Fortunate Strangers perform at Celtic Series Saturday

Fortunate Strangers perform as part of Brewery Art Center's Celtic Series on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Fortunate Strangers perform as part of Brewery Art Center's Celtic Series on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Celia Ramsay and her husband took a trip to Ireland and coincidentally, she made new friends to play music with back in the states. She was wandering the town of Dingle, Ireland, and said they must go to O’Flaherty’s Bar. While in there, she saw a couple of familiar faces.

“I know those people,” she said.

But her husband said no, she didn’t and didn’t believe she could have known these people halfway around the globe. She decided to walk across the room and talk to these strangers, and it turns out they were Joe and Kathy Bly, from Carson Valley.

They all had recognized each other from a music camp they all attended in Mendocino, Calif. The Blys were hiking the Dingle Trail and happened to be in the bar at the same time.

“It took us a few minutes to sort out that it was a music camp that we met each other,” Ramsay said.

They became Fortunate Strangers. They got together back in the states and the trio booked gigs.

“We’ve known each other for many years at this point,” Ramsay said.

The group performs Saturday as part of the Brewery Arts Center Celtic Concert Series. The last time they played together in Carson City was two years ago. They’ll be adding another familiar face for the show when local fiddler Holly Sternberg joins them on stage.

“It’ll be a really good show,” Ramsay said. “This will be fun.”

Ramsay said this could be Fortunate Strangers’ last show, because of the distance from her home in Berkeley, Calif., to the Blys in Carson Valley.

The band performs traditional tunes and a mix of Scottish, Irish and some US music. The trio takes turns singing, and the three do harmonies together or sometimes just two take it on. Kathy plays guitar and box accordion; Joe plays guitar, whistles and flute; and Ramsay plays piano and sings.

Ramsay looks forward to her trip to Carson City. Her father lived in Reno, and she said she has an affinity, and a romance built around certain places.

“Physically I just feel comfortable, and I associate it (the area) with my father,” she said.

She’s looking forward to driving through the Sierra Nevada to get to the high desert and getting to do this show with the Blys and visit Carson City.

“I like Carson in particular,” she said. “It’s cool; it’s not huge; it’s not teensy. It feels like a place that has a lot of lovely potential.”


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