Celeste Ray, a native of Los Angeles, began her musical studies at age six. Positively influenced by parents who played classical piano and flamenco guitar, Celeste’s imagination was captivated by the piano early in life. As a teenager firmly trained in classical music, she began exploring contemporary composers Bill Evans, Oregon and Pat Metheny. Her current influences include Loreena McKennitt, Bill Whelan (Riverdance) and Enya.
In 1984, Celeste received her degree in performance from the respected El Camino College in California. With considerable experience as a solo pianist, she was inspired to write for ensembles during her travels throughout Europe. Celeste’s vocals are also a big part of her signature sound. She has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York under the direction of famed composer John Rutter and at WESAK festivals in Mt. Shasta, California.
Ray’s diverse and eclectic background includes a tour of Australia for six months during 1997, where she was commissioned to compose a musical scheduled for national release. Her tour also included performances on the bowed psaltery for Australia’s national radio station (ABC), and the Government House.
From Celeste, "Strings of Gold is my most recent CD and represents a tribute to Folk and Irish music. Most of the songs are traditionals with original arrangements. After performing numerous concerts and listening to my friends' and audiences' feedback, I came up with this particular collection of "jewels."
A collaborative creation, with the talents of James Gilchrist, Eric Mauriello, Darius Kaufmann and Andrew Potenza, may you find "Strings of Gold" to be as precious to your heart as we do!"
Celeste Ray's CD "Strings of Gold" is a beautiful and inspiring compilation of Folk and Irish music that will make any Celtic music lover smile. The album displays such a wide range of talents of Celeste and her ensemble. You will get lost in the faraway lands that "Blessing For Setting Forth" brings you to; featuring Celeste's stunning vocals.
But wait, Celeste is more than just a beautiful voice - there is real character in her tribute to the ancient bowed psaltery. Want to know more about the bowed pasaltery? Well, we are glad you asked:
"A psaltery is a stringed musical instrument of the harp or the zither family. The psaltery of Ancient Greece dates back to at least 300 BC. It was a harp-like instrument.
In the Christian era a psaltery consisting of a soundboard with several pre-tuned strings that are usually plucked, came into use. It was also known by the name canon, from the Arabic qanun. Although some linguists and music historians argue that the name comes from the greek word "kanon" which means rule, principle and also "mode."
The instrument is usually small enough to be portable; its shape and range vary. It is depicted in a number of artworks from the Medieval Period."
Celeste's Psaltery Dance will whisked you off your feet to medieval times, with its flowing heraldic sounds and its fast ministry of the court type dance. A piece that is sure to please!
This compilation contains some of the best well know Celtic songs; such as "Whiskey in the Jar", "Come by the Hills", and "Minstrel Boy". There is also a lovely Celtic inspired version of Scarborough Fair along with a healthy dose of Jigs and Hornpipes!
A great album from an exquisite composer, songwriter and musician. You will be sure to love Celeste's music as much as we did, so pick up this CD for your Celtic Music collection and enjoy an afternoon in Celtic music heaven!