Tempest is a Celtic rock band from the San Francisco Bay Area, based in Oakland, California. They fuse together the traditional Celtic music with Norwegian and European folk, American folk, and progressive rock.
The band formed in 1988 with Lief Sorbye (mandolin, vocals), Adolfo Lazo (drums), Rob Wullenjohn (guitar), and Mark Showalter (bass). The band has seen a changing cast of musicians, with Lief and Adolfo remaining as founding members since the band's beginning.
The current lineup consists of Lief, Adolfo, Michael Mullen (fiddle), James Crocker (guitar), and Damien Gonzalez (bass), with members from around the world: Lief from Oslo, Norway, Adolfo from Havana, Cuba, James from Devon, UK, Michael from Fresno, California, and Damien from California. The last lineup released the most recent studio album in 2006—it was Tempest's 10th full length studio album, entitled The Double-Cross. In 2007, the band released a live CD, entitled 'Lief's Birthday Bash.' The Birthday Bash CD was recorded on the evening of 23 March 2007 at Ashkenaz Dance Community Center in Berkeley, and features tracks including a number of musicians that Lief has played with over the years: both past Tempest members and some members of Golden Bough as well. Much of the recent live CD is actually acoustic. Tracks from Tempest recordings may be sampled on the discography page of the official Tempest website.
The band has held the honor of being invited to play a number of times at the Philadelphia Folk Festival and they also host an eclectic music and arts festival of their own, in Auburn California, on the first weekend of May each year. The festival is called Karfluki Fest, and has featured such artists as It's A Beautiful Day, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Fairport Convention, Shana Morrison, Wicked Tinkers and Fishtank Ensemble, in addition to an array of side show acts such as belly dancers, a sword swallower, jugglers, acrobats and fire dancers.