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Slainte, an Irish band based out of Tacoma, WA, began performing in the summer of 1995. Participants in a bluegrass and Irish jam session at the University of Puget Sound brought it together, which explains the band's original name, Puget Sounds. Subsequently, the band changed its name to Slainte to emphasize its focus on traditional Irish music. The word Slainte is Gaelic for "cheers" or "good health" and was chosen to reflect the band's desire to play "enjoyable, danceable, and spirited music for people of all ages." The multi-generational band has players whose ages span 30 years. Members include Jeff Bremer (concertina/bass), Lawson Dumbeck (guitar), Kent Hooper (whistles), Jean Huskamp (mandolin), Anthea Lawrence (lead vocals/fiddle), Bob McCaffery-Lent (guitars/cittern/vocals), and Brynn Starr (fiddle/vocals). Their debut album was Cup of Tea, and they followed it with Slainte: the Songs, Slainte: the Tunes, and Best of Slainte.
Slainte's performances carry a strong focus on the dance music of Ireland from reels, jigs, and polkas to slides, airs, and waltzes. The band's vocalists also perform traditional and contemporary songs in the Irish/Celtic idiom. Slainte has performed at Bumbershoot, Wintergrass, Northwest Folklife Festival, the St. Patrick's Day Dash, the Rob Roy Highland Ball, and at many civic events, as well as private parties. Slainte also recorded with the Bellevue Chamber Chorus and the Tacoma Youth Chorus, collaborations which produced "exciting amalgams of classical and traditional music."
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