Celtic Zen was founded by Los Angeles guitarist/composer Levi Chen. The other members include Lisa Franco on Celtic harp and Michael Masley on the cymbalom hammered dulcimer. The group's sound is highly metallic and stringy; Chen's Stratocaster guitar emulates the Chinese gu zheng, a steel-stringed koto-like instrument, while Masley's hammered dulcimer "pings" when struck with his unique finger mallets. For their first self-titled album (1997), Celtic Zen invited ten guest artists, who played a number of Oriental and world instruments and percussion. The group's sound has neither the emptiness of "zen" music nor the melody of Celtic. Its rich and distinct Oriental flavor should appeal to those who like the music of Kitaro.
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