A taste of Christmas in the Old World

Published 8:00 am Friday, December 28, 2018

Tryon musician to present annual Celtic Christmas show Sunday

TRYON — Those looking for their annual fix of old-world song and dance for the holidays will be in luck this weekend, as local musician Jamie Laval will once again present his Celtic Christmas event Sunday at Tryon Fine Arts Center.

Jamie Laval

The fifth annual concert will take place at 7 p.m. in the Veh Stage inside TFAC, located at 34 Melrose Ave., Tryon. Laval will lead a group of fellow Celtic musicians, who will perform a number of different holiday and wintertime carols and dances, arranged from ancient songs enjoyed this time of year in countries such as Scotland, Ireland and the Brittany region in France.

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Joining Laval, who will perform on violin, will be Irish step-dancer Claire Shirey, bagpiper Rosalind Buda, Celtic harpist Eryn Jones Fuson, guitarist Eamon Sefton and vocalist Megan McConnell.

Pieces the artists will perform will include arrangements of favorite Christmas carols like “Deck the Halls” and “Still, Still, Still,” as well as other carols and wassail songs, winter ditties traditionally performed in the British Isles. Interspersed with the vibrant tunes will be somber pieces, a reflection of the dark, cold days experienced in the Old World this time of year, Laval said.

“It’s kind of like a combination of toe-tapping, uplifting fun and a thought-provoking, mysterious atmosphere,” Laval said.

This is the fifth year that Laval — a Tryon resident and Celtic music performer and composer — and TFAC have teamed up to put on the unique Christmas show, which gives audiences a taste of how the holiday was celebrated centuries ago, Laval said.

“Each year, I travel aboard, searching for ancient songs,” he said. “That is what sets us apart from other Christmas material. These old sounds, they sound so different from anything else you hear these days.”

With North Carolina’s sizable Scottish population — among the largest in the country — Laval’s concerts in Tryon and other portions of the state have especially resonated with audiences, he said.

Those looking for the sounds of Celtic Christmas any time of year will also be in luck, as Laval is putting the finishing touches of his latest album, which contains studio recordings of 12 pieces performed in past December shows. The collection will soon be available for download through iTunes, Amazon and other digital music platforms, with some backers of Laval’s recent Kickstarter campaign receiving a physical CD release in January.

Those interested in learning more about the concert and/or the  album may visit jamielaval.com.