Performance Resume & References
A lively and engaging singer and multi-instrumentalist, Darcy Nair has performed professionally as a soloist and with folk music groups in the Washington, D.C. area since 1990. She has produced and released 9 independent recordings, including 2 solo titles (see below) and has earned 6 "Wammie" Award nominations from the Washington Area Music Association.
Darcy's experience ranges from traditional and modern celtic music to renaissance madrigals, English sea shanties and pub songs, bluegrass, and modern songwriting. Her eclectic music career has taken her all over the U.S., from New York City to Key West. In addition to singing lead and harmony vocals, Darcy plays hammered dulcimer, Irish bouzouki, English concertina, bodhran and bones.
Background: Although Darcy started playing musicial instruments in her early 20s, she was a born singer. According to her parents, a much-younger Darcy took it upon herself to entertain the neighbors with frequent and energetic song-and-dance numbers. She does remember singing into the family tape recorder and along with the radio and her records. A fan of Seals & Crofts, Crosby Stills and Nash, ELO, Chicago and other harmonizing groups, Darcy taught herself to sing harmony mostly because every song that Jim Croce recorded was nowhere near her vocal range. Her skill at inventing vocal harmonies on the spot -- a practice called "woodshedding" -- is remarkable. Put her in a room with other singers and she'll be harmonizing along immediately.
Look, Ma, I'm a rock stah! Darcy tunes before a show. Photo by Glenn Tucker.
Getting ready for a show with the Pyrates Royale. Photo by Glenn Tucker.
In 1990, Darcy landed her first paying gig at the Maryland Renaissance Festival with Fleur de Lis, an all-female trio that sang madrigals and other traditional music.
That same year, she began studying hammered dulcimer after falling in love with the instrument at a medieval festival. For several years she played renaissance-period dance tunes for historic dance troupe Thrir Venstri Foetr (Old Norse for "Three Left Feet").
She joined popular pub band The Pyrates Royale in 1991 and took up mandolin and octave mandolin (also known as irish bouzouki). Two years later, Darcy and a fellow Fleur de Lis member created a three-piece band specializing in traditional Irish, British Isles and American folk music. Homebrew later added fiddler Liberty Rucker and enjoyed a local playing schedule until 1998.
Darcy debuted as a soloist at the 1998 Southern Maryland Celtic Festival. She contracted to play hammered dulcimer at the Maryland Renaissance Festival that same year. Calling her act "Kat's Kindling," she had a busy and fun season playing solo sets in the lanes, providing music for the festival's production of Love's Labors Lost and performing with The Pyrates Royale.
In 2000, Darcy joined another busy maritime music group, Ship's Company Chanteymen. She served as Executive Producer on the Chanteymen's debut recording Donkey Riding. Singing with men was all well and good, but Darcy found that she missed 3-part harmony with female voices, and in 2001 formed In Our Cups. Specializing in bawdy tavern music, In Our Cups performed in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, and released Foolish Pleasures in 2002.
Darcy continues to add solo gigs to her calendar as well as keeping a busy performing schedule with The Pyrates Royale. She has also collaborated with many other musicians in the greater D.C. Metro area, including WAMMIE-nominated guitarist and singer-songwriter Gregory Lygon, and John Gorozdos of Cornucopia and Jericho Bridge.
Darcy has studied with Karen Ashbrook, Jody Marshall, Steve Schneider, Nick Blanton, and Jem Moore.
Solo: I feel my heart fly (1999) Solo: HighStrung (2006) Pyrates Royale: Hello, Sailor (1997) Pyrates Royale: Lyve Behind Bars (1999) Pyrates Royale: Love at First Night (2001) Pyrates Royale: Tales of the Brigantine (2004) Pyrates Royale: BlackJack (2007) Ship's Company: Donkey Riding (2002) In Our Cups: Foolish Pleasures (2002)
"Jeff and I wanted to thank you for playing at our wedding reception. My Scottish mother and aunt particularly enjoyed singing along. The music was exactly right for the reception." -- Karen MacKavanaugh
"Thank you so much for your wonderful performance during our Festival of Learning. It really added a lot to our appreciation of the British Isles."
Elizabeth Lockwood, Alexandria Country Day School
"Darcy Nair is a delightful entertainer." -- Jim Sorensen, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
"I have had so many people come up to me in the past couple of weeks after the service to express how much they enjoyed the dulcimer and ensemble pieces. A few people were moved to tears to hear such beautiful music and felt that it brought them into the Christmas spirit. I usually get a few comments following the service, but this year's service brought more than I have ever had! Thanks for your sensitivity and musicianship that touched so many people!"
Gary Havens, Music Program Director, Catonsville United Methodist Church
Darcy sings and plays hammered dulcimer, irish bouzouki, concertina, bodhran and rhythm bones. Her repertoire includes historic and modern music from Ireland, Scotland, Great Britan, Wales, America and maritime traditions.
A versatile musician both vocally and instrumentally, Darcy has a wide-ranging repetoire and is happy to work with clients in a variety of venues. (See Past Performances for a partial list). She has performed outdoors and indoors and in guises ranging from historic costume to black tie formalwear. Darcy plays non-intrusive background music as well as high energy stage shows with comic touches and audience participation. With more than 15 years experience in improvizational acting, she excells at one-on-one audience interaction and can portray a variety of fictional or historical characters, indoors or outdoors. Her motto is "Sempre Gumby" -- Always Flexible!
Parties: Darcy's hammered dulcimer playing is ideal for parties, cocktail hour, dinners and receptions. Even at crowded parties, her hammered dulcimer music has a distinctive character that rings out "above" the murmur of conversation, yet doesn't compete with or dramatically increase the overall noise.
Other Accompaniment: In addition to playing solo, Darcy works with a wide range of talented musicians and can add harp, guitar, violin or other accompaniment, if desired.
Historic/School Programs: Darcy has put together fun and engaging presentations on historic music for students of all ages. Programs have focused on Irish music, maritime music, and American Civil War era music.
Recording: Darcy has 10 years of professional studio recording experience, and has worked on 8 full length recordings, including 2 solo CDs.
Special Requests: Looking for a renaissance minstrel? A singing pirate? A saucy wench who knows bawdy songs? A proper colonial lady? Darcy can do that! She is also happy to discuss any special song requests that you may have.
For quotes and availability, contact Darcy Nair via email.
Need help planning your event? Visit My Party Planner for party planning services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the metro DC area, and beyond.
Darcy onstage. Photo by Toni Carringer.Music for Stage Productions:
...and weddings, school programs, art exhibit openings and private parties
References available on request!
The Pyrates Royale