October 23, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
44°F

Maidens IV: Celtic folk quartet reinvents traditional stage performance

By JOHN BENSON

Special to The Gazette

After wowing audiences last November at the Christmas in the Colonies fine crafts show at the Medina County Fairgrounds, Celtic folk act Maidens IV returns to the area for its first proper Medina theater date.

Main Street Medina has booked the quartet — sisters Havilah, Heather, Abigail and Tabitha Justice — to perform Feb. 7 at the Broadway Hall.

“We’re four sisters who play Celtic music,” said Havilah Justice, calling from her Loudonville home. “We play acoustic instruments, but we like to call our sound ‘fiery Celtic music’ because most of the music you listen to is slow and eerie, kind of the Gaelic type of feel. Well, we do a little bit more upbeat and do some dancing as we play also.

“And we write a lot of our own music so we can incorporate our steps into our dances. So we write our music around our choreography. We’ve been playing since we were young, and we started off with a classical repertoire. We put a lot of the technical precision of the classical music into the fun of your pop and your folk music of today.”

Formed in 2003, Maidens IV is already gaining national attention. In fact, Celtic MP Music Magazine called the sibling act “an explosion of strings [that] greets the ears.”

It’s this reason why the act has become a popular live attraction for medieval fairs, renaissance, Irish and folk festivals in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan.

With three studio albums to its credit, Maidens IV is already looking ahead to its next project, which Justice said should be completed in a few months.

So far, new songs that Medina audiences can expect to hear performed live include “The Gypsy Firelight Tune” and “Fiddler’s Drum.”

“We’re thinking when we do the next studio album we might hire a studio drummer,” Justice said. “We’re also toying with the idea of playing percussion with our feet. It’s just a lot of our songs are pretty upbeat, so there is a lot of passion and a lot of feeling in the songs.”

In the context of the act, adding live percussion is a big step. So why are the sisters thinking about this change?

“With the world today and YouTube, there’s so much music you don’t even have to go to a concert anymore to see a good show,” Justice said. “So to us, our stage performance is really where you shine. You have to have a reason for people to come and see your show.”

In an effort to maintain a certain amount of relevancy, Justice said Maidens IV is thinking about adding a cover of a popular country or classic rock song for its encore in Medina.

It’s this idea of bridging the old and the new that epitomizes the spirit of Maidens IV.

“A lot of people have different views on Celtic music,” Justice said. “A lot of people say Celtic music needs to stay traditional and to stick with the roots, while other people say it needs to expand. And I guess we take from both sides. We’re going to build on the tradition rather than just stay there (in one place).”
Maidens IV is scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 7 in the Broadway Hall.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students, seniors 60 and older or groups of 10+, and are available by calling 330-952-0910 or by visiting www.mainstreetmedina.com.

Benson may be reached at ididhear@aol.com.