North Sea Gas, one of Scotland's most popular folk bands and winner of multiple Gold and Silver Disc awards from the Scottish Music Industry Association, will perform at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House tonight at 8 p.m., as part of its month-long 2012 U.S. tour.
Known for its fantastic musicianship and tremendous three-part harmonies, which have been entertaining audiences worldwide for more than three decades, the band combines guitars, mandolin, fiddle, bouzouki, whistles, bodhrans and banjo with good humor to entertain sell-out audiences from China to Turkey to Canada and the U.S.
Ronnie MacDonald, Grant Simpson and Dave Gilfillan comprise the group. They have recorded 15 albums and are constantly adding new material to their show, with the latest album, "Tak a dram afore ye go," proving yet again very popular with fans all over the world.
North Sea Gas band performing in a previous concert.
In performances, the band regularly mixes traditional, contemporary and self-penned material, all put together in a style of its own. The band regularly tours Scotland, Canada, the U.S., Germany and Austria, and makes frequent appearances on television and radio shows, including the popular Late Night Saturday and Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour.
In 2008, the band recorded for Chinese television with an estimated audience of 800 million a highlight of any artist's career.
Gilfillan is the band's lead singer and a founding member. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, he plays guitar, banjo, mandola, bodhran, foot drum, harmonica and whistle. A full-time professional musician for the past 23 years, Gilfillan also is a qualified carpenter. He has built a reputation for rousing sing-alongs, tongue-in-cheek humor and prompting fun on the stage, but he also is quite adept at big, heartfelt ballads.
Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, MacDonald is another founding member of North Sea Gas, although he left the band for 15 years to form his own group in Australia. He returned to Scotland eight years ago and rejoined North Sea Gas. MacDonald plays guitar and bouzouki, as well as several other instruments, and sings both lead and harmony vocals.
The youngest member of the group is Simpson, whose fiddle playing The Scotsman called "phenomenal ... he can play that fiddle like a man possessed." Originally from Lossiemouth in the northeast of Scotland, he now lives in Edinburgh. He sings harmony vocals and the occasional solo, and also plays guitar, bouzouki and mandola.
The North Sea Gas performance is part of the Folk in Fredonia Music Series, which is sponsored annually by the Gilman Family. The event also is sponsored by the OBSERVER. Tickets to the performance are $15 ($13 for Opera House members) and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 716/679-1891, Tuesday through Friday, 1-5 p.m. They also may be purchased online any time at www.fredopera.org. Opera House media partners are WDOE-AM and Kix Country 96-FM radio.
Chautauqua County's only year-round performing arts center, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. A complete schedule of events is available at www.fredopera.org.