Gaelic Fusion is a metamorphosizing band of long time and up-and-coming Fairbanks Celtic musicians. They often also play in other bands, but get together to have a good time and mix it up. Today’s Gaelic Fusion is currently composed of Rohan Weeden on fiddle and Gary Newman on guitar. Max Newman on the left joins us when we can bring him home from Boston. We play a lot of Northern music – French-Canadian and New England styles of traditional music as well as our standby Irish and old time music. If you’d like to have a fun bunch of folks play for a dance, wedding, wake, or just for fun, we’d love to do it – just contact us. (907) 488-2001 or gary(at)alaskafolkmusic.org.
You can listen to some first takes of their music:
Russell Daly’s & Fling McGinty – a couple of dance flings from the Suffering Gaels
Marie Claire-Martin-O’Connor’s Flying Clog-Koehler’s Hornpipe
Beauty of the North – A lovely Strathspey that Rohan plays
The Rambling Pitchfork-Four Courts-Salvation-Reel – a traditional Irish jig paired with a couple of fun reels, Max is on mandolin
Saari & Kristen – Max is on mandolin, playing a waltz he wrote for a cousin
Miss Gayton’s Hornpipe & Jacky Tar
Spiral Staircase – shamelessly lifted from last year’s Stringrays CD.
Gaelic Fusion History
Formed in 1999, Gaelic Fusion’s first public performance was at Alaskaland, now Pioneer Park, that summer. They have since played for contradances, weddings, company parties, anniversaries, and other private and public events. The line-up over the years has included Gary Newman, Julie Baldridge, Caitlin Warbelow, Marty Baldridge, Max Newman, Erin Tilly, Pat Webb, Kyla McGroarty, Paige Steiner, Nate McDonald, Rebecca Dunne, Dennis Stephens, Siri Tuttle, Rohan and Tessa Weeden, and John Adams.
All have music in their lives still with two of them full time trad musicians.
Gaelic Fusion Members Past and Present
- Gary plays guitar, mandolin and octave mandolin in Gaelic Fusion and provides PA sound equipment and engineering for various Fairbanks area groups and events. He is a founding member of the longest running Fairbanks based Celtic band Celtic Confusion.
- Julie now lives in Seattle and plays in a number of alternative music bands, including The Excogitants, God of Shamisen, Monktail Creative Music Concern participant and more.
- Caitlin, a graduate of Boston University ’04 and Columbia ’08 in urban planning, spends a lot of time playing in the NYC area with established and up-and-coming Irish musicians. She’s also performed in the Heartbeat of Home production of Riverdance fame as well as other Broadway shows.
- Marty plays concertina and sometimes guitar in an English country group here in Fairbanks and she continues her distinctive pottery work. She also played guitar in the now defunct ‘Shamrocks on Ice’ band.
- Max, a graduate of Harvard University ’07 in government, now plays for contradances and Irish music events throughout New England and beyond. He plays guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo, ukelele, occasional keyboard and accordion, and excels at the French Canadian style of foot percussion. His main band is the iconic Rodney Miller’s Stringrays band, but also plays all over the country with others. Of all the musicians who have played with Gaelic Fusion, Max is the only one who has gone on to play contra music professionally.
- Erin, a 2006 graduate in art from the University of Alaska and a professional massage therapist trained in Vancouver, has numerous specialties in art, construction, massage, along with musical talents on flute, whistle, clarinet, bodhran and other percussion instruments.
- Pat had primarily played fiddle with Celtic Confusion and, with a B.A. and M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Alaska had a day job as a super-duper programmer for the Arctic Region Supercomputer Center, but moved some years ago to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- Kyla plays music wherever she goes, traveling all over the North and South American continents until settling with her family back here in Fairbanks. Her main band had been Slightly Askew, a solid Fairbanks area mostly bluegrass band.
- Paige, now living in Denver, had also played fiddle with Celtic Confusion. We do miss her vibrant fiddling and harmonic improvisations.
- Nate comes with a solid bluegrass upbringing, like his father Bart. When not providing solid backup, one can hear him flatpicking Norman Blake songs in the background and has taken up the fiddle as well. His day job is working in the electrical trade with the union IBEW. Good for him, as we are sorely lacking for people to do real tradeswork in Fairbanks.
- Rebecca came from Delaware and has lots of cats, dogs, and a bird to keep her and her husband company. Fittingly, she works at the FNSB Animal Shelter. She now plays with the local band Ice Jam
- Dennis, now retired from the UAF Library system, has played with the Red Hackle Pipe Band for decades, but likes to mix it up with less voluminous (pun alert) mostly percussive instruments as well.
- John plays a variety of styles of music on mandolin and fiddle, occasionally bringing out his tenor banjo.
- Siri plays many styles of music – classical, klezmer and our styles of music on fiddle, viola, piano and percussion.
- Rohan has been venturing out with traditional styles of music since coming to Fairbanks sessions. Writing tunes, getting into music theory and attending dances and music camps, he’s a real asset to Gaelic Fusion. Rohan is finishing up a masters in Computer Science at UAF.
- Tessa, playing a lot of classical music, has been similarly drawn into trad music and invited into Gaelic Fusion when both she and Rohan were playing ever so well at an Irish music session in late 2013. Tessa was the valedictorian in the class of 2016 at Lathrop High School.