It’s all about the story. The essence of the music is the story in song. Over the years the people of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Celtic world have left their homelands and yet even generations later the roots remain in the old places. The connection is accomplished through the music. Not just the old songs but new songs that draw on the tradition of the form and sense. Charlie and Cynthia (and an amazing conglomeration of talented musicians) have written and performed under the banner of Gypsyfire since 1995. The name Gypsyfire came from one of Charlie’s songs that tells of a young man finding his place in the world carried on a wave of tragedy and intolerance and yet finding community around the gypsy’s fire. Over the years the size of the band has expanded and contracted but the foundation has always been the stories, old and new, told in the quiet harmony of Charles and Cynthia Whiddon Green. Because the original material tends to be modal in its structure and off beat in its rhythm they have been told they were too folk to be Irish and to Irish to be folk and not really like anything else exactly.
Cynthia Whiddon Green grew up in deep east Texas, West Virginia, and the Washington D.C. area with both the traditional music of these regions and the music of her ancestral home in the Highlands of Scotland (Kintyre). She has overcome years of classical voice training to return to her musical roots and provides the lead vocals on much of the music she brings to the band. In a parallel universe she teaches English and English as a second language to high school students at Farmington High School. She has also done research and translation on medieval texts that have been referenced and used in both academic and the popular press. You can see her work by following the Cynthia’s Medieval Page link on the top of this page.
Charlie grew up in a family of singers and storytellers. He traveled the world as a film maker and photojournalist gathering stories for the evening news. Then tired of just being a passive observer he began to dig a little deeper and became a psychotherapist. Somewhere along the way he decided to put it all together and picked up his guitar and family and began to travel the US gathering and sharing his stories in song. Many of the places he has visited and people he has met over the years have found their way into his performances. He draws on the tradition of the Celtic ballad where each piece is a narrative gem complete in itself yet connected to the larger mosiac of life. He may make you laugh or he may make you cry but he will definitely make you think. Many of the stories are upside down, ghost stories from the ghost’s point of view. Many tell of days gone by and many from a time out of time but some tell of today’s news. Some of the tales come from the Celtic world of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Many follow Charlie’s life from the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia and the Mid Atlantic west to Memphis and the Delta then on to Oklahoma, Texas and on to New Mexico.
Steve Sprague joins an talented group of individuals who have added their voices to Gypsyfire over the years. Steve joined to be part of the production of the “Times Mandala - The Celtic Calendar Project” CD and just never left. He brings years of experience playing bass and lead guitar in Rock, Jazz and Blues bands first in his native NY state as well as Memphis and here in New Mexico. Steve brings a producers and arrangers sensibility as well as a polished performers energy.