Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

Band Folk Celtic


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Last Night's Fun

Steve Cooper (timber flute, tin whistle, song) was born in Belfast , Northern Ireland , emigrated to the US as a child, and inherits traditional music (particularly Northern song) through his father, a noted singer. Originally self-taught on the tin whistle, he has since studied simple-system timber flute with Grey Larsen, Tara Diamond, Marcas O' Murchu, and Catherine McEvoy. Angela Mariani (guitar, mandola, song) is a vocalist and instrumentalist trained in rock, folk, and early musics. She hosts the nationally-syndicated program Harmonia on National Public Radio, directs the TTU Collegium, and teaches in Tech’s Music History and Literature Department. John Perrin (bodhrán, song) was a percussionist at Texas Tech, trained in rock, classical, and folk styles, with experience at a wide range of traditional musics. John is a band director in the Lubbock Independent School District, involved in many ensembles throughout the city.Chris Smith (tenor banjo, guitar, bouzouki, button accordion, song) is a multi-instrumentalist and musicologist on the faculty of the Texas Tech University School of Music. He is the author of Celtic Backup for All Instrumentalists and the forthcoming Irish Session Tunes by Ear, directs TTU’s Vernacular Music Center, and, with Angela Mariani, records for the Dorian Group with Altramar medieval music ensemble.

Coyote Banjo is a hot instrumental trio playing the traditional music of Ireland, played on tenor banjo, fiddle, and Irish bouzouki by three virtuosi in the field of Irish music.

In the great tradition of Irish dance music and song, a premium has always been upon the interaction of musicians: in exchanging songs and tunes, in sharing the music as it has migrated worldwide everywhere the Irish have found themselves, and in passing on the tradition to subsequent generations. With Coyote Banjo, Chris Smith, Randal Bays, and Roger Landes dig deep into that common language, finding new and innovative things to say in a centuries-old tradition. These musicians capture the excitement of a meeting of old friends making great new music together.

Chris Smith (banjo, mandola, mandolin, field organ) first heard traditional Irish music on floppy imported LP's from Ireland in the late 1970s. Since that time, he has played, taught, and recorded roots music from around the world for the past 25 years. He records and tours internationally with Altramar medieval music ensemble, and leads the Irish traditional band Last Night's Fun and the Juke Band (pre-WWII blues and jazz), and directs the Texas Tech University Ceili Band. He has lectured or performed at hundreds of colloquia, concerts, workshops, and pub sessions across the Continent and in Europe, and on National Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, and the Fox Network nationwide.

The Cork Examiner, Ireland's second largest newspaper, called Randal Bays (fiddle) "a rare beast, a master of both the fiddle and the guitar", and Fiddler Magazine said he is "among the best Irish style fiddlers of his generation." That's high praise for this self-taught American whose recordings and concerts have earned him recognition on both sides of the Atlantic as a multi-instrumentalist of uncommon talent. As writer Don Meade puts it in "The Irish Voice" (New York, Jan. 2001) "Still best known to many for his beautiful guitar accompaniment on fiddler Martin Hayes' early recordings, Randal himself is a marvelous fiddler, one of the best in the country." Randal has performed all over the U.S., Europe and Canada, including appearances at major festivals such as the San Francisco Celtic Music and Arts Festival, the Festival Des Musiques-Vivantes in France, the Willie Clancy Summer School and Festival in Ireland, the Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, North Carolina, the Alaska Irish Music Festival, California's Sebastopol Festival and many more. In addition to his work with Martin Hayes, Randal has recorded or performed with many great musicians, including James Kelly, John Williams, Daithi Sproule, Frank Kilkelly, Kevin Burke and Micheal O'Domhnaill.

Of Roger Landes (bouzouki), Celtic Heritage Magazine said: "Not only is Landes helping to legitimize the instrument -- he is taking it to a whole other level." Roger took up the bouzouki in 1981 while attending university, and quickly set about learning Irish tunes, also playing tenor banjo, mandolin, bodhran and uilleann pipes; as well as co-founding the popular Celtic band Scartaglen. When that group disbanded after a decade, he decided to concentrate on exploring the melodic capabilities of the bouzouki in 1994. His critically acclaimed CD Dragon Reels is the result of his intensive work mastering the intricacies of Irish traditional music. Since releasing Dragon Reels in 1997, Roger has produced several recordings for other artists, performed in a duo with singer Connie Dover and recorded Janissary Stomp, a collection of mostly original duets for two bouzoukis wi