History of the Group:
The head of Rosaleen Dhu is Catherine Coate (Stage Name & Alias: Lorelei Skye). She started her singing and stage career with college and community musical theatre and is currently enjoying her role as a street singer and stage performer at several Renaissance Fairs in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and South Dakota, and SCA Events in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, & Western Pennsylvania. Her sister Janeen and friend Melissa join her at many of these events. In the future she hopes to do a performance tour of colleges, coffeehouses and pubs in the United States and perhaps oversees.
Catherine has been heard saying,
"Music is the true joy of my life."
The CD: Rosaleen Dhu, 2004
The CD started as an experiment.
It was suggested to me to bled the traditional music with Mid-eastern drum rhythms. In 2004, I was rained into the booth of Cy Fillmore, drummer and drum-maker, during a summer event as a spontaneous drum circle was starting. I had been asked to sing, and started trying to match the traditional songs I knew to the various rhythms, and Voila!
I had the great fortune to be able to capture that sound by working with Cy on this CD. I also tracked in the harmonies, other group members and I, arranged for previous Rosaleen Dhu appearances. The final touch was the addition of professional guitarist John Housley on many of the tracks.
How Rosaleen Dhu Got Started:
Rosaleen Dhu began rather spontaneously. Like finding out the light at the end of the tunnel is an express train about to take you in the opposite direction you thought you were going.
It was fall of 1998. I had just moved to Lafayette, IN to attend Purdue University, and was still getting to know people in the area. I was invited out with a group of people to go hear a local musician at a coffeehouse.
At some point during the performance I happened to think out loud- and said:
"I've always wanted to do something like this."
To which, the long haired lady sitting across from me asked- "Well, why don't you?"
(This was the same question she asked me about a week later while I was looking at a music supply catalog in her apartment and I saw hammered dulcimers for sale and pondered buying one.)
"I don't know anyone else here who sings." I replied.
The lady's name was Shelly K. And in less then 30 minutes after that statement, she'd essentially started a group for me. Drafting in another lady at the table named Juno who said she'd join, and another new- comer to the area named Heather who happened to be walking up the stairs at the same time this conversation was happening. Heather and I had been talking about singing together, but I don't think either of us expected anything like this.
"We Can Do This!" Said Shelly K.
And the rest, as they say- is history.
Why the name "Rosaleen Dhu"?:
Since Heather is not hear to tell you-, here's why.
'Rosaleen Dhu' is the name of an obscure character in a book by one of my favorite authors, Mercedes Lackey. My eyes rolled over the name, and the translation - "Black Rose", and I thought:
"Hmm. What a nifty name for an Irish singing group," and filed it away for future use.
When I found I inadvertently started such a group, I pulled the name off the back shelf of my memory and happily it stuck.
Irish, English, and Scottish traditional music is often about jovial drinking, going off to war, him leaving her, her leaving him, marriage troubles, sibling rivalry, hard work, evil landlords, and more jovial drinking. (A lot like modern country music, really.) The music is really lovely, but the lyrics are often rather dark out of context of the song. Rosaleen Dhu, Black Rose, is a name that sounds really pretty, but has gloomy associations like death, rejection, and loss.
It has nothing to do with "Rosaleen Dhu" being a horse, Co-Founder Shelly's love of horses, as well as my love of roses and obsession with climbing vines.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it! :)
So who actually is Rosaleen Dhu?
In jest - I will often say Rosaleen Dhu is my cruel mistress who makes me sing at her whim.
In reality, Rosaleen Dhu is me, and whoever is performing with me at the time. The group has undergone some dynamic changes over the last 14 years. It has gone from being a solo effort singing traditional music, as found on this first album here at CD-Baby.com, to having a full octet singing madrigals, or even 5 and 6 singers for a Dickens holiday festival in a coffee house.
Most often these days- Rosaleen Dhu is again either a duet (or trio) of women who can be found at many Renaissance Fairs throughout the Midwest;
or myself on the streets of the Faires singing along with my hammered dulcimer.
Along with many covers of traditional and modern folk and 'filk' music, Rosaleen Dhu also performs many of my original folk style works.
Enjoy the music!
~Catherine Coate / Lorelei Skye
First Written in August 2005 / Updated: January 2012