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
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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