Just back from performing on a Mediterranean cruise, Muhlenberg College theater and history ’03 graduate Shannon Lambert-Ryan and husband, Fionan de Barra, will be joining their Philadelphia- and Nashville-based Celtic roots band, RUNA, on Friday at 8 p.m., for a concert launch of its fourth album in the intimate setting of the Sellersville Theatre in Sellersville, Bucks County.
The 13-track album, titled “Current Affairs,” includes Irish and Scottish tunes with strands of folk roots and bluegrass. The project involved three Grammy-winning guest artists: Ron Block (Alison Krauss & Union Station), Jeff Taylor (Paul Simon, Elvis Costello), and Buddy Greene (Kentucky Thunder, Bill Gaither).
“We are incredibly honored to have them join us for this project,” said Philadelphia native Lambert-Ryan. “They’ve since become dear friends of ours,” she said, adding that she met the three musicians at “living room” jam sessions held at the Nashville home of husband-and-wife modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty.
Members of the award-winning RUNA, founded in 2008 by Dublin native de Barra, (guitar, vocals) and Lambert-Ryan (lead vocals), often tour with the Getty’s, who are natives of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Members include Kentucky’s Maggie Estes White (fiddle), Canada’s Cheryl Prashker (percussion), and Galway’s Dave Curley (mandolin, vocals). Also performing on “Current Affairs” is Dublin’s Patrick D’Arcy (uilleann pipes).
Lambert-Ryan explained that one track, “The Ruthless Wife,” was inspired by the newsworthy events – and composed with “poetic license” -- surrounding the death of her great-great grandfather, Philadelphia Police Officer James Allen Lambert, in July 1922.
Another track, the labor song “The Banks Are Made of Marble” by Les Rice was recorded unknowingly on the night of Pete Seeger’s death. Seeger was known to have sung this song throughout his life.
“We were sad to learn of Seeger’s death,” Lambert-Ryan recalled. “It was a serendipitous moment for us, to be able to capture that moment, as only he could using peace and harmony in music.”
RUNA has performed in the Lehigh Valley at Celtic Fest, Musikfest, Godfrey Daniels, and Mayfair Festival of the Arts. Upcoming performances are slated for Arizona, Canada, and Upstate New York. The band performed live for “Music Monday” at the WFMZ-TV studio on June 2.
Opening for RUNA in Sellersville on Friday will be good friend, Philadelphia singer/songwriter Michael Braunfeld, co-artistic director (with his father, Andrew) of the annual Spring Gulch Folk Festival in New Holland, Lancaster County. Braunfeld also has performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
For further info: runamusic.com
The Common Chords concert will be held Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Kesher Zion Synagogue, 1245 Perkiomen Ave., Reading. Performers will include the Berks Youth Chorus and Maggie Spike with East Side Dave Klein and others. The music of Maggie Spike (Peggy Gernerd) offers acoustic pop, psych folk, Celtic, reggae, jazz, Americana and world rhythms.
The concert is billed as a free, peace-based celebration with diverse styles of music and musical guests.
For further info: kesherzion.org
Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem presents “Fresh Voices, Beyond Worlds,” an original showcase from the venue’s 2013-2014 apprentices, on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. It’s a one-of-a-kind peek into the creative process with solo- and ensemble-based works in progress, under the guidance of the Touchstone family.
For further info: touchstone.org
¡Sabor! Latin Festival returns to the SteelStacks campus in Bethlehem beginning Friday at 11 a.m., and running through Sunday, with free concerts by Bachata star Joe Veras, the Wito Rodriquez Orchestra and Latin legend Pupi Legarreta. The weekend includes arts and crafts, children’s activities, Latin dance presentations, a Mariachi Mass and World Cup Brazil matches shown on screen in the Air Products Town Square as part of the FIFA World Cup SoccerFest and viewing party held on the grounds.
Participating community organizations include the Hispanic American League of Artists (HALA), Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley, Borinqueneers, Latin American Motorcycle Association, and La Ola Radio.
For further info: artsquest.org/sabor
Allentown’s 40th annual juried Art in the Park, sponsored by the West Park Civic Association, will feature original work of nearly 100 artists of the region on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at West Park, located at 16th and Turner streets. Rain date is June 28.
Prize money will be awarded in the following categories: oils/acrylics, watercolor, graphics (drawings and prints), photography, and 3D (pottery, wood, jewelry, glass, sculpture). Student artists in grades 9-12 also will display their work and gain some invaluable marketing experience in the surroundings of the pros.