Celtic mythology is the genesis for this band’s name and its attitude. Nessa’s leader and principal vocalist, Kelly McDermott, embodies attributes of Nessa, the Celtic goddess. Transformed from a sweet, unassuming lass to a firebrand, Nessa went about turning bad situations to good. This is a goddess that any women’s empowerment group would love to have as its leader.
Kelly has done some transforming, as well. After extensive training as a classical flutist Kelly reached the top of her profession as a performer and teacher. She longed for something more adventurous and whimsical. This would be the genesis for what was to become “Nessa”, a place where Kelly would combine her serious musicianship with a deep, newfound love of singing.
Fresh out of the studio recording Nessa’s third full album “Otherworld” due March 13th,2020, Kelly McDermott continues to shine. This is her finest work yet. Book ended by a successful crowd funding campaign at the beginning of recording and a near fatal car accident at the end, “Otherworld” guides listeners into a safe harbor of sound.
“Nessa’s latest recordings are a superb blending of genres— folk, world, celtic, pop— with a through-line being Kelly McDermott’s masterful flute playing.”
David Mansfield, Grammy Award winning musician/composer
“If you’re into exceptional storytelling lyricists – Nessa is going to be your new favorite band. The break-out track “A Stitch In Time” a track from “Otherworld”, is a groovy genre-breaking tale of a woman getting revenge on her alcoholic husband. It’s rare that you can feel a protagonists pain and vengeance through the third person, but Nessa pulls it off beautifully and effortlessly.
Kelly McDermott’s smooth vocals – which picks up tones from the likes of Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries – enchants you. You barely realize that you’re hearing a dark story until it is too late, and you’re hearing a dark story until it is too late, and you’re hooked.“
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Kelly researches and writes much of the band’s music. She and husband Rob (Nessa’s bass player) arrange the Celtic ballads and put their unique flavor into the music. The band is categorized as “World Music-Celtic-inspired,” but it incorporates sounds and rhythms from the Caribbean, Africa, India, Irish traditional, jazz, classical, minimalist, funk, and folk genres. The built-in versatility makes Nessa able to focus on a single style, or to mix things up in fun and unexpected ways.
“Otherworld“ has enchanting flute melodies which merge with deep, pulsing Caribbean rhythms. Witty stories of empowered women fade into gentle waves of water music. Believing that music is the antidote to our chaotic world, Kelly goes to her core to celebrate womankind who is finding its truth while bravely resisting outdated patterns. This music is a prayer for our beautiful planet and humankind as we approach the threshold of a consciousness shift.
A NESSA SHOW……
Nessa’s fans have a universal demographic: men and women, 20- to 80-year-olds (and even older and younger), all ethnic groups. This is heart and spirit music that appeals to nearly everyone. Listeners can expect the dreamy quality of Loreena McKennit, the drive of traditional groups like Solas, and the innovation of Pentangle. Nessa has been compared to Loreena McKennitt, Brian Eno, and Enya. Kelly and her band bring charm and delight to listeners of all ages.
“Our hope is that during a show people will transcend to another time and place. We want the audience to experience ancient mythological stories, be uplifted with our positive messages, feel energized by our multicultural dance music and to laugh at our banter. We want people to leave our shows feeling goodness, healing and hope,” says McDermott. Most often this is the reaction that Nessa receives from its audiences.
Also essential to the performance is Kelly’s banter, which mixes history, myth, and interesting facts. “I talk with the audience about the types of stories I sing about – love songs, sad stories, tales of obscure sea creatures and more. My mission is for people to experience magic and hope through our positive music.”
“Creating, practicing, rehearsing, recording, traveling, are fantastic, but what keeps us going in Nessa are the people we meet. The conversations, shared stories, hugs, tears, and letters after shows are so important to us. The fact that people’s hearts were touched means so much!!”
NESSA BAND INDIVIDUAL BIOS
Kelly McDermott has traveled the U.S., Canada and Europe as performer, teacher and student. She has a Bachelor of Music degree in flute performance and music therapy from Michigan State University. She also has a Master of Music and Professional Studies degree in flute performance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Ms. McDermott participated in the Aspen Festival in Colorado, Teton Festival in Wyoming, Sarasota Florida Chamber festival, AIMs orchestra in Graz, Austria and others.
She studied with William Bennett in England and made frequent trips to Ontario for teacher training in the Suzuki Flute Method. After her training she remained in Philadelphia for many years working as a chamber and orchestral musician around the east coast.
Her professional work included performing with the Harrisburg Symphony, Haddonfield Symphony and more. Since returning to her native Michigan a few years ago she has worked regularly with The Flint Symphony, Bijou Orchestra, and Michigan Opera Theatre.
Her influential teaching style garnered her an opportunity to teach Suzuki Flute in Berlin, Germany (with workshops in Pfullingen). More recently her musical journey has taken a turn. She found her voice as a lead singer, and is now the leader of “Nessa,” where she sings and plays piano as well as flute. She also finds great joy in composing and researching and arranging old ballads from Europe and the U.K.
Rob Crozier is a multi-instrumentalist performing throughout South East Michigan. Rob holds a BFA for Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation in Double Bass from the University of Michigan. His teachers include Robert Hurst, Diana Gannett, David Friesen and Rufus Reid.
Mr. Crozier’s twenty year musical career has included sharing bills with rock groups like Blues Traveler and Credence Clearwater Revisted, and jazz greats like Perry Robinson and Tony Malaby.
Rob is the leader of “The Rob Crozier Ensemble” where he composes, plays jazz bass, didjeridoo and ethnic percussion. This ensemble tours the midwest as a featured artist in various festivals in support of his second CD, “Ocean Blue”.
In addition to upright bass, Rob is sought after in Michigan as an electric bassist and plays with ensembles with styles such as Americana, folk, rock, pop, cajun, African and Celtic.
He also performs regularly a “solo act” where he sings, plays guitarist, and harmonica. Mr. Crozier also actively performs and records with many exotic instruments such as didjeridoo, mbira, ethnic hand drums, For many years he was the curator of the live radio show, “Music is Freedom” on WCBN 88.3FM (U of Michigan radio) where his groups performed long, uninterrupted sets of improvised music.
Rob is a main component of Nessa, where he helps Kelly arrange the ballads of the U.K.
Mike List is a globalized percussionist based out of Metro Detroit playing both western and non-western instruments from around the globe. Mike has performed in a variety of musical settings including rock, jazz, classical, contemporary art music, and world music fusion ensembles. He currently works with the percussion group ‘Rela,’ Celtic fusion group ‘Nessa,’ world jazz group ‘Inscribe,’ and is a regular performer with Rick Robinson’s CutTime Simfonica and the Classical Revolution Detroit series.
He has also worked with Mediterranean fusion ensemble ‘Wisaal’ and the marimba/world percussion duet, ‘To Hit.’ Mike holds a Master of Music and Bachelor of Music in percussion performance from Central Michigan University and has also studied tabla, mbira, and Arabic percussion. Along with performing, Mike teaches privately, accompanies modern dance, and teaches courses on the ‘History of Rock and Roll’ and ‘World Music.’ He can also make you a mean cup of coffee.