the first round of competition with about 400 votes.
Skellig will now play a live battle of the bands in Toronto on March 1. Skellig will compete against three other bands, and if they win, they’ll play in the final on March 8.
The winner from across Canada will enter the third round, a global competition, which will include another round of online voting. The winner of the global competition will play Hard Rock Calling in London, explained bassist Mike O’Shaughnessy.
To help the band get to Toronto, Skellig has opened an account at the Ladysmith and District Credit Union for anyone who is willing to support them in their travels. The account is in the name Skellig.
O’Shaughnessy says the online contest was a bit of a roller coaster.
“I think the first thing is we are overwhelmed with the response of friends and fans and strangers,” he said. “It’s amazing how people we don’t necessarily know very well rallied their friends to vote ... it’s really cool to see how supportive everyone’s been.”
For much of the competition, Skellig was a solid second place in online voting.
“As I was watching the list, in the last few hours, there was a real surge from a bunch of bands,” said O’Shaughnessy. “It was a roller coaster ride. We were panicking. It was just really exciting; it was a horse race. We’re pretty exhausted and excited.”
For the competition, people could download the band’s song Kingdom Come, and that counted as a vote.
Burness wrote the song, which is the title track of the band’s latest album, with her husband Chris, the band’s lead vocalist.
“It seems to have an energy of its own,” she said. “What I was trying to express in the song is there’s more to life. It seems to be a message that’s kind of just a reminder that the world is not just you. People have really, really liked it. It’s kind of taking despair and making something positive. I think people can relate to that, and everyone’s been in that place.”
Begun by Chris and Lisa Burness, Skellig played extensively in the U.K. A move to Vancouver Island in 2006 meant the creation of a new lineup, including Mike O’Shaughnessy, followed by his son Will. Most recently, Dylan Wickham and Shelley Brown have joined the band.
This lineup recorded Skellig’s latest CD, Kingdom Come. The album is available now, and the band will celebrate the new release at two open mics in March.
Skellig’s first CD release will be during the first acoustic open mic March 3 at the Willow Street Café in Chemainus.
Skellig is also starting an electric open mic at the Crofton Hotel and will celebrate the new CD March 24.
Burness is very happy with the album.
“I would say it’s the best thing musically we’ve done,” she said.
Kingdom Come was recorded by Will O’Shaughnessy in the Burness’ basement, and it was mixed by Zak Cohen in Duncan and mastered by Brad Blackwood in Nashville.
“It’s a really big rock sound on the CD,” said Burness. “It just sounds awesome. When it came back from being mastered and we all listened to it, we all thought it was so good. It’s a good snapshot of where we’re at.”
Hard Rock Rising Battle of the Bands - Hard Rock Café, Toronto - March 8, 2012
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In 2009, Hard Rock Café launched an international battle of the bands called Hard Rock Rising in sup...In 2009, Hard Rock Café launched an international battle of the bands called Hard Rock Rising in support of independent artists around the world. The competition works in conjunction with Hard Rock Calling, an annual festival held in Hyde Park, London, England that began only a few years earlier in 2006. Past headliners and supporting acts of these festivals include The Who, Aerosmith, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, and Paul McCartney, and the grand prize of the Hard Rock Rising battle is a supporting slot for the headliner of the upcoming festival.
This is the second year in a row that I’ve followed the Canadian leg of Hard Rock Rising, watching thousands of Canadian bands being whittled down to twelve in the preliminary online voting round. It’s very exciting to see those twelve bands from all over the country battling it out over three live qualifying rounds at Hard Rock Café Toronto, followed by the final battle wherein one of the three finalists is crowned the Canadian representative and moves on to the worldwide voting round.
This year, those three finalists were Be Astronaut of Montreal, Hotel Royal of Oshawa/Whitby, and Skellig of Vancouver Island. Just like last year, and I’m sure every other year, these three bands were incredibly diverse in style and even more talented, all supercharged with lethal amounts of adrenaline and anticipation, which made for one hell of a show.
.....The second band up was Skellig, who I’m glad I got to see during the qualifying round because it gave me a point of comparison at the finals. Made up of a married couple and their son, another father and son duo, and a couple others both young and older, Skellig is a tried and true family band. Their Celtic-inspired country rock sound was more fun than intense, and their sunny smiles and 60s-hippy-like dancing are much suited to family-festival style atmospheres. Just like Hotel Royal, Skellig amped it up to the next level at the finals, showing everyone that they could have even more fun than thought possible, and the result was envy-inducing. Could you imagine being on stage, rocking out with your mom? How badass is that?
.......One thing I’ve learned about Hard Rock Rising is that, while winning the grand prize is a thrilling opportunity, there are really no losers. Bands are provided with priceless advantages like having their music downloaded by hundreds and even thousands of voters, meeting and building relationships with bands from other cities, and interacting with professional judges who usually have more to offer than a winning score.
Original Celtic rock debuts on the Coast
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Along with the grass this spring, a new talent has arisen, and folks on the Sunshine Coast are about...Along with the grass this spring, a new talent has arisen, and folks on the Sunshine Coast are about to become fans of Skellig — a “true family band”— when they play the Roberts Creek Hall on Saturday, May 26.
It’s been a busy year for Skellig since being named one of the top three out of 400 bands in the Hard Rock Rising Competition. They recently went back to Toronto to play the Hard Rock Café, where it all happened. At CelticFest Vancouver in March, Skellig was the most fun of any of the outdoor acts.
Formed in 1990 when Chris and Lisa Burness moved to Cape Town, South Africa, Skellig — Gaelic for “rock” — picked up the world beat and wed it to their love of Irish folk. Once back in the U.K., they toured extensively and produced two CDs, In Another Time and Fragile. Their original alternative Celtic rock is influenced by Irish folk, Led Zeppelin, U2, Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel.
Lead singer Chris Burness, known as “Billy the Viking,” dominates the stage with his powerful vocals. Partner Lisa plays violin and acoustic guitar, and is back-up vocalist.
Frustrated at 14 when she messed up a violin solo in school, Lisa was persuaded to try again and has established her own unique sound. While in South Africa she honed her skills as a songwriter.
In 2011 Shelley Brown and guitarist Dylan Wickham were added to the mix. The album Kingdom Come was produced that summer. Mixed by Zak Cohen in B.C. and Brad Blackwood in Nashville, and released earlier this year, the album has received rave reviews.
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Now based in Canada, Skellig set to release 'Kingdom Come' THE FOLK rock band Skellig, who relocate...Now based in Canada, Skellig set to release 'Kingdom Come'
THE FOLK rock band Skellig, who relocated from Dorset to Vancouver Island, Canada, will release their first album since 1998's 'Fragile (Handle With Care)" on 24th March. 'Kingdom Come' was mixed at Woodshop Recording Studios by Zak Cohen and mastered in Nashville by Brad Blackwood.
Mainly Original Tunes But some covers like:
Rock an Roll - Led Zeplin
Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry
Maggie May - Rod Stewart
Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Love Shack -B52s
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Nothing Else Matters - Metallica
Iris - Goo Goo Dolls
Rosemary - Foo Fighters
Fishermans Blues - The Waterboys
Raggle taggle Gypsey - traditional
a couple of Jigs and Reels
There are no upcoming dates at this time.