Celia Ramsay

Vocalist, Dance Caller, Songwriter, Teacher

Fortunate Strangers

You're somewhere far from home when, wow - you see someone you know! Has that ever happened to you?

Once in 1985, I was in Pagan, Burma, on top of a Buddhist temple, truly out in the middle of nowhere most people go. Another tourist kept looking at me, and I at her. I finally said, "You are so familiar, where are you from?" It turned out she was from Palo Alto, CA and frequented the bookstore where I worked at the time. I had sold her the Lonely Planet guide she was using for the trip.

Another time I was shepherding my kids through London's Heathrow Airport and noticed a friend in the departure lounge. "Paul?", I called out. He looked up and without another word, no oh-my-gawd-it's-you or anything, he said, "See - this is why I could NEVER have an affair!" He'd just been in Italy, as we had, and was returning to San Francisco on the same flight. It sorta makes sense that people you know would share similar interests, including in travel. But that doesn't mitigate the loveliness of the small-world meeting, or the slightly eerie aspect of the coincidence.

I had another one of those experiences in Ireland in 2010. Kent and I were touristing in the town of Dingle. Someone had recommended a visit to O'Flaherty's Pub, maybe to sing, but at least to listen, so we wandered in one evening, and immediately across the room, I saw someone I knew. Someone I knew and his wife. Only I couldn't place how I knew them. Kent doubted I could possibly know someone here in this somewhat remote part of Ireland, but I strode across the room to find that the gent of the couple felt he knew me, too. After a brief conversation, we figured it out: Lark Camp. Joe Bly and his wife Kathy, were hiking the Dingle Way with backpacks and the odds were we'd not have bumped into each other, but - we did. We shared a few beers and some fine conversation, and parted company, but that experience drew us closer next year at Camp.

And here we are, six Larks later. 

We've learned we have similar tastes in music and goals for performing, so we've decided to take a shot at being together as a band named Fortunate Strangers. A very fitting name for a Celtic band, don't you think? We'll have news to share as we progress, but we are thinking of having a house concert at Chez Moi on May 28. You might want to pencil that in and watch for updates!


We're probably not going to call it "Carmony", but if you've been reading these newsletters thus far, you'll know I'm referring to our "learn to sing harmony" CD. Libby McLaren and I are very much in the planning stages of the project, but things are taking shape and we're having fun. (How many people actually get as excited about the work of planning, as actually executing a project? I don't know, but we do!)

And good planning 


 happen first. We've decided on a format: three "levels" of lessons that include rounds, familiar songs and not-so-familiar songs. We'll include a little theory (minimal for the first level) and a whole lotta singing to learn and practice - either while you're driving, or hanging out at home making dinner. We've got level one sketched out, the melodies & harmonies chosen. So much more to do, but we're making progress!