Terri Brown knows her Celtic Music. The local singer and multi-instrumentalist is in two Celtic-inspired groups, one a trio of women called Hazelwood and the other a four-piece acoustic ensemble called Skewlines.
Brown grew up in Calgary — and visited her Grandmother in Qualicum Beach in the summers — but left there 20 years ago making her home in places like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Hornby Island, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
She studied piano from the age of five but switched to guitar in her teens. She has taken singing lessons and sung in a number of choral groups and bands over the years while also becoming very accomplished at a number of instruments.
In all the places she lived there was always informal music sessions going on at pubs and other community spaces that involved plenty of Celtic music, she said. She wanted to learn the tunes initially to go and play with friends, and before too long she became somewhat of an expert on the stuff herself.
“It kind of just grows on you and your repertoire starts to build up and then before you know it you know every Irish song that was ever written,” she laughed.
When living on an island in Galway Bay, Ireland, Brown got plenty of exposure to the Irish music traditions. She hosted one of the pub night music sessions and would then head down the road to the next session when hers was finished.
Her group Skewlines arose out of the Irish session tradition and has been around for about a year and a half, playing mostly original tunes using a multitude of instruments.
“Skewlines is a circus of every kind of instrument you can possibly imagine,” said Brown.
Brown herself plays the guitar, fiddle, bohran, harp, hammered dulcimer, a bit of flute and that’s not all. She said the group each play at least three or four instruments at any given show.
Brown explained that Skewlines is a bit more experimental than her other group, taking on some Greek and Turkish music and the occasional Scandinavian folk tune.
Hazelwood was formed this year when Skewlines members couldn’t take a gig. Brown had played with Hazelwood member Charity Munro and had met Shelley Brown and knew of her skills.
“So I asked if they wanted to do it with me and we had such a wonderful time and we sounded so nice together that we just couldn’t let it end there,” she said.
Brown plays the guitar in this group, Munro the fiddle and Shelley the bodhran, or Irish frame drum. All three have choral backgrounds and Brown said the group’s three-part harmonies have become their hallmark. Although the instrumentation evokes a kind of Celtic mood, Brown said, the music they play comes from all over.
Hazelwood will be playing on August 5 at the Friday Night Artisan Market, outside the Old School House in Qualicum Beach. Skewlines will be playing the same market on August 19.
For more information on Skewlines visit www.skewlinesmusic.com, for more on Hazelwood visit www.hazelwoodmusic.ca.
The Friday Night Artisan Market takes place every Friday evening from 3 to 8 p.m. with a variety of artwork and live music.
For more information on the market and the artisans visit the website at www.artisansinqualicumbeach.shawwebspace.ca.