Charmas’ core 5-piece band includes:
Elise’s musical family started teaching her piano and music theory ate age 5. She played flute in her middle school’s marching band, and fell in love with folk music at Yosemite’s first Strawberry Music Festival. (Yikes, how many years ago?) She learned stage band mechanics from spending a decade operating handheld cameras and directing real-time music videos for live-feed screens at the Concord Pavilion. A whimsical decision to take up fiddling doomed her to misspend countless early motherhood evenings learning hundreds of traditional Irish and Scottish tunes at Santa Cruz’s drop-in Celtic sessions, joining monthly old time jams, and occasionally fiddling for a bluegrass jam or barndance. Elise’s first inspiration for founding Charmas came from her favorite Celtic bands, The Old Blind Dogs and Molly’s Revenge. She was inspired to learn bagpiping by a lifetime of marching behind weekly summertime bagpipe parades, and nowadays competes with the Monterey Bay Pipe Band, marches with Canada’s Kincardine Scottish Pipe Band, and performs solo as a “Phantom Piper” for a historic lighthouse in Canada.
DAN BLAKE – bass, vocals Dan’s musical adventure began at age 10 when his Scottish grandma gave him guitar lessons. He didn’t keep up the lessons, but grandma insisted he keep the guitar just in case he decided to pick it back up. That’s exactly what happened and he still owns and plays that old Yamaha guitar 45 years later! While still playing guitar, he found a love of all things bass along the way and has played in local bands for many years. He has also sung with the Santa Cruz Peace Choral and hopes to continue if time allows. He’s excited to continue his musical journey with Charmas. If you don’t see him on stage around town look for him in the audience watching others playing! His motto? Support live music!
Additional musicians who rotate in with Charmas include:
MIKE LONG: Best known as the author of Santa Cruz’s own “bible” of traditional Irish and Scottish tunes – the King Street Tune Book – Mike claims to have known all the tunes in his giant book at one time or another. He is the guitar player for the band Dance Around Molly. And, in addition to impeccably keeping the beat, he plays tenor banjo for local sessions and dances.
Chris was born in the UK, both of his parents natives of the town of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He spent many summer hols visiting his grandparents and family, learning to fish on the river Ugie and walking on the beach in the lee of Rattrey Head. He fondly recalls his first taste of Whiskey, thieved from a barrel in the Long John Distillery where his grandfather was the cooper. He has actually been to where the Gaudie Rins (o’er the back o’ Bennachie). If you every hear the band perform The Bonnie Lass of Fyvie, or Ye Canna Shove Yer Grannie Off a Bus you know who to blame. Chris also owns what he believes to be one of the largest collections of The Broons & Oor Wullie Annuals in the Bay Area. As for music, being versed in styles ranging from jazz and blues to rock and funk, Chris has gigged extensively up and down the West Coast, supporting acoustic singer songwriters and finger-style guitarists, joining full electric free jazz ensembles, and being the bandleader of his own rock and R&B projects. Chris’ influences draw from classical, ambient and world music, embracing improvisation while holding down the bottom end. His move to the Bay Area in 1999 led him to play bass & mandolin for the East Bay Celtic band “Snakes in Eden,” and then another move to the South Bay in 2005 redirected him to join the Jerry Garcia tribute project “The Days Between,” while also spending several years playing pub rock with local Morgan Hill favorites “The Newcastle Brothers,” and sitting in with great players from all over the area. A baritone singer, Chris plays 4, 5 & 6 string fretted & fretless bass, as well as guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, and cello.
CARL HYLIN: Carl is a versatile multi-instrumentalist who has played in musical styles ranging from Renaissance madrigals to punk rock. As a pre-show performer for Michael Johnathon’s Troubadour Concert series in Kentucky, Carl warmed up for Dave Brubeck, Emmylou Harris, Janis Ian, and other greats. He is versed in musical traditions from Russia, the Middle East, and Ireland, and has won a bronze medal at the prestigious All-Ireland Music Festival. When he’s not playing music, Carl dreams about building a legion of robotic spider-minions. He used to be a rocket scientist.
GALT BARBER: Galt is the fiddler for Dance Around Molly. He has been avidly playing Irish music for 20 years. He loves the Irish language and has two sons who speak it with him. Nothing’s more fun for Galt than playing music for others.
CARLETON EYSTER: This local marine biologist is a long time fixture of Irish sessions in Santa Cruz. His Celtic wooden flute seems to know just about every tune thrown at him, and he plays the flute with lyricism that can pacify savage beasts and summon song birds.
DEBBIE DOSS: Raised in Miami and South Beach, Florida by her proud Irish family (The Mullaney’s from New England), Debbie grew up on a steady dose of Celtic music with Latin musical surroundings. Her musical training started at a young age while she was learning the alphabet – getting solid on letters A-G on the recorder and soon performing Baroque classics with her brother. After trying her hand at several instruments in her youth (ukulele, guitar, violin, clarinet, bassoon) she settled on the flute/piccolo for high school and university bands and choral groups. She eventually found that playing the drums/percussion was her passion. For the past 20 years she has been performing with a wide variety of musical groups on drums and percussion from small singer/songwriters, pop/rock groups, choral to concert /marching bands.
KIM FULTON-BENNETT: Another local marine biologist, Kim is a multi-instrumentalist who enjoys playing Celtic flute and occasionally mandolin. He has classical training on clarinet, bassoon, flute and alto sax. His diverse musical interests have inspired him to perform regularly with bands who play rock and reggae, as well as Celtic music.
MATHEW HARMON: When Mathew turned 18, he was gifted an ovation guitar, which inspired him to begin learning and writing folk songs. Throughout the years, Mathew has studied bouzouki, banjo, fiddle, and guitar. He plays many styles of folk music, including Turkish, Ladino, Klezmer, Irish, and traditional American. Between 2010 and 2013 he toured the country with the Indie folk bands Matador and Pale Robin, performing at the Northwest folklife festival. In 2013, he received an AA degree in Music with emphasis on Cello. He currently studies guitar with folk legend Jim Oakden in Santa Cruz.
BRUCE DORAN: “Bassman Bruce” occasionally holds down the low end for Charmas, and frequently performs with various Santa Cruz jazz ensembles.
MICHAEL KERWIN O’BROAIN: Michael started playing bass at 17, mainly due to uncooperative girlfriends. He quickly worked his way up to managing a 10-piece band, and producing multiple recordings of his own original music, arranged for full band with three- and sometimes four-piece horn sections. Although he is a bassist at heart, he has also performed and recorded on guitar and piano, and has many lead and backing vocal credits. Fortunate enough to attend Alisdair Fraser’s “Fiddle Camp” for a few years as an “accompanist” on bass and guitar, Michael learned the subtle intricacies of Celtic rhythms. Seven days in the woods with over a hundred fiddle players will definitely change a person. These adventures also included regular study under preeminent Celtic guitarist Tony McManus. A tragic addiction to Guinness stout, acquired during a hitch-hiking trip through Ireland, still haunts Michael, but he assures us regular access to “the Black” was not a major factor in his joining the band.
JACK HANLEY: Frequently performing in a Klezmer band, Jack is a spunky outdoorsman who loves all kinds of folk music, and looks swank keeping the beat on his Irish bodhran drum.