ShareThis Page

Quartet puts 'uncommon twist' on tradition tracks

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 6:21 p.m.
Wooden Ship Productions

Fiddler Aiden Burke wants to make it clear the name of his band has nothing to do with unconsciousness. Comas is pronounced KO-muss, an Irish word that means “energy or power,” and he says it represents the direction he and his bandmates wanted to go when they formed the band in 2003. The quartet will bring its form of energetic, traditional music to the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts on Nov. 21.

Comas is a band that focuses on traditional music but tries to give “a common tune an uncommon twist,” he says. The group will take a traditional song and give it a new arrangement or blend it with a tune one of the members has written to create a new look at it.

All four of the members write, says guitarist-singer Philip Masure, creating a great deal of possibilities in that direction.

Masure of Flanders, Belgium, brings to the band another uncommon element — a continental outlook. But he says folk music shares many similar sides, regardless of the nation of its source. His country, he says, has been the site of many battles and invasions, so there has been a great deal of international mingling of musical sounds.

He sees that sort of sharing in American folk and bluegrass music, as well.

The band also includes Isaac Alderson on flutes and uillean pipes and Jackie Moran on bodhran, percussion and vocals.

Masure says the new elements the band gives to songs often come from improvisations that develop during rehearsals. On trips such as the current three-week tour, he says, “We get plenty of time to rehearse, sitting around the hotel or in a promoter's home.”

Comas performs at 7:30 p.m. at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Shadyside. Admission is $23; $12 for students. Details: 412-361-1915 or

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7852 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.