Round the House plays Irish traditional music, including dance tunes (reels, jigs etc) and songs in English and Irish. Our instrumentation includes mandolin, fiddle, bouzouki, banjo, guitar and bodhran. Vocals include both unaccompanied singing and arrangements with the full band. Our approach is just a hair's breadth away from the “pure-drop”, and respectful of the tradition we draw on. We are also a contra dance band, and this CD includes one set from our contra dance repertoire. The band includes Dave Firestine (mandolin, bouzouki, banjo), Sharon Goldwasser (fiddle), Mark Robertson-Tessi (guitar, bouzouki, mandolin) and Claire Jamieson Zucker (vocals, bodhran). Special guests Darren Maguire and Maeve Croke choreographed and peformed dance steps on one track.
Round the House has been together for nearly ten years, and has performed at festivals, ceilis, contra dances and many other events throughout the southwestern United States, including Arizona, California (Summer Solstice Festival), New Mexico, Colorado and Texas (North Texas Irish Festival). Their 2004 cd was named best new release by Tucson readers and was featured on NPR All Songs Considered website. They are six-time winners of the TAMMIE for best traditional/ethnic band in Tucson.
What the reviewers say:
"As so many bands have proven in recent years, a setting of green hills and cool mists is no longer a requirement for playing good Irish music. Round the House is a quartet from the rather different climate of Tucson, Arizona , whose third CD Safe home, is a capable collection of lively fiddle-driven tune sets and traditional songs in English and Irish Gaelic. Vocalist Claire Jamieson Zucker focuses the listener's attention with a natural unforced soprano and intricate vocal ornamentation. Supplementing all the instruments you'd expect, the band's use of a Slinky as an auxiliary percussion instrument on a crisp Western contradance medley is commendable." - DIRTY LINEN, AUG-SEPT 2007
I’ll begin with what this CD is not. It’s not a glitzy rousing collection of Celtic music. Rather it is a tasteful mixture of traditional Irish tunes and songs, at times understated, but beautifully arranged and played by some very talented musicians. I found myself playing this CD over and over, each time hearing something new and enjoying it more and more. The band has played together for some time and was voted “Best Traditional Band” in the Tucson, Arizona area for six years in a row (2002-2007). All four band members are regional award-winning musicians in their own right – top female vocalist, fiddle contest winner, mandolin champion, and top string player. Different instruments trade the lead back and forth weaving together a seamless flow of music. There is a good mixture of jigs, reels, songs, marches, an air, and even a contradance set. Claire Zucker sings in English and Gaelic with traditional ornamentation, and adds an unobtrusive bod hran b eat to the tunes. Sharon Goldwasser’s fiddle playing blends beautifully with the other players, and her solo air is very haunting. Dave Firestone and Mark Robertson-Tessi add some masterful string playing to the mix with mandolin, bouzouki and guitar. Some of my favorite tracks are Amhran Pheadar Breathnach, sung in English and Gaelic; Coleman’s March, in which the bouzouki and fiddle trade the melody back and forth; Exile of Erin/Conlon’s Reel, a slow followed by a fast reel; Thatch Cabin, an unaccompanied song in traditional sean nos style; Lament For The Country House Dance, an unaccompanied air on fiddle; and Lovely Irish Maid, a delightful song. But then there’s not one of the 15 tracks that I didn't like. I highly recommend this CD to those who love traditional Irish music in it’s highest form, and to those who’d like an introduction to some of the best of Irish traditional music. - Stewart Hendrickson, Victory Magazine, Seattle