Celia Ramsay

Vocalist, Dance Caller, Songwriter, Teacher


Celia grew up with a personal passion for the ballads of Scotland. But she was also heavily influenced by popular music from the 1930s and 1940s. She likes to point out that the jazz ballads from the mid-20th century and much older ballads from the British Isles have a lot in common. Both traditions lean heavily on songs about love, and its trials, tribulations and triumphs. See where she's performing next!

“While Ramsay’s first album featured Scottish balladry, her second warms to a vintage jazz sound. Her voice is captivating and convincing. The material ranges from bluesy to bawdy. Highlights include the luscious standard “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and her own, witty, libido-themed “Lament.”
— Paul Freeman

Celia Ramsay, a popular name in the SF Bay Area music scene, also performs with Kathy and Joe Bly as Fortunate Strangers in the High Sierra and Gold Country foothills areas. She is locally known as a Contra Dance Caller--she teaches this New England-style folk dance and "calls" or prompts the dancers to live music from Monterey to Ukiah.

 Fortunate Strangers: Kathy & Joe Bly with Celia Ramsay

Fortunate Strangers: Kathy & Joe Bly with Celia Ramsay

Celia and her husband, Kent Rasmussen, own Kent Rasmussen Winery and Ramsay wines; you can visit the winery web site at kentrasmussenwinery.com


Celia performs her own original songs, music from the Great American Songbook, and also performs Scottish roots music from a vast repertory. She is available as a lead or solo artist, or with Celtic-flavored Fortunate Strangers for festivals, wedding and funeral events, or in concert. She has performed at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley with The Black Brothers, Holdstock and MacLeod, Flower and McLaren and a benefit concert for the late Chris Caswell. Celia has performed in many duo-style house concerts with Steve Baughman, Dave Nachmanoff and Ken Risling. She has also performed at the San Francisco Free Folk Festival and at the San Francisco Sea Music Festival. 


Carmony: Learn to Sing Harmony While You Drive, is an educational collaboration with Libby McLaren. It is a three-CD set that teaches how to sing harmony, while you drive or cook dinner. Released in December of 2016.

Singer's Request, a duo album with Celia Ramsay and Shay Black, was released in January 2015. The album is receiving accolades both for its artistry and variety. It includes songs from Scotland and Ireland, some old and some more modern, and features a supporting cast that includes John Doyle, Liz Carroll, and members of The Black Family. Released in November 2014.

Celia Ramsay's CD, I'll Just Lie About It casts Celia in the role of jazz chanteuse. Her original songs are sad, funny, bawdy and uniquely from the point of view of a woman of a "certain age"! Love songs are not only the purview of the young, because little in our sense of optimism - or our ability to be hurt - changes as life carries us along. In addition to Celia's new songs, the CD also includes some wonderful jazz standards from the 1940s, and all the songs are supported by a fine group of musicians. Released in May 2012.

Celia's very first CD accomplishment is called Songs of My Father's People, and it features traditional Scottish songs, many of them in traditional unaccompanied style. These songs are timeless in their pain, joy, dismay or humor. They are not merely the songs of Celia's Scottish ancestors; they are the voices of the universal human condition. Released in January 2011.

Celia also works as a studio musician, and has recorded lead and harmony vocals for Holdstock and MacLeod, Patrice Haan, Graham Paul Kendrick, Mark Winokur, and Dave Nachmanoff.


Celia Ramsay has been calling Contra dances (New England style folk dance) since 2002, but has been telling people what to do for much, much longer. Celia chooses dances that fit the people in the room, uses clarity and brevity in teaching, and has a warm personality that makes the dancers happy. She also calls family friendly dances for any event, as well as ceilidh dances (say "kay-lee") - think of that as casual Scottish dance party time! 


Harmony Workshops in tandem with Libby McLaren; Music Camp workshops in harmony singing or Scottish song, including singing circle etiquette and basic voice training; Private or small group voice lessons; PR Workshops: writing and publishing newsletters, writing press releases & website content, basic photography; Songwriting for beginners; Contra dance for beginners.


Ukelele virtuoso, Paul Hemmings, has recorded Celia's original song, I'll Just Lie About It: