Eight years ago, a West Coast girl ventured into Pittsburgh with bagpipes, an accordion, and penny whistles packed in the back of her U-Haul truck. She began following graduate literature courses at Carnegie Mellon University and, on her free evenings, popping into music sessions in bars around town. Soon, she befriend some musicians and, in 2007, founded a Celtic band named “Callán,” inspired by a word in her Gaelic dictionary that translates to “ruckus.”
As the leading lady of Callán, Sheila Liming has charmed audiences throughout Western Pennsylvania and beyond with her bilingual vocals (English and Gaelic), keen compositions (one of which came to her in a dream), and instrumental versatility (the aforementioned bagpipes, accordion, and whistles). The band has recorded two albums and performed live at festivals, concert halls, bars, and milestone celebrations like weddings and wakes. The musicians who’ve accompanied Sheila in Callán have been lucky to learn from her abounding knowledge of Scottish and Irish music repertoire and to laugh with her about her funniest tales.
In May, Sheila will receive her PhD in literature from Carnegie Mellon and, in July, she will venture across the country again—this time westward to become a professor at the University of North Dakota. We salute Sheila on her well-earned métier!
We don’t know whether Callán’s weather vane is pointing toward a permanent adjournment or a passing interlude. We do know that we’re thankful to have created meaningful music together, and we’re ever-grateful to our families, friends, and fans who have listened, danced, clapped, and sung along with our musical ruckus.
- Sheila, Cara, Kip & Steve