InterView – Meet Golden Bough

Meet Golden Bough
By Kaye Osborn

Margie Butler and Paul Espinzoa formed Golden Bough in January of 1980. They perform traditional music of the seven Celtic Nation. They are very popular and internationally known travelling to Europe every year. I got to know them very well as they always performed at Lakewood School, even teaching after-school penny whistle classes. Kathy Sierra joined them in April of 2001. They have released 30 recordings of Celtic and original music.

Margie also is the director of the Central Valley Youth Ensemble. The children play harp, penny-whistle and guitar. This group entertains at senior facilities and churches.

On March 6, Golden Bough will perform a 3:00 PM family friendly St. Patrick’s Day Concert here in Modesto at Congregation Beth Shalom. You can contact CBS at (209) 571-606 or email<>. You can alos join Golden Bough on an Alaskan cruise during July. Form more information about the cruise email

Interview with Golden Bough: internationally known Celtic band
Margie Butler, Paul Espinoza and Kathy Sierra

The band found it’s name from a series of magical and mythical books written by James Fraser. The author explains the miracle of the golden bough. It was believed that mistletoe was magical because when the sun would shine upon the mistletoe, the mistletoe would glow brilliantly. Supposedly, the sun got its power from mistletoe and mistletoe received it’s power from the sun. So, in 1980, after much discussion, it was decided they would be called Golden Bough.

There was a time they toured endlessly, performing 250 gigs a year.

They have been performing since the 70’s and have seen the music landscape change dramatically.

Here are some of their favorites:

Favorite instrument:
M: harp
P: guitar
K: violin

Who do you admire:
M & P: the Pope
K: Tom Petty

Favorite band:
M: The Chieftains
P: The Beatles
K.: Spice Girls

M & P: Gardening, cooking reading, writing, love cats
K: Gardening, helping friends with nutrition ideas, sipping fresh coffe3 while writing music

Favorite Quote
K: “Music speaks where the words leave off.” From a French film, Tous Les Matins Du Monde

What ice cream flavor would you be:
M: Orange sherbet
P: Cherry Garcia
K: Caramel-infused rocky road concoction

Prized Possession:
M: My cat, Fiona
P: A painting by Gill Dillinger that shows a beautiful French stream
K: My Iphone 6s

Something people don’t know about you:
M: An avid sleeper
P: Loves Edgar Rich Burroughs books We both speak German and live in Modesto.
K: I lean toward socialism in principle.

Favorite Venue:
M: A ruined castle in Hungary in 1989 We crossed the border into Hungary when all visitors were scrutinized. During the week we were there, we experienced the elation and joy of the wall coming down. It was historic!
P: An Italian winery in Florence followed by a five hour, seven-course meal
K: Freight and Salvage in Berkeley

Dream line-up:
P: play with Paul McCartney or Bob Dylan or Garth Brooks or any of the amazing Celtic musicians
K: For Golden Bough to add a fourth member: a bass player



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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.