Concert Report on the Unfortunate Rakes

Artists use music as a social way to communicate with people. No matter our culture, music is something people are touched by. Some consider it a healing because it expresses our humanity. Besides, it has special powers that bond us together. Therefore, attending live concerts or events is something important in our lives. Music motivates us, instills a sense of community in ourselves and diversifies our performances. This report will entail performances and discussion about music from a local Celtic music group called the Unfortunate Rakes. The group is made of three individuals who possess the eclectic musical background and have gained praise for their performances of traditional and original music from Scotland, Ireland, Canada and Brittany.

On March 10, 2016, at 1:00 pm, I went to FRCC Community Room to attend to a performance by a dynamic Celtic trio. The group comprised of Chas Fowler, who was playing on tin whistles, pipes and flutes, Michael DeLalla used guitars, vocal and bodhran while Bruce Wilkin was on Fiddle and bouzouki. The Unfortunate Rakes have been making people smiles in all their performances for than 30 years (“The Unfortunate Rakes” n.d). If I was to rate the group, I would have given them a five-star rating because the dynamic Celtic trio was fantastic in their performance. The dance tunes in the music included the following; jigs, reels, hornpipes airs and songs.

The unfortunate rake is an Irish folk song that tries to explain the fate of a young soldier who pays the price for contracting a venereal disease (Harwood 29). With his dying words, he asks his friends for a military funeral. The unfortunate rake entailed the group’s invention and communal re-creation. Moreover, the Irish folk song was an individual authorship before the succeeding singers modified it though the guidance of Irish traditions (Harwood 31). However, the unfortunate rakes group played their debut music “Banish Misfortune” before Michael DeLalla introduced his song “There is One Story and One Story Only. Also, they played the song “Stray away Child” and finished with the best-selling song “Rakes Alive.”

Michael DeLalla was playing a 12-string, classical, and steel string guitar with his thumb and forefinger. He was playing better than what I could with my thumb and three fingers. It was incredible to see how he was working on the instruments. From the start of the performance, Michael DeLalla had all the audience laughing and singing along. I sat almost five feet close to the performers just to hear the beauty of their songs and instruments. Moreover, I was fascinated by the way Michael played the guitar upside down and backwards. The audiences were also interested to see how Michael could make excellent fingerpicking and move around with various codes. His thumb was always doing the melody. The way a mindful guitarist like Michael was playing would cause a person to rethink all he/she thought he/she knew about music. He was not only making classical, and fingerstyle touches on the guitar, but all his actions were creative.

On the other hand, Bruce Wilkin was also amazing with his slow and beautiful tunes. Sometimes he went faster when playing the fiddle. It was awesome to hear a five-piece string band play a fiddle. Wilkin played bouzouki with a tuning of G, D, A, D. This was an octave below the fiddle and mandolin. Chas Fowler entertained us by playing the tin whistle whereby he kept on tuning it diatonically. Fowler could really play the whistle. His sound was deep and touching, and you could see his fingers moving up and down. Moreover, he played the tin whistle to an extent of getting his neck to some unusual angle. Those people who kept on watching him might have felt a sore neck.

Ultimately, the Unfortunate Rakes possessed a huge repertoire of music and tones. Something funny was that, if you were present in the room, you did not experience the urge to stand up, and dance, you were to confirm your legs, maybe they were missing. Besides, we had a small discussion with the group whereby they tried to provide us with an insight into the Irish music. The kind of education provided by the dynamic Celtic trio was awesome, and I think everyone who was present there learned something new.


Works Cited

Harwood, Robert W. I Went Down to St. James Infirmary: Investigations in the Shadowy World of Early Jazz-Blues in the Company of Blind Willie Mctell, Louis Armstrong, Don Redman, Irving Mills, Carl Moore, and a Host of Others, and Where Did This Dang Song Come from Anyway?Kitchener, ON: Harland Press, 2008. Print.

“The Unfortunate Rakes.” Web. 27 Mar. 2016. <>.

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