Not your average teen band

Cele De is, from left, Robby, Amy, Samuel, Olivia and Peter.

By Robby Valderrama
In March of 2002, a series of events occurred that changed my
life. Although I had played guitar for more than two years and
loved the instrument, I had yet to join a band. However, when a
local conference needed some musicians, that all changed.
By Robby Valderrama

In March of 2002, a series of events occurred that changed my life. Although I had played guitar for more than two years and loved the instrument, I had yet to join a band. However, when a local conference needed some musicians, that all changed.

When the event staff invited my sister Olivia, my longtime friends Samuel, Amy, Peter and myself to play at the event, we immediately began learning songs. As soon as this process began, we knew we had chemistry uncommon to the vast majority of bands. Growing up in the same school and church, our new relationship as fellow band members was a natural transition.

After learning a jig – an upbeat Irish song – Samuel, one of our violinists, taught it to the rest of the band. Within weeks, we had a repertoire of about 10 songs, many of them Celtic. We even had a name, Cele De, which in Latin, translates to Servants of God.

When the time finally came for the conference, we were ready. After performing, and then recording a live demo, we sold more than 60 copies that weekend alone! The conference was a huge success and encouraged us to continue as a band.

Shortly after, we began playing everywhere from churches and schools to coffee shops and pubs. After a year or so, the opportunity for a studio-produced CD presented itself. After weighing the options, we gave it a shot.

A few months down the road, we had a full-length album, titled Mist on the Mountain. Taking our show, and new record, to the streets, we ventured to many locations, including Southern California. During this time, we played at colleges, conferences, and, my favorite location, Knott’s Berry Farm.

Another venue we connected ourselves with was the Highland Games movement. Basically, these “games” are a celebration of Scottish heritage, and oftentimes feature artists both nationally and internationally recognized. We have played at several of these, including the Campbell Games, the Loch Lomond Games, and the largest Highland games outside of Ireland: the Pleasanton Games.

Last August, to see how our band stacked up against competition, as well as gain national exposure, we signed up for GMA’s Music in the Rockies, held in Estes Park, Colorado. Qualifying for the final round, we managed to get third place in our category.

Over the last year, our style has changed measurably. Rather than limiting ourselves to traditional Celtic tunes, we began writing originals. With about 20 of these self-written songs, our sound has gone from typical “Celtic” music to what we like to call “Neo-Celtic.”

In light of this recent shift, we decided to make another album. Currently, although we keep busy with performances, we have been in the studio recording. This next album will feature mostly our new originals. But for now, you can listen to us online, or see us at a show. For more information, including directions to these venues, visit our Web site at www.celede.net.

St. Patrick’s Day Shows

• Sonoma Chicken Coop, 200 E Campbell Ave Campbell, CA 95008

12-2pm

• Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, 1220 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

4-6pm

• Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, 355 Santana Row #1060, San Jose, CA 95128

7-9pm

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