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Simple Gifts

 

This rural Pennsylvania-based duo performs on an impressive array of instruments, including two violins, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, and guitar plus some more unusual instruments like the bowed psaltery, banjolin, baritone fiddle, and doumbek.

Simple Gifts presents a wide variety of ethnic folk music, including everything from lively Irish jigs and down-home American reels to hard-driving Klezmer frailachs, haunting Gypsy melodies, and exotic Balkan dance tunes. Throughout their performances, they put their own distinctive stamp on traditional tunes, blending styles from diverse cultures with their American roots. Admission to the concert is $7 ($5 Hampshire County Arts Council members. Under 17 free.) Participation in the Muscians' Workshop is $5.

According to the Celtic Classic Festival in Bethlehem, PA, "few musicians can match the warmly personal stage presence Simple Gifts possesses." It is obvious that these women love the music they play, and they know how to share their enthusiasm with the audience.

Linda Littleton and Karen Hirshon have performed as Simple Gifts since 1995. The group was founded by Littleton in 1989 and has performed throughout the mid-Atlantic region, including appearances at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Longwood Gardens, Hershey Theatre, Pennsylvania Consort Society, Ontario Center for Performing Arts, Godfrey Daniels, Bethlehem Musikfest, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and dozens of colleges throughout the region.

Simple Gifts has recorded five albums. Their newest, "Time and Again," won a Crossroads Music award in the acoustic instrumental category. The recording includes traditional music from Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Scotland, France, Denmark, and America, plus an original composition by each group member.

"Listening to [Simple Gifts] is like sampling an international buffet ... The number of instruments they pick up in a typical concert makes the group anything but simple. ... (This is) acoustic music of the highest order."
Will Lebzelter, Centre Daily Times


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