Who is in Keltik Kharma®?

The Musicians

Chris Vitas, Keltik Kharma Chris Vitas

Chris Vitas has performed with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Starlight Theatre, the Old Globe Theatre, Lamb‘s Players Theatre, Pacific Chamber Opera, San Diego Repertory Theatre and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. He performs on record albums, CDs, motion picture soundtracks, and radio and television commercials. Chris has also shared the stage with such celebrities as Lyle Lovett, Robert Plant and Jimmie Page, Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, the Moody Blues, Johnny Mathis, Frankie Lane, Tony Bennet, John Tesh, David Benoit, among others.

Chris performs solo electric violin on the album Water, Wind and Stone by Checkfield and has appeared with them at the 1990 Catalina Jazz Trax Festival. Chris’ first Keltik Kharma® album featured original and traditional New Age Celtic compositions. The second album, Keltik Kharma® 2, focuses on traditional Irish tunes with emphasis on heavy rhythmic elements and improvisation. Chris also has a CD with internationally known jazz guitarist Art Johnson, rhythm guitarist Robert Cartwright, and renowned bassist Bob Magnusson, Django’s Echo. The Cool Club Quartet, as the group is known, performs music in the style of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, well-known European jazz artists from the Thirties. Chris also performs regularly with another jazz band, The Hot Club of San Diego, featuring guitarist Patrick Berrogain, and Celticana, a Celtic group featuring singer Lauren Morris. Chris has also taught jazz violin at Grossmont College, and instrumental music with the Santee School District in San Diego County.

Chris performs on a 6-string electric Viper violin made by Mark Wood, an acoustic violin made by Scott Cao, and on a 5-string NS violin made by NS Design.

Celtic music san diego

Fred Benedetti, Keltik Kharma Fred Benedetti

Fred Benedetti was born in Sasebo, Japan and began playing the guitar at age 9. In 1986 he was one of 12 guitarists chosen worldwide to perform in the Master Class of Andrès Segovia at USC where Guitarra Magazine wrote that “Fred Benedetti amazed the audience with his performance of the Bach Chaconne.” He has also been a performer for the master classes of Pepe Romero, Christopher Parkening, Federico Moreno-Torroba, George Sakellariou, and David Grimes. Fred has performed in the United States, Europe, and Mexico and locally with the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Opera, the Starlight Opera, the American Ballet Company, the Old Globe Theatre, Luciano Pavarotti, and jazz artist Dave Brubeck.

Presently he is a full-time professor of music at Grossmont College where he is chair of guitar studies, and is a member of the guitar faculty at San Diego State University with George Svoboda, Robert Wetzel and Celin Romero. Equally at home playing classical music or contemporary music, he records on the SBE label and Domo Records with four noted ensembles: Keltik Kharma, The Odeum Guitar Duo (recently given the honor by the magazine Acoustic Guitar as being one of the ten best independently produced guitar CDs for the year 2000), Blurring the Edges (a recipient of the 1994 San Diego Music Awards “Best Pop-Jazz” album of the year featuring jazz musicians Peter, Tripp, and Hall Sprague), and the acclaimed Benedetti/Svoboda Guitar Duo.

As a BMI-affiliated composer, Fred has written numerous contemporary pieces for the international CD library company Network Productions and as a studio musician for 20 years his playing is featured on over 60 CDs, numerous movie soundtracks, and TV commercials. He has shared the stage with Art Garfunkel, Basia, Michael Franks, Mark O’Connor, Michael Hedges, and Ottmar Liebert, and has recorded with Willie Nelson, Juice Newton, Paul Overstreet, Patty Loveless, Tom Barabas, Big Mountain, Matthew Lien, Ronny Robbins and William Lee Golden. He has performed for dignitaries such as the King and Queen of Malaysia, Mikhail Gorbachev and President Jimmy Carter.

Fred performs on guitars built by Miguel Rodriguez, Jose Ramirez, Paul Jacobsen, Simon Marty, James Goodall, and Bob Taylor.

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