Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Borrego Springs - Cross Strung, Community Concert


Last updated 3/9/2016 at 9:42am

Russell Webb

Cross Strung, a family band of five, and a budding sixth, performed two sets of a mixture of Celtic, Bluegrass, Country and Gospel selections to an appreciative Borrego audience on Tuesday Mar. 8 at the performing arts center under the auspices of the Borrego Springs Community Concert Association.

Starting in the 18th century and intensifying in the mid-19th century, Irish, Scots and English commoners migrated to America and continued south from the Cities to Appalachia bringing with them, their various brands of folk music which evolved into what is known as Bluegrass. There are many other influences, of course, but the basic root is Celtic (with a "k" sound). Many Irish, Scots, Welsh and English ballads are still a large part of the repertoire of modern Bluegrass bands.

The second of the three Association programs to offer a student outreach performance, the Valinor Quartet and the upcoming Borealis String Quartet round out the list. This program provides students with exposure to music styles and professional musicians they would not ordinarily encounter. This was especially true with Cross Strung.

Originally a sister band comprised of Sarah Cluff, 26, a Utah State Mandolin and Guitar Champion and veteran of tours of Europe and Turkey as well as time in Ireland and British Columbia to learn Celtic guitar, her sister Leah Cluff, 22, a no less accomplished Utah fiddling champion, and 20 year old Emma Cluff, a bass artist with electric and stand up models who prefers the UBass, a ukulele looking device with hard rubber strings, and managed by musician and Irish dancer and mother Sheri. Five years ago Sarah Cluff became Sarah Riggs after marrying Dan Riggs, an excellent fiddler and percussionist, after playing and touring with each other's bands.

Together these five musicians pay high homage to their musical roots and demonstrate extraordinary skill, such as strumming their instrument while fingering someone else's. Put that in a five member chain and you have a perfect encore.

And don't forget 19 month old Lena who gave a rousing performance with tambourine. A truly upcoming star!

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