Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Web site: http://doolinrakes.com
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The Doolin Rakes are a Celtic rock and roll band formed in 2003 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Their debut full-length, independently released CD “Irishman in Paradise” sold out its first pressing in a scant few weeks, and showcases the band’s songwriting talent and reverence for the traditional songs that first brought them together.
The well travelled and loosely affiliated five-piece group was assembled after guitarist Jamie Winpenny was asked by a besotted master carpenter to find an Irish band for the pending nuptials of a mutual friend. After two rehearsals, one night of matrimonial and musical abandon, and countless libations, it was decided by the members that to fail to continue making music together would be a lamentable disservice to themselves and to others keen on the mournful and ecstatic vibrations of Celtic music.
Since that first fateful show, the Rakes have developed a large and loyal following by performing at Honolulu’s Irish pubs and headlining at high-profile community events like the Mardi Gras and Saint Patrick’s Day block parties, the ArtSpree at The Contemporary Museum and special engagements at prestigious venues such as the Hawai’i State Art Museum. The band never fails to captivate their audience, and their joy onstage is inescapably infectious. The band was nominated for a prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Award in 2008, but was sadly edged out by another outfit for the prize.
Singer and guitarist James McCarthy, an accomplished stage and screen actor and prolific singer/songwriter, fronts the band at a towering six-foot-five. Fiddler Lesley Kline spent years playing mariachi music with French miscreants from Calais to Nice during a decade-long stint in France. She saves souls each time she plays with a quiet worldliness and a torrid intensity. Guitarist Winpenny toured the U.S. with a pathological drive in a ska band for many years, and provides a rock and roll prankster slant on the Rakes repertoire of original and traditional Celtic songs. Bassist Geoffrey Red hails from the hills of California, and brings a
low end groove informed by the rhythms of rock, funk, and reggae. He
also has brought some originals composed on the mandolin to the band’s
repetoire. Drummer Steve Howells is an accomplished international recording artist. He was born in Wales and raised in South Africa, which has given him a keen understanding of the nuances of Celtic and world music.
With nearly 100 collective years of professional musicianship and a unanimous devotion to their obvious potential, Doolin Rakes has become Hawai’i’s premiere Celtic rock band by virtue of the fact that there is simply no other group making their kind of joyfully intense music anywhere in the Pacific.
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