A St. Paul, Minn.,-based trio provided a lesson in Scottish and Irish music as part of the National Music Museum’s Brown Bag Lunch program Sept. 16.
The trio, comprised of instrumentalist Laura MacKenzie, guitarist/percussionist Ross Sutter and violinist/dancer Danielle Enblom, presented “Celtic Wizardry: Wind-Powered Instruments” over the lunch hour. The musical performance included MacKenzie on the penny pipe, various wooden flutes, bagpipes, accordion and horn.
MacKenzie, the group’s leader, said Irish and Scottish music has been her focus for the last 35 years.
“I spent time studying in the archives of traditional music at the University of Edinburgh which influenced today’s performance,” MacKenzie said.
Sutter said he also started playing the music after traveling to Europe.
“I was living in England when I started listening to recordings of Scottish and Irish music,” Sutter said. “I later traveled to Scotland and Ireland and started playing the music.”
MacKenzie and Sutter started playing together 25 years ago.
“I met Ross through the Irish dance and music community in St. Paul,” MacKenzie said. “I’ve played with him ever since.”
Enblom recently joined the group as a Celtic dancer and violinist.
“I’ve known Laura since I was 12,” Enblom said. “Her music has influenced me as a musician and dancer.”
While Sutter played Irish percussion instruments throughout the performance, Enblom provided another beat through her dancing. She performed old-style Irish dances, including Chanóis and Kate Breton step dancing.
“Adding the dancing to the musical performance was an organic process,” Enblom said. “Dancing was always an integral part of Irish music. They’ve always just gone together.”
Enblom said her favorite part of performing is teaching the audience about Irish and Scottish music.
“I love showing the audience how many different cultural dance and music forms there are,” Enblom said. “I like being able to share this tradition.”
MacKenzie said she hoped the audience took away a sense of joy from the music and dancing.
“The fact that a diverse group of people enjoy listening to Scottish and Irish music makes me happy,” MacKenzie said. “It’s not just for people of Scottish and Irish descent.”
Because the performance provides an array of instruments, Sutter said he loves listening to the different instruments MacKenzie plays.
“I hope the audience hears something they like and have the desire to hear more,” Sutter said.
Reach reporter Kayla Prasek at Kayla.M.Prasek@usd.edu