PHOTOS: Celtic band livens up downtown Englewood

Local collective Fennec a longtime presence at brewery

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There isn't an Irish festival in downtown Englewood, but crowds may feel like they walked into one if Fennec is on the scene.

“We've been playing for about eight years here,” said John Hammer, sitting outside of Brewability brewery, formerly the location of the Brew on Broadway. The band usually plays indoors but brought its lively, string-instrument tone outside, wearing masks on a cool afternoon.

The band first came together roughly 10 years ago because Hammer heard that a Douglas County library liked to have music in its building.

“But it turned out we were a little too much for the room — people thought we were a little too noisy,” Hammer said.

Hammer also leads a “beginner-intermediate” session at the Swallow Hill Music nonprofit just north of Englewood, near Broadway, to encourage people to get together and play. His band has performed at the Molly Brown House Museum near downtown Denver and can also be heard at other bars around the metro area, such as Clancy's and the Celtic on Market, Hammer said.

Hammer got his start in music playing saxophone in elementary school and kept playing in band in high school and into college. Eventually, he ended up working at AT&T and learned that his coworkers got together to play bluegrass music — a genre with links to Celtic music, said Hammer, who played mandolin at the time.

Fennec takes bookings for “accompaniment (and) background music for special events and occasions,” according to its website.

“We just enjoy playing together, and we like each other's company — we seem to get along pretty well, and people seem to enjoy listening to us as well,” Hammer said. “That's kind of a special thing to us.”

A few members played alongside Hammer in early October in an outdoor dining area beside the brewery.

“We all come here,” said Jeannie Weis, a Fennec guitar-player, “because it's the place to be.”

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