To listen to Up in the Air from Craicdown’s album, Roads, click below.
By Peter Vankevich
First the name. It derives from the Irish language. Craic, pronounced as crack, is a term for news, gossip, and enjoyable conversation.
So, “craicdown” means a good time. It is a fitting name for this trio from Chapel Hill since their performances create a special rapport with their audiences with lots of quick-witted humor and banter between songs.
Rob Sharer plays guitar, mandolin, Irish flute, fiddle and is the main vocalist. David DiGiuseppe plays accordion and Irish cittern. Jim Roberts handles drums and percussions.
Each of the members brings a distinct international influence to Craicdown performances which gives them a unique style. They describe their music as “world acousticana,” that is, acoustic roots music with a high-energy, rock-inspired flare.
A Craicdown performance could include both songs and instrumental pieces ranging in style from Americana to reggae-sounding vocals, Celtic influenced jigs and reels and music of Brazil and other cultures in Latin America. Each of them has performed solo and with other bands over the years.
Rob Sharer lived for several years in Clare, Ireland, where he performed regularly on
the music circuit as well as on several albums as a side musician for many of Clare’s finest musicians. He recorded a solo album of original songs, “Vines,” and teaches Irish music.
David DiGiuseppe, who began accordion lessons at eight, has recorded CDs with his other bands, Footloose and Contrazz, and has appeared on many other CDs backing other musicians. He is equally at home performing Irish tunes in a pub, French musettes in a cabaret, contra or Cajun music for a dance, or in the intimate setting of a concert hall. A renowned accordionist, he published three instructional books for playing this instrument.
Jim Roberts has been fascinated with percussion since childhood and plays instruments from all over the world including the West African djembe, Cuban cajon, Middle Eastern dumbek, and Brazilian panderio. Included in his extensive music history, he has released three recordings: “CapeTown,” with South African singer Paul Petersen; “Two Traditions,” featuring the Horse Flies; and “Tranze is the Danze (Ancient Hand Project),” featuring Beth Nielson Chapman and Victor Wooten. He is also a producer and studio engineer.
Craicdown has played at the Ocrafolk Festival for several years, and will do so again this year. They have also provided music workshops for the students at Ocracoke School.
Rob Sharer is an unabashed fan of the island.
“Ocracoke has always been a magic place for me as an artist,” he said. “Everyone says that, right? But when I say, magic, I mean that inexplicable, beautiful things are always happening all around me when I’m there.
“Old friends from far away suddenly turn up, new friends appear where strangers once stood, and songs come up out of the ground. It’s as if inspiration was magma, and the island is a thin place in the earth’s crust where it wells up. I never leave Ocracoke without a basketful of new ideas. Some of my best songs were born there, or on the ferry. It’s a long way to Swan Quarter.”
Craicdown looks forward to Ocrafolk every year. Long may it run!
To learn more about Craicdown, check out website: http://www.craicdown.com/
Listen to Up in the Air: