Sebastopol Celtic Festival

celtic1watercolor and Sharpee pen in Arches travel book

What a happy day I spent on Sunday with a good friend and the company of the finest Celtic musicians.  We sketched and clapped and danced and spritzed ourselves with water to cool down in the 100 degree heat.  Then more toe tapping music to bring a big smile to your face.  Even the mournful songs seemed to bring up a grin when the fiddlers kicked into high gear.  I particularly loved sketching some of these “strange” instruments I’d never seen before.  All these sketches were done on a lap which was vibrating with all the tapping of my toes to the captivating jigs and polskas and such.

celtic2Alasdair Fraser. . .the man with the fiddle . . .or is it manfiddle?  THis man and his fiddle are one divine source of music.  All the musicians were complaining about having to play in the middle of the day.  Geez.  I’d been up for 6 hours by then!

celtic3When the Swedish group Vasen got on the stage I realized that I have perfect credentials for a Celt.  My mother’s side were Finlys, Scots who lived in no. Ireland.  And my father’s side were all Norwegians, those pesky Vikings who raided and settled in the Emerald Isles.

celtic4I switched to pencil at this point for a bit more accuracy.

celtic5What happens when you mix Celtic with tribal rainforest music from the Cameroons?  And then you put it on the stage with dance and story telling?  The unadulterated high of Baka Beyond.

celtic6We were fascinated by this guy, who i’m naming the unstoppable dancing spectator, who stood by each stage all day long dancing his little jig step.  All day long, even in the midday heat.  I understand the infectiousness of this music, but he had a pretty extreme case of it.  Or maybe it was his day to run and he figured he’d get his aerobic exercise while attending the festival. . .

celtic7They piled on stage as dusk was coming, these musicians from around the world, and played as one.

My steps were several pounds lighter as I walked to my car.



  1. I am so jealous. Alasdair Fraser is a friend from long ago and I so miss hearing him play! In general I miss all sorts of celtic music–it is the rhythm of my soul. Glad to have an opportunity to visit the day through your work. Thanks.


  2. hey susan!

    your narrative is delightful, your drawings are delightful! thank you for sharing that rare and special day with me! i love celtic music, having a bit of the green in meself.

    see you thursday week, if you come to tndg.



  3. Sounds like blast Susan! – I sympathize with musicians having to play in the middle of the day though, it never feels right! Your mentioning of this tribal and celtic music togetherness made me think of a CD I have that I really love by the Afro-Celt Sound system, have you heard of them?


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