Arts and Entertainment

Celtic music comes to Vashon


Vashon Allied Arts

Hanz Araki, a musician known for his Celtic flute-playing and emotive vocals, will bring a group of Celtic players to the Blue Heron Art Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10.

A native Seattleite who now lives in Portland, Araki is a sixth generation Japanese shakahachi flute player, a skill he learned from his father. He said his love for Irish music came from his mother’s Irish side.

Araki is a former member of Canadian Celtic-rock group The Paperboys and has also played with the Seattle Symphony, the University of Washington Wind Ensemble and the Casey Neil Trio. He recently returned from a Japanese tour.

His career has been marked by more than a dozen recordings, with the most recent being “Little Fires,” a collection of traditional reels and jigs. A new CD is already in the works.

Since moving to Portland in 2005, Araki has collaborated with many other musicians in the region, some of whom will join him for the Blue Heron gig. The concert will feature all new material.

“How I approach being a musician comes from my Japanese heritage,” Araki said. “There are no easy gigs. Even if I’m playing background music, they all have the same importance.”

For his Blue Heron show, Araki has compiled an array of regional Celtic performers including Cary Novotny on guitar and Irish step dancer and vocalist Colleen Raney.

“She’s an incredible singer, one of the best vocalists I’ve ever heard,” said Araki. Portland-based singer, songwriter, fiddler and dancer Kathryn Claire will also join the ensemble.

Tickets are $13 for VAA members, seniors and students and $15 general admission. Call 463-5131.

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