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Meli Rivera & Celtic harp Trio Triskela / Celtic & Latin Night at La Peña Cultural Center

Friday, May 06, 2011
8:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Event Type:
La Peña News
Location Details:
La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley

Meli Rivera comes back from Puerto Rico to the Bay Area to bring her unique blend of Celtic & Latin music, baptized in Berkeley as "Celtorican."

Celtic & Latin Night at La Peña Cultural Center
Celtorican Night Returns to Berkeley!
Puertorican singer/songwriter Meli Rivera & Celtic harp Trio Triskela
Celebrate Celtic & Latin cultures
Friday, May 6, 2011. La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley. $20 dr. $18 adv. at

Berkeley, CA (April 20, 2011) - Following the two sold out concerts of "Celtic & Flamenco Nights" Puertorican singer/songwriter Meli Rivera comes back from Puerto Rico to the Bay Area to bring her unique blend of Celtic & Latin music, baptized in Berkeley as "Celtorican." Along with acclaimed Celtic harp trio Triskela, the multicultural percussion of Teed Rockwell and the Celtic violin of Lee White, the night will breathe an air of mysticism where Latin rythms and Celtic melodies blend in an unusual fusion of cultures that will make the audience travel in the wheel of time.

Beginning at 8:30pm, Latin rhythms will meet with Celtic strings in an unforgettable evening of magic, story telling & epic songs. Meli Rivera is a singer/songwriter and guitarist of Celtic and Lebanese heritage. Born in Puerto Rico in a family of musicians, she was initiated in music at the age of 4. Her first influence was the Latin American Nueva Trova, with Silvio Rodriguez and Mercedes Sosa as the main exponents. As she studied classical, baroque and medieval guitar at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, she also learned the Celtic music, with Loreena Mckennitt, Enya, Celtic Women of Song & Sinead O’Connor as her main influences. Meli’s music and poetic prowess are made evident through her diverse musical tastes and influences. Through her recordings and live performances Meli brings together people of all cultures and interests. Most recently, Meli has been pioneering the fusion of Celtic and Latin (Celtorican) sounds into a fresh new renaissance of melodies and rhythms that harkens back to a distant time of mysticism, artistry and spirituality. Meli’s live performances captivate all those looking for unique and technically challenging feats of musicianship and story telling. She is also a music teacher and has recorded 3 cds for Montessori schools’ special programs designed by her, as well as 3 other cds of her original Celtorican music. Most of this cds were recorded at Elefunt Studios in Berkeley. In the Bay Area Meli has performed and collaborated with bands like Manicato, LoCura, Valerie Orth, George Santana, Julieta Venegas and flamenco dancer Fanny Ara, among others, while in Puerto Rico she has performed with the Philarmonic Orchestra Arturo Somohano, legendary guitarist and producer Carlos Alomar, Omar Silva from Cultura Profetica, among others, and she is also one of the main leaders of the singer/songwriters movement on the island.

Triskela Harp Trio's sound can be described as "California Celtic", weaving world folk traditions, early music and original works into a soundscape that transports listeners to an other-worldly place. Triskela's arrangements for lever harp, voice, Irish whistle, flute, and percussion are intricate and refined, yet accessible and always from the heart. Since 1997, Diana Stork, Shawna Spiteri, and Portia Diwa have played their eclectic repertoire throughout northern California, performing at such venues as Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the Festival of Harps at the Dorothy Spreckels erforming Arts Center, the SF Celtic Music Festival and even at San Francisco's City Hall. Their debut CD,
Voice of Tara, has been featured on folk radio music programs at local stations KALW, KPOO and KPFA, among others. In 2008, their recording of Diana Stork's uplifting piece "Wedding Bells" was selected for the feature documentary "Reclaiming the Blade" (narrated by John Rhys-Davies) and is part of the film soundtrack on the Lakeshore
Records label. The trio was named after the triskele – an ancient Celtic symbol consisting of three interlocking spirals – Triskela combines harp music and spirit, using the beauty of music to bring harmony to the world.

Diana Stork is well-known in the harp world for her unique style, which incorporates ethnic and contemporary harp traditions. She has performed with such diverse groups as the Line's Contemporary Ballet, the Maihar Orchestra of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, and the Peace Ceremony of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn. Diana can be heard on dozens of albums, including Harpestry on Universal Records, and Sacred Light on the At Peace Music label. In 1998, Diana co-produced the successful CD Celtic Harpestry on Universal records, which became a national PBS television special. She is Founder and Director of the Festival of Harps concert series (now in its 21st year!), the Bay Area Youth Harp Ensemble, Mission Harp Ensemble and the World Festival of Harps, a national touring show.

Shawna Spiteri is the group’s lead singer and emcee, Shawna has been performing in the Bay Area her entire life. With a degree in musical theatre from San Francisco State University, Shawna has appeared with such companies as the Peninsula Civic Light Opera, the Marin Civic Light Opera and the Palo Alto Players, and has sung everything from madrigals to punk rock with the avant-garde quartet The Enormous Ensemble. She currently serves as music director for Bella Donna Historic Performers, an Italian Renaissance troupe, and directs the Mission Harp Ensemble in San Francisco. Her voice-over talents have been included in the films “Blue Velvet” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula”.

Graduated of Santa Clara University, Portia Diwa started playing harp at age 9 and has been actively performing ever since. Currently, Portia is the Healing Harp Clinical Supervisor at California Pacific Medical Center’s Institute for Health & Healing and has developed a successful certification program for harp therapy in hospitals. Portia has also directed the Bahia Vista Harp Ensemble in San Rafael and the Mission Harp Ensemble, bringing Latin harp music to underprivileged children. Portia teaches private harp lessons and conducts workshops throughout the Bay Area.

Celtic violinist Lee White has been playing violin since the age of 6. Her father, a music teacher in San Francisco (Lee’s hometown) started her off by teaching her Celtic and American tunes by ear, fostering her love of folk music. In addition to her instrumental studies, Lee sang solo covers at the age of 14, but soon got heavily into Celtic roots music. At age 18, Lee toured Southern Ireland with her firs band “Drowsy Maggie” and then joined “Amarin,” a duo/trio fronted by singer/ songwriter Chris Waltz. Although primarily a Celtic fiddler, Lee has taken her years of experience in Blues & folk improvisation and branched out into explorations of Jazz Swing, Ragtime and Latin. She currently studies music at San Francisco State University.

Percussionist Teed Rockwell is a world class percussionist and has performed with Triskela since their inception. He traveled to Venezuela in 1990 to study the lively percussion of this country. He is well-known in the Bay Area for his performances of World music-especially Hindustani Classical ragas on the Touch-style Fretboard / "Chapman Stick". He is Music Critic for India Currents magazine for over a decade, and also a Philosophy Professor at Sonoma State University.


Added to the calendar on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 11:51AM
§Meli Rivera
by La Peña News
Celtic harp Trio Triskela
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