What do Celtic music, rural Missouri and being part Cherokee Indian have in common? Well, nothing unless you are speaking of Connie Dover and Roger Landes.
They share a common heritage of Scottish and Irish in their family trees and this is what perhaps is what brought them together in the musical arena. Dover and Landes first joined forces in 1983 as members of the Celtic group Scartaglen. Landes specialized in mandolin, guitar and bouzouki. Dover was a vocalist and keyboard player. Their collaboration has continued steadily while both artists also have worked independently.
Landes became interested in Celtic music in 1981 while studying English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. After playing with several rock-n-roll garage bands in high school, he took up classical guitar during the summer of 1979. Roger quickly devoured the standard guitar and within two years was teaching full-time. Very soon his interest shifted from 19th and 20th century works to earlier works from the Renaissance and Baroque, and then to European dance music from the middle ages. When he first heard traditional Irish music, he was struck by similar aspects of melody and rhythm between the extant medieval works and modern traditional music. He followed this interest and obtained a 10-string bouzouki and set about learning the intricacies of Irish and Scots dance tunes and accompaniment.
In great demand as a teacher, he has been on the staff at the Swannanoa Gathering Celtic Week at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, NC and at the Milwaukee Irish Festival Summer School at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
As for Connie Dover, her satiny voice will certainly steal the show. She is an outstanding interpreter of the traditional music of Great Britain and Ireland. Her soaring, crystal clear voice and inspired arrangements display a depth and breadth of range that have earned her a rightful place among the world's finest Celtic singers.
She has toured extensively throughout the United States and in Canada, appearing on radio, television and at nearly every major folk festival in North America. She too like Landes has appeared on the National Public Radio shows "Mountain Stage" and Garrison Keeler's "A Prairie Home Companion."
Born in Arkansas and raised in Missouri, Connie Dover is of English, Cherokee, Mexican and Scots/Irish descent. She discovered the wealth of Celtic music as a teenager, and has devoted her life to the research, collection, preservation, composing and recording of traditional music and singing styles.
Joining Dover and Landes at the Festival were Zan McLeod (guitar, bouzouki), Justin Murphy (flute, penny whistle), Dan Grotewohl (fiddle, didgeridoo), Paddy League (percussion) and Celtic dancer Jean Denney.