unless stated, none of these photos were taken by me
12:31 pm - 07.02.05
I talk about Celia Farran quite a bit, so here's why:
By Katrina Harrmann
The first time Celia Farran heard of Sheboygan, she wasn’t quite sure what to think.
“Before I came here, I was like ‘Sh-what?’” she said laughing. “I had come up here a little, but never really saw it.”
And what is her opinion now that she lives here?
“I love it. It gives me a lot of freedom. I can do all of my work with less energetic chaos,” said the Wisconsin native (she was raised in Big Bend), who has spent years living around the country in areas such as New York City.
Farran recently came to the area with local artist Lil’ Rev. And now, Sheboygan is the home base for this talented singer/songwriter and storyteller.
“I’ve felt extremely well-received,” she said. “I was quite surprised. The Midwest is a harder nut to crack in terms of creating a fan base.”
Farran entertains audiences with her singing as well as character acting.
“She’s a performer in that she not only sings but performs little skits, puts on little funky outfits and does characters, does sing-a-longs and gets the group to play or sing along with her,” said Jeff Zenk, owner of Z-Spot Espresso & Coffee. “So, she’s entertaining for a majority of people.”
However, singing is Celia’s specialty.
“It’s a cross between an earthy Enya, Tori Amos and Gilda Radner,” Farran said of her performance style. “It’s the adult contemporary category — Celtic new age. I have Irish ancestry. I grew up at Irish Fest and now I perform there every year. It’s the largest Irish music fest in the world.”
Celia has even made several trips to Ireland, from which came the inspiration for a Celtic cabaret show she did in New York entitled “Stories in the Stone.” Many of her songs also have a Celtic feel, including most of her 2000 CD entitled “Fire in the Head.”
“I was raised on it,” Farran said of her Irish heritage. “The Irish really know how to tell a story through song. There is a lot of emotion as well — a lot of history. I’m drawn to more of the Celtic side than the Irish side. It’s more mystical.”
“My family was very musical,” she said. “My mom kept a mini farm so we had goats and chickens and ducks and an acre of garden. She made it a priority for us all to take piano lessons.”
Farran said she has been singing since she can remember, but at age 4, she found she wanted to learn the guitar when her brothers started learning the instrument.
“The guitar teacher said I was too little and didn’t have enough hand strength,” she said. “So (my mom) sat me down in front of a goat to milk it to make my hands strong. It didn’t work,” she laughed
Farran received a degree in theater from the University of Michigan. After that, the world was open to her.
“I had two options, L.A. and New York,” she said. “L.A. seemed too flaky, and I was more of a ‘serious actor,’” she said.
After heading to New York for a couple of years, Farran had a vision while waiting in line for an audition.
“I was standing in line on 46th Street at 6 a.m. … to get a spot to be seen later in the day when I had an epiphany,” she said. “I thought, what am I doing here? I felt I had so much creativity to offer. I said ‘Why am I part of this thing? I don’t want to be chosen for their project. I want to do my own.’”
After this, she traveled to Ireland with her mother and eventually moved to Milwaukee in 1999. Now, Farran is based in Sheboygan and keeps up a rigorous traveling schedule in places such as Minneapolis, Madison, Chicago and New York. She is also planning a tour in Ireland during 2006. However, she still finds the time to visit local venues.
“She dropped off some CDs for me to listen to,” Zenk said. “I gave them to people coming through the drive-thru and the front counter so they could listen to her, and these people came back to listen to her, which was pretty cool.”
Zenk said Farran drew a good-sized audience when she performed at Z-Spot for the first time. She is scheduled to perform there again at 8 p.m. on Friday with Lil’ Rev.
Farran, who includes not only a lot of mystical, Celtic qualities to her music, also includes songs celebrating the feminine, such as her song “Everyday Goddess,” which is scheduled to be aired as part of an MTV television program.
“There’s a whole goddess culture in this country,” Farran said. “Women are waking up to the fact that it’s OK to be me, to be powerful and be a woman and not have to do it with a hammer. One of my missions is to empower women.”
Farran expects to record a new CD in the fall. Her latest CD, “Breathe,” recorded in 2003, is available online.
In the meantime, Farran enjoys performing live.
“I feel really good about what I’ve done when at the end of the night, I hear ‘thank you,’” she said. “Affecting lives in an uplifting way — that’s the best part.”
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“My sentiments exactly. I've attended several of Celia's performances and have thoroughly enjoyed each. Given the talents she has her performances are quite professional, and her enjoyment in performing is obvious, along with the way she connects with her audience.”
For more information on upcoming performances or to purchase a CD, visit Celia’s Web site at www.celiaonline.com.
Did you know Celia's music was chosen for a show on MTV?
Yup, it's been too long since you've seen Celia