Arborea’s sound is just like dreams, only better. Despite the music’s Celtic and Americana roots, to hear the husband-and-wife team of Buck and Shanti Curran is to be transported to another world.

The quiet vocals and rustic textures will fill the North Star Music Cafe at 8 p.m. Saturday.

To stream Arborea, check out

Buck recently clued GO in about the duo’s sound and inspiration:

What’s the story of your name?

It was borrowed from a now-defunct Irish improv musical collective, a group I saw perform several times when I lived in Dublin during the late ’90s. At first, I thought the name referenced the aurora borealis. Years ago, when I was in the service, the ship I was on did operations at the Arctic Circle, so I got to witness the aurora borealis at the top of the world. How can you describe such beauty? I’m still in awe of that experience, all these years later. The goal is for our music to reflect such things. Of course, the word “arborea” is derived from Latin, referencing “treelike,” and being from Maine, it just makes sense.

On your MySpace page, it says “Carry water. Chop wood.” What does this mean to you?

Actually, chop water, carry wood. We have two children; our oldest is 12. We’ve always worked extremely hard at everything we’ve done. Shanti home-schools, and we are also actively involved with our local community, and with friends and family around the U.S., Spain, Italy, France, Ireland and the U.K. “Chop water, carry wood” is just our take on the ancient Zen saying, “chop wood, carry water” … a guide to life. The Zen poets went through all kinds of trials and always managed to see the bright side of life. That is what we do!

What did Maine teach you about songwriting?  

Living and traveling throughout Maine has deeply influenced our music. The great forests, the mountains and rugged coastline. Living in these elements feeds continuous inspiration to our music.

You guys are each so versatile. How do you decide what Buck does and what Shanti does?  

We each take different roles depending on how creativity manifests itself at any given moment, but it’s always a true collaborative experience. Shanti may start a melody on the banjo and I might instantly find a counterpoint instrument or vocal melody, or maybe the reverse of that. Other times, she might come up with a lyric and I might add a line in response. Sometimes it keeps going like that, back and forth until it escalates into a song. On some of the songs we’ve taken our time and really crafted the lyrics, and at other times the recordings are first-take improvisations.

Does it take a certain lifestyle to create Arborea’s ethereal woodland sound?  

The sound is ethereal because it’s our escape from the normalcy and struggle of life. For us, the music is an intimate ethereal place where Shanti and I can go to commune, a place to lose the toil of the world, and also a place to hopefully evoke something enigmatic and beautiful for our listeners.

We also take cues from the instruments themselves — the overtones, resonances. Also being open and taking inspiration from many different types of music like blues or folk from the British Isles, or classical Indian music, where the music takes full advantage of overtones, sympathetic and dissonant notes ringing from the instruments, and the movement of music starts with a slow meditative section and shifts through different textures and rhythms to evoke a state of transcendence.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.