Liesel Wilson – Vocals, Fiddle, Erhu
Liesel began singing and playing violin and fiddle from an early age. She began performing as an erhu soloist after studying abroad in China. She specializes in singing in languages besides English, including Mandarin Chinese, Gàidhlig, Irish, Early Scots, Russian, Spanish, and Welsh.
Sue Spencer – Guitar, Vocals
Sue comes by her Irish roots through Newfoundland, off the East Coast of Canada. She has performed internationally as part of such well-known groups as Willowgreen and McInnis’ Kitchen. Her vocals have a Newfoundland feel, and her driving guitar style and signature smile will lift your spirits. Sue has also been nominated multiple times for the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Hall of Honour Award.
Jim Ofsthun – Drum, Vocals, Tin Whistle, Bouzouki
Jim is a talented vocalist and instrumentalist with international performances on Irish bodhrán, guitar, button accordion, and tin whistle. He is also a member of McInnis’ Kitchen, and a former member of Willowgreen. He has family connections to the music through Ireland and Newfoundland, and is considered one of the top producers in Irish music in the Midwest.
Mary MacGillivray – Fiddle, Vocals
Mary grew up in Scotland in a musical family, where she learned to speak and sing in Gàidhlig and play traditional Scottish fiddle tunes. She has performed at numerous festivals and events throughout Scotland as well as festivals in Ireland, France, Australia, Canada and the U.S. with renowned bagpiper Duncan MacGillivray, and fiddler/bagpiper, Iain MacGillivray. Mary has also been a part of the University of Edinburgh String Orchestra and the Highland Regional Youth Orchestra, and has taught at numerous fiddle schools, including Alasdair Fraser’s Celtic Connections in Scotland, the Willie Clancy Fiddle school in Ireland, and Celtic Junction Arts Center in St. Paul, MN.
The RavensFire Band is well known all around the area for their energetic performances, beautiful vocal harmonies, and skilled instrumentals while playing and singing their unique collection of lively traditional Irish, Folk, World, Americana and original music. They are very talented, funny and friendly musicians who show that they truly love to perform.
RavensFire has played dozens of local venues and festivals all around the area through the years, including the main stages at festivals in Milwaukee, St. Paul, Emmetsburg, La Crosse, and Rochester. The busy calendar includes performances at concerts, festivals, theater productions, public and private events all over the area.
The award-winning members of the band have also performed and recorded in Nashville, Las Vegas and Dublin, Ireland. The RavensFire band was warmly received on a recent third singing tour in Ireland.
Audiences everywhere clap furiously along with the RavensFire band’s version of the popular old song Whisky in the Jar, and chime in proudly on the original patriotic piece, Hurrah for the Heroes. The new CD features both of these songs and many more. A frequent comment from our enthusiastic fans is “You guys look like you’re having fun!” We are having fun, and whether it’s late night at a crowded pub or on a sunny afternoon at a festival, we invite everyone to come close and get caught up in the Fire!
Highland Reign, a Celtic band from Indianapolis takes the tunes of the old country and breathes a rocking new life into them! With traditional such as “Black is the Color”, originals like “Streets of Edinburgh”, Highland Reign brings the union of traditional Celtic and rock to pleasing new levels.
Playing venues and festivals all across America, Scotland and Ireland for over ten years. Highland Reign is poised to make a lot of noise in the world Celtic music scene. With chilling bagpipes/guitar tunes, the rocking lilt of the fiddle and upbeat vocals, Highland Reign will rock you back to the old country!
Brass Lassie, a bold new band based in the Twin Cities of St. Paul/Minneapolis, combines traditional tunes, songs and style with dazzling modern horn lines, sparking their own genre of eclectic, remarkable music. 10-member strong, the ensemble performs extraordinary takes on Scottish, Irish and French music, traditional and new, featuring a powerful 4-piece horn section, a terrific rhythm section, fine fiddles, flutes, pipes, vocals and some fabulous step dancing. Smart, joyous horn arrangements by top notch jazz arranger Peter Enblom, plus some great band arrangements from David Milne.
Brass Lassie’s members have come together from a broad spectrum: traditional music, big bands, show bands, jazz, orchestral, roots and world music, step-dance. Our rich repertoire includes traditional and new Irish reels, jigs and hornpipes, Scottish and French-Canadian tunes, ancient Irish airs, Cape Breton dance tunes and puirt à beul (mouth music), new arrangements of Scots Gaelic waulking songs, music from Brittany and Central France, Scottish ballads with a big band spirit, and even Latin-infused Celtic dance tunes.
Our influences are the likes of La Bottine Souriante, Altan, Liz Carroll, Salsa Celtica, the many traditional musicians we have met along the way – but our sound and arrangements are undeniably and expressly Brass Lassie in concept, form, spirit and delivery.
Brass Lassie’s founder, Laura MacKenzie, carefully envisioned this big band for several years. It was realized at last in 2016 with a triumphant summer debut. This year, Brass Lassie will be recording their first studio album.
With a degree in Music Education, Ross has years of experience working with children, and has developed many popular and time-tested school programs on a variety of engaging themes. In 2011 Ross was honored to receive the Sally Ordway Irvine award for excellence in arts education.
As a third-generation Swedish-American, Ross is inspired by his Scandinavian heritage, performing songs learned from his grandmother and from his own travels and study. His “adopted” cultures of Scotland and Ireland have also provided a rich resource of music and song.
Ross accompanies himself on guitar, dulcimer, button accordion and bodhran, the Irish goat-skin drum. He is happy to tailor a program to a sponsor’s event, such as songs of immigration for museums and schools, Irish and Scottish songs for Celtic festivals, or Scandinavian singing games and dances for Midsummer or Christmas celebrations.
Ross’s instrument building workshops are a special treat for children and families. His popular one-string dulcimer and dancing limberjack building workshops are time-tested and always lead to successful completion and an instrument that will last for years. These workshops are appealing for mixed age groups and have been a great success in schools, festivals, camps and churches.
Ross’s work is featured on the recordings Walking on Air, Up the Raw, Crossing the Shannon, Hunger No More, Songs By Heart, Over the Water, Ye Banks and Braes, and on his highly popular children’s recording, Mama Will You Buy Me a Banana?
Erianna Macpherson Reyelts, a Duluth native, has been active in the Scottish community since birth. Starting at the wee age of three, Erianna was a competitive highland dancer and remained so for over 20 years. Erianna continues to perform and teach dance in the Twin Cities area and in Duluth, MN where her parents, Barbara Macpherson Reyelts and Steve Reyelts are very active with the Duluth Scottish Heritage Association. Erianna hopes to follow in her mother’s footsteps and have her own studio of highland dance one day.
Erianna continues the family tradition of classically trained vocal performance, singing Scottish and Irish music throughout the Midwest. She recently performed at a Macpherson Clan Gathering in Kingussie, in the highlands of Scotland, performing a variety of ballads, acapella lullabies and ancient Scottish hymns. She has been also performed at many private events, galas, clan gatherings, and Burn’s Nights with accompaniment ranging from fiddles to accordions to bagpipes.
Erianna is honored and excited to be performing at the Minnesota Scottish Fair 2018 Highland Games!