The music of Ireland disappeared from Northern Nevada with the exodus of Irish miners after the Comstock Lode dried up. Cíana brings these musical traditions back to life in the Carson Valley at the feet of the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains. Cíana delves into music from the different Celtic Nations, mostly on Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany.

Tina, Kathy, and Joe met at the Irish music sessions around western Nevada, Reno, and Lake Tahoe, and they were soon getting together to play in local living rooms and coffeehouse back rooms where they realized that their music had much in common.Many local performances later, Cíana caught the attention of Revel Records, who quickly signed them to its label, where they released their debut recording in mid-2012.

After finishing their second album, Loneliest Road, in May 2014, Cíana expanded their tight ensemble sound by welcoming Holly Sternberg as the new fiddle player. Holly’s Sligo-style playing complements Tina’s Donegal-style, and the two of them together weave together lovely, intertwining melodies and variations. After getting Holly dialed into the Cíana ensemble, Holly leveraged her discipline and skill honed with Cíana to win the Old-Time Fiddle Championships in Red Bluff, California, and Eureka, Nevada. Holly and Tina work together to create the driving fiddle tracks on Cíana’s latest album, “Rubicon.” 

Kathryn Oxoby joined Cíana in January, 2017. She contributes solid rhythm on the bodhrán. Kathryn, Joe, Kathy, and Holly spent many evenings playing with Kathryn at Lark Camp in Mendocino.

“Cíana” is an Irish word roughly meaning both “distance” and “time,” which evokes the ancient expanse that defines western Nevada. The name “Cíana” seemed like a good choice after a particularly long drive across the heart of Nevada’s Great Basin on the windswept stretches of U.S. Highway 50.

With a nod of appreciation to those Irish musicians from whom they learned, Cíana keeps the Irish tradition of lively tunes and soulful songs alive in the high deserts of Nevada. While Cíana is based in Western Nevada’s Carson Valley, the swirling rhythms of the traditional Irish music will quickly transport you to another time and place. Be prepared for some serious foot-stomping!


CianaCianaKathy, Joe, and HollyCíanaHolly Sternberg: fiddle
HollyWhen she was four years old, Holly discovered an old fiddle in her grandmother’s closet and knew from then on that she wanted to play it. Holly was first introduced to Irish music through her teacher, Johny McDonald, who ensured that she obtained a well rounded education in both fiddle and classical styles of music, although Irish fiddle music is her true passion. She has since played with a variety of groups, including the String Beings Quartet, the Stone and Straw Bluegrass Band, and the Pub Scouts. She moved to Reno in 2011 to attend UNR and was ecstatic to discover that Reno had its own weekly Celtic session. It was here that she met Joe, Kathy, and Tina and discovered Cíana, of which she is now honored to be a part.

Kathy Bly: guitar & button accordion
KathyAlthough she discovered that stringed instruments are her true calling, Kathy boasts a long musical career as a jazz and classical woodwind player. She has performed and worked with the Colorado Springs Symphony, the Tucson Symphony, and the Virginia Symphony as well as several jazz combos. She has been playing Irish music over the last ten years, and has learned her skills listening to other extraordinary Irish accompanists.

Joe Bly: flute, tinwhistle, bombarde  & vocals
JoeTraditional Irish and Appalachian music were woven into the fabric of home in Joe’s youth, and he has been playing various instruments since. He has participated in several traditional musical projects over the years. Joe has learned songs and tunes from many different masters of the Irish musical craft and is always striving to do justice to the Irish musical tradition. Although he was an adept banjo player in college, he discovered that playing a banjo in a dorm stairwell was a terrible way to meet girls.

Kathryn Oxoby: bodhrán
Kathryn OxobyCíana is excited to welcome our newest member into the group. Kathryn fell in love with the bodhrán on her first trip to Ireland, and she knew she had to have one. She entered the world of Session playing in Reno, Carson City, Tahoe, Mendocino, and a variety of other towns across the Sierras, where she met the other members of Cíana. After sitting in on a few performances, Kathryn is now a full-time member.

Tina Carlsen: fiddle & vocals
TinaFor years Tina was a well-known Irish fiddler in the Modesto, California area, a staple in the local session scene, and appeared with numerous area bands. Tina came into Irish music fairly late in life, but has made up for it through continued exposure to masters of the “pure drop.” She has been fortunate to study with the likes of Liz Carroll, and has sat in on sessions throughout the country. She moved to the Carson Valley with her husband Fred in 2008, and quickly fell into the local session scene. Here she met Joe and Kathy, who also appreciated the traditions of the music. Playing with them in a traditional Irish band seemed like a logical step.