Jigs, reels and waltzes; stories of false love, faraway places and fierce pride; the Shenandoah Valley-based group The Unfortunate Rakes bring all these and more to their performance of traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, England, Brittany and even Canada, tracing the far-reaching influences of Celtic music. The dynamic Celtic trio, comprised of Michael DeLalla on guitar, bodhran and vocal, Piper's Corner host Chas Fowler on tin whistles, pipes and flutes, and Bruce Wilkin on fiddle, tenor banjo and vocals, have steadily become one of the mid-Atlantic region's premiere Celtic groups; their "Celtic Suite", a collaboration with choreographer Erica Helm, premiered at Washington's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
In the late 70's, three college students met at Shenandoah Conservatory. They quickly found that they shared a common interest in the music from Celtic lands, and started meeting in their own kitchen sessions to play this wondrous collection of tunes from Ireland, Scotland, and beyond. After their years at the Conservatory, they embarked on separate musical paths: Chuck would find himself toting a saxophone as a member of the 6th Army band; Bruce would become an orchestral violinist; Michael would become the guitarist in the acoustic quartet Oxymora. Through those ensuing years, they still managed to find the time to get together to play the Celtic music loved by all three. By 1988, they found themselves making a regular circuit of concert series, festivals, and the occasional pub. Thus began the odyssey known as The Unfortunate Rakes.