May 25, 2015 From Hoppy Trails Beer News by Bob Shoemaker

I went to Folklife on Saturday (May 23) and did the usual hiking through the crowds in search of joyful music before expanding my Seattle brewery knowledge. I found it in a Celtic group called Syren, a sister duet led by Fae Wiedenhoeft

I bought the CD (of course) and was fortunate to grab a quick conversation with her after the gig. I learned that she had other music available online through and CD baby. I also found a few YouTube posts. She also plays with a group called SeaStar and teaches voice and a variety of Celtic instruments.

February 26, 2015 - - With a velvet voice, a hearty laugh, & the traditions of the Celtic winds, Fae Wiedenhoeft takes her listeners on a musical journey through history & tradition. Fae is an award winning songwriter. Her traditional sounding compositions and heart breaking songs are loved and revered by many across the globe. She has traveled across the US, Canada, Ireland, Turkey, and most recently Scotland where she played in Dougie MacLean's Perthshire Amber Festival (2013) and the 2014 Celtic Connections Music Fest.

Her Castle Walls album is a collection of 12 songs with a timeless and melodic Celtic Folk flavor performed by Fae Wiedenhoeft.

The talented Chicago songstress has been performing since she can remember, and she eventually developed a certain confidence in her vocal skills that would allow her to craft beautiful harmonies and truly drive the songs with heartfelt dynamic swings.

Songs like "The Wild" or "Vidalia", feature a relatively straightforward instrumental backbone, with the classic folky rhythm stomp setting the mood. Fae is able to take that familiar format and turn it into a personal and original expression. "West Coast Morning" is probably our absolute favorite track on the recording. The acoustic guitar arpeggios bring the melody from bright to dark and back, adapting to the depth and richness of Fae's vocal range. We love the "bare" feeling of this track, as it relies on two sole elements, yet feels incredibly accomplished and full.

The second half of the album departs a bit from the Celtic footprint, embracing elements of Americana and blues: songs such as “Parksville” and “Melody” are great examples.

With “Castle Walls”, Fae Wiedenhoeft set out to represent many different musical expressions, translating them into a broadly appealing format and earns a 5 star review from Celtic Radio!

Posted in Album of the Week, Ross Macfadyen

The Celtic Music Radio Album of the Week commencing Saturday 8 February is from Fae Wiedenhoeft’s SeaStar who visited the Celtic Music Radio base at Adelaide’s, Glasgow during Celtic Connections 2014.

Fae Wiedenhoeft talked to Ross Macfadyen about her music, new album and her visits to Scotland.
With a velvet voice, a hearty laugh and the traditions of the Celtic winds, Fae takes her listeners on a musical journey through history and tradition. She performs independently and with her bands SeaStar and Syren throughout the Pacific Northwest. Compared and influenced by the greats of Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Sandy Denn, Fae’s song stories are a must for fans of Celtic folk.

Fae is a folky, Irishy, curly haired girl from Seattle, WA, USA, who likes to sing about love, birds and remembrances kept in a favourite hiding place.

Fae finds secrets in sea glass and stories in driftwood. Her music sounds like dancing flowers, wind through trees, and the raspberry sky at sunset. She loves to hear people’s tales and dip her toes into waters unknown.

Fae created a band in Seattle called SeaStar with bass player Captain Chambers, percussionist Michael Falcone, and guitarist Kelly Blanchard. The band just released their latest record North Winds and played this past November at the Perthshire Amber festival.

Fae also performs with her long time singing companion, Melody Benbow, in their band called Syren. The ladies have been together since 1998 and continue to entertained international audiences.

Album of the Week, Saturday 8 February 2014 at 12 noon and 12 midnight and Monday 10 February at 6.00pm.

"I've just finished listening to your CD "Hope." Not since I listened for the first time to the songs of Kate Wolf or Mary Black has a CD given me so much pleasure. It doesn't pay to try to explain why you like a song or any work of art. When you listen to a song that hits the target it is like a watch where the time reads only "Now" on its face. Nevertheless, I'll try to explain why your music gives me pleasure. First of all, your music is not escapist. Life is full of joy, loss, happiness, grieving, blues and ragtime. As my old history professor John Wolf used to say: "history is just one damn thing after another. And honesty requires that we look at the whole picture." When I listened to your "North" I was reminded of Mary Black's "Song for Ireland." And your treatment of love in your songs reminds me of Kate Wolf's melancholy appreciation of the joy and fragileness of our relations with each other. Please, understand I am not saying you are good because you sound like Kate and Mary. You are good because your understanding is on equal to theirs. And BTW you play the guitar well. Thank you so much."

-- Orville T. Murphy
August 2012
Musician, Writer, Scholar

"...born of Celtic and folk roots..." Sea Star consists of Fae Wiedenhoeft on vocals and guitar; Captain Chambers on bass; Geli Wuerzner on fiddle and vocals; and Michael Falcone on percussion, keys and vocals. This quartet from Bothell is now releasing their CD recorded in the tiny town of Index, Washington. All songs were written by Fae except for 'Dark Eyes', which is a traditional Russian tune with lyrics from Melody Benbow from Vancouver Island. I can't explain why 'Dark Eyes' conjures Marlene Dietrich, but it does. Perhaps it is the integral violin that makes these compositions seem right out of a gypsy camp. A formula of steady rhythm guitar, punctuating drums and bass, hypnotic violin and Fae Wiedenhoeft's voice makes for a pleasant mix.

These are mostly love songs and Fae opts to choose the best vocal line. Her voice is lovely and she can often do without words. The words, available at SeaStar's Facebook page are quite interesting.

Her vibrato is warm and captivating and these are nicely crafted tunes. 'True' has a mesmerizing guitar rhythm with counter melody notes plucked on the violin -- love songs with modern lyrics, but with an old feel. 'Broken' has the lyric "...if I surrender control, I can be free..." 'Sparrow' is a lovely song, with space for the keyboard, bass and violin. This is probably the best presentation of Fae's voice. "Who stole your wings little sparrow, little one. Who keeps you in the trees, far from your dreams?.... for the world is cold and the one you love's far from thee."

'Friday Smiles' sews together images of a current relationship, "we caught a boat beyond the blue, blue bridge and the seasons changed..." 'Moon Jubilee' contains, "... our very breath joins hands with the fog..." Fae works at her lyrics though they sometimes don't stand as tall above the mix of instruments. 'Drawn & Quartered' is instrumental and has interplay of the plucked violin and tapping of the hand drums. 'Lilac' begins with violin, pauses, and then Fae sings. This is probably the best track, "...and I saw reflections of summer trees and you, bicycle rides, laughter...we created new worlds out of clouds dressed as clowns." 'Home' is the title track and certainly has determination, "I'm not willing to say goodbye for this is my home."

Overall, this is nice music, beautiful violin stuff, rhythm, bass, lyrics and singing. Sea Star is chock full of originality, and it will be fun to see where this goes.

[J.W. McClure]
April 2012


By Steve Thorn, December 2011

Perhaps the most exotic Christmas album in my collection is a CD titled Christmas in Calcutta, a sitar-enhanced album given to me by an Indian musician after a riveting concert in La Jolla a few years back

. My newest entry in the “Yuletide World Music” section will also be given some well-deserved spins this month. Christmas Tapestry: East Meets West is an album that you probably won’t hear in the malls or during a 48-hour Christmas music marathon on the radio. And that’s perfectly fine; this is an album best enjoyed in front of a warm fireplace.

The album is a creative collaboration between two artists hailing from the Pacific Northwest: George Sadak and Fae Wiedenhoeft. A native Egyptian, Sadak is a master of the drums and the dumbek, an Egyptian form of the tabla. Since coming to the U.S., Sadak had the opportunity to use the ancient musicians to a vast array of musical genres. When he is not performing in concert, Sadak operates the Barking Dog Studios in Edmonds, Washington, the facility in which Christmas Tapestry was recorded. An exceptionally strong vocalist, Wiedenhoeft arrived in Victoria, British Columbia upon completion of a theater arts degree at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She first gained recognition for her inspired singing with a Celtic group, Kitangus. Like Sadak, she is into musical multi-tasking; when not on stage, Wiedenhoeft operates her own music program. For this disc, Sadak and Wiedenhoeft gathered the finest musicians from the Pacific Northwest’s Middle Eastern music scene. Maurice Rouman is featured on the oud, an instrument Western audiences will recognize as being similar to a lute. David McGrath plays a flute indigenous to the region called a nay (or ney). The violinists are Alimah Helming and Joel Gamble, Dan Sales plays the guitar, and John Sanders is featured on the accordion.

Generally, the songs on the CD veer toward the spiritual. “We Three Kings,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Silent Night,” “What Child Is This,” and “Oh Holy Night” all sound like they are from the repertoire of a good street group entertaining the pilgrims along the crowded cobblestone steps of Jerusalem (perhaps they are). Long associated with the 1958 version by the Harry Simeone Chorale, “Little Drummer Boy” becomes the “Little Tabla Boy” in the capable hands of Sadak. Two other nice departures from the usual arrangements are “Coventry Carol” and “Good King Wenceslas.” The most authentic composition on the CD is a Coptic hymm called “Eporro.” Coptic traditions and culture come from the Egyptian Christian faith, and this hymn features a splendid vocal from Samia Panni.

After the tenth track selection, there’s a mystery song that suddenly appears a minute later. My less-than-subtle hint is that one of the chorus lines goes “FIVE BAKLAVA.” Yes, it’s that song…

Christmas Tapestry is available through Amazon, CD Baby, and the album’s chief sponsor, the Ottoman Trading Company:

A unique concept, a unique album, a unique voice that sings for all ... Christmas Tapestry - East Meets West by George Sadak & Fae Wiedenhoeft
."The voice... I thought I was listening to an angel..."
-- Yakima Folklife

"Your voice reminds me so much of a younger Judy Collins. Like a feather trapped on gentle wind. Beautiful."
-- Stormy Young

"Your guitar and your voice have my soul soaring like a condor in the open sky..."
-- Kina Kosmica, Seattle Film Maker

Fae is the breath of dancing leaves in Spring. She is the voice of unending song riding atop galloping clouds. Her history travels through the Midwest, into Canada, the Pacific Northwest and lands where she lives without ever setting foot on their soil. She chases laughter like breath and she is a hungry soul who listens for the timeless tales of the people she meets. Fae is a friend and lover to all things musical, and she has become a messenger of song and dance.
Fae is stardust, falling around you, in the woods at night. Her music is the sound she makes as she falls gently, and mystically to Earth..."
Captain Chambers, Film Maker/Director of the Blue November MicroFilmFest

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