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February 28 @ 8:00 pm
Celtic mythology is the genesis for this bands name and its attitude. The bands leader and principal vocalist, Kelly McDermott, embodies attributes of Nessa, the Celtic goddess who transformed from a sweet, unassuming lass to a firebrand that any womens empowerment group would love to have as its leader. She went about righting wrongs and turning bad situations to good.
Kelly has done some transforming, as well. She trained as a classical flutist, reaching the top of her profession as a performer and teacher, but her soul called for something more adventurous and whimsical. Well into her career, while preparing for a classical Flute and Guitar Duo concert one day, her performer-partner asked if they could sing a folk duet at the concert. She declined, claiming not to be a singer. After much coaxing, though, she agreed to join in.
She admits that her life changed forever that night and she became a vocalist, band leader, composer and arranger, as well as a flutist. She gathered around her a band of highly trained and active classical and jazz performers. The result? Our music often includes a few jazz chords, and improvisation. We use imaginative combinations of instruments, such as a sruti box, didgeridoo, umbra, temple bells, song bowls, ocarinas and more, Kelly says.
All the members of Nessa, feel blessed to be musicians and to have the opportunity to share their creations with audiences and to elevate their spirits. Our hope is that during a show people will transcend to another time and place, to experience ancient mythological stories and beings, to be uplifted with our positive messages, to be energized by our dances, to feel primal sensations through our world-beat drums and didgerdoo, and to laugh at our banter. We want people to leave our shows feeling goodness, healing and hope. Most often this is the reaction that Nessa receives from its audiences.
Kelly researches and writes much of the bands music. She and husband Rob (Nessas bass player) arrange the Celtic ballads and put their unique flavor into the music. The band is categorized as World Music-Celtic-inspired, but it incorporates sounds and rhythms from the Caribbean, Africa, India, Irish traditional, jazz, classical, minimalist, funk, and folk genres. The built-in versatility makes Nessa able to focus on a single style, or to mix things up in fun and unexpected ways.
Also essential to the performance is Kellys banter, which mixes history, myth, and interesting facts. I talk with the audience about the types of stories I sing about love songs, sad stories, obscure sea creatures, saints, festivals, and more. My mission is for people to experience magic and hope through our positive music.
Nessas fans have a universal demographic: men and women, 20- to 80-year-olds (and even older and younger), all ethnic groups. This is heart and spirit music that appeals to nearly everyone. Listeners can expect the dreamy quality of Loreena McKennit, the drive of traditional groups like Solas, and the innovation of Pentangle.