Tickets: $12 advance, $15 at the door.
Click here to purchase advance tickets.
The Haunted Windchimes sound is very traditional folk and blues and the songs have a vintage quality, as if they might have been written yesterday or 75 years ago.
It’s the vocal harmonies that really set them apart, a three-headed juggernaut of Desirae Garcia (ukulele), Chela Lujan (banjo) and Inaiah Lujan (guitar). When their voices blend, it is nothing short of beautiful. The sound is often moody and melancholy, but it is always deeply affecting. That sound is embroidered by the instrumental mastery of Mike Clark (harmonica, guitar and mandolin) and the standup bass foundation of Sean Fanning.
– Bill Reed, The Colorado Springs Gazette
“The Windchimes are, beyond a reasonable doubt, one of Colorado’s most significant musical treasures.”
– Adam Leech, Colorado Springs Independent
“They recreate the vibe of rural 1930s music with a contemporary consciousness. The rustic, honeyed harmonies are a delight.”
– Bruce Sylvester, Sing Out! Magazine
“Traditional, old-timey backwoods, backporch music that burrowed its way into your head and then refused to budge.”
– The Mad Mackerel (UK Music Blog)
The Haunted Windchimes have also been featured on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.
Interview by Heather Askeland
The Haunted Windchimes sound draws from traditional folk and American roots music. The songs have a vintage quality, as if they might have been written yesterday or 75 years ago. Grounded in honeyed harmonies and spirited pickin’, it lies in a nowhere land between distinct styles: It’s not quite bluegrass or blues or country. Still, there are elements of all those in songs that paint pictures of empty train stations and nights of passing a jug of moonshine around. It’s the vocal harmonies that really set them apart, a three-headed juggernaut of Desirae Garcia (ukulele), Chela Lujan (banjo) and Inaiah Lujan (guitar). The sound is often moody and melancholy, but it is always deeply affecting. That sound is embroidered by the instrumental mastery of Mike Clark (harmonica, guitar and mandolin) and the standup bass foundation of Sean Fanning.
The Haunted Windchimes are a group of talented young musicians hailing from Pueblo, Colorado. Their original songs deftly blend blues, folk, bluegrass, country, and some unnamable ingredient that keeps audiences nationwide coming back for more. In October they appeared on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and this Wednesday they’ll play the Empty Sea stage. Band front man Inaiah Lujah took a quick break from the road to delve into the Windchimes’ history, musical and topographical influences, and their unique fusion of sounds both traditional and new.
If The Haunted Windchimes were a homemade aural dish, what would be the musical ingredients?
I love this question! I’ve always felt like making good music is like making a good stew or soup. Our ingredients would be rural folk and delta Blues mixed with jazz, and three-part harmonies a la the Carter family with Gypsy seasoning.
What is the story behind your band’s inception and name?
Desirae and I are the founding members of the group. We started this band in 2006 shortly after a conversation about my parents’ mysterious wind chimes that would chime without a hint of wind. I was convinced they were haunted. It was a little different musically in the beginning, but our duo had a certain spark. Desi and I were in love and still are to this day. I wrote most of the tunes then, and Desi would find these great harmonies and sing with me. We made our first album that Halloween, Ballad of the Winds, a home recording full of minor ballads and haunting melodies. The following summer we put a tour together following a route that I had hitchhiked a few years earlier, counting on the kindness of people we’d meet to house us and help with shows. We made it to Bloomington Indiana where we met some new friends and got introduced to the music of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott for the first time; this paired with a trip through the southern states began to have a heavy influence on our songwriting. Upon our return home to Pueblo, my sister Chela (returning from her own adventures out west) joined the group adding the third vocal part we have become known for. A trip to Hawaii introduced us to the magical world of the ukulele, and Desi fell in love with the baritone ukulele and taught herself how to play it. Chela later picked up the banjo and we performed and toured around as a trio for a little over a year. Sean was next to join the group after seeing our trio perform at a bar in Pueblo. I knew of Sean’s amazing talent and when he auditioned for the group it was instant chemistry. The final piece of our group came about through a mutual friend. Adam Leech (who owns a vintage clothing and record store in Colorado Springs) invited us to his annual Leechpit BBQ to perform. There we met Mike Clark’s band The Jack Trades, a blues duo that we immediately fell in love with. We joined them for a few songs and became quick friends. Mike would come to all of our shows and it became a staple to invite him up on stage to accompany us on harmonica. Eventually we invited him up for all the songs and he joined our group shortly thereafter.
All five band members hail from the steel town of Pueblo, Colorado; does Pueblo influence your sound and if so, how?
Pueblo is surrounded by all the elements for a good folk song. Train tracks, rivers and mountains and the industrial architecture are definite inspirations for songs. All of the above are common themes you’ll hear in our music.
It sounds like you’ve been involved in music since childhood. What first ignited this passion in you?
Chela and I grew up in a very musical home. My mom, a music lover, taught us young about the Beatles and Bob Dylan amongst others. My dad studied flamenco guitar in college and when we became interested in learning to play there was always a guitar around the house to fiddle with. My first love was the piano and I gravitated to it at the age of 3… it wasn’t until I was 12 that I took up the guitar. We always sang with our mom. Desi, an army brat, traveled the world with her family doing everything from ballet to show choir and more. Sean played in orchestras and jazz bands growing up and took more of a traditional approach in his early years. Mike Clark, a former pro trials rider, discovered music later in life and was gifted his first guitar at age 27. He is 33 now and sort-of a freak of nature. He’s since taught himself how to play multiple instruments including mandolin, violin, concertina and banjo.
How did you come to cover the work of blues great Leadbelly? Can you speak about your band’s relationship to his music?
I actually discovered Leadbelly thanks to the Nirvana unplugged album and their amazing version of Where Did You Sleep Last Night. I played the song for my music teacher (an old friend of our family) and he showed me the original performed by Leadbelly. It was years before I really appreciated the Leadbelly version and there came a time when Leadbelly was all I would listen to. Studying every note and line he sang and trying to match his rhythms taught me so much. It became an obsession, like Dylan and Hank Williams were for me earlier in my life. We cover his songs to pay homage really.
What do you find yourself listening to most on your Ipod these days?
We’ve been listening to a lot of Otis Redding lately, and the old Stacks and Motown recordings have definitely popped up as inspiration, especially with Mike. Desi has been on a Nina Simone and Billie Holiday kick for quite sometime… I’ve kind-of been diving into all of the solo Paul McCartney and Wings stuff and generally we mostly listen to a lot of our friends’ bands and others we’ve met traveling.
How has the band’s sound changed since its birth in 2006?
The sound has evolved, our music grows as we grow… We’ve become so comfortable playing music with one another the processes become more natural, like breathing. It’s an exciting ride.