There’s nothing quite like a refreshing Celtic tune – where harp, bodhran, whistle and Irish flute mix and mingle with banjo, fiddle, mandolin and guitar.
Throw in the three-part harmonies of multi-talented female voices and what you get is a fragrant rush of whimsical energy that combines the old world with the new.
For Dana Fitzgerald Maher, Melissa Schiavone and Abby Bozarth of Tulsa’s Vintage Wildflowers, the creative freedom that Celtic music provides makes for an ideal way to pay homage both to heritage and to the art form they love.
Drawing songs and tunes from traditional repertoire, the classically trained trio puts a modern spin on priceless Celtic and Appalachian antiquities without losing touch with the ever-present heart of the music: a reflection of language, landscape and way of life of the people.
“With this particular style, musicians are usually split between two ways of playing a song – either treating it as a museum piece and preserving it the way it’s always been or updating it completely. We try to find a balance between the two,” explains Maher.
“There’s a lot of room for creative exploration and many ways to find your voice even though these songs have been around for such a long time, sometimes even as long as hundreds of years. We’ll find a song or tune in its bare bones form and put our personal stamp on it, to make it our own.”
Following their debut CD, The Upstairs Sessions, Vintage Wildflowers released their second CD, Lovely Madness, in March.
Highlighting their first tour this summer, the trio has been invited to play at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage Concert Series in Washington D.C. in June.
A true melting pot of musical styles and genres, The Millennium Series features artists and groups from around the country and world.
Maher emphasizes the strong sense of connectedness their genre promotes – covering both universal struggle and joy through music – making the diverse concert series an ideal environment in which the Wildflowers may flourish.
“Celtic music is meant to be played for people to get together and feel a sense of community with, to celebrate and socialize and be with one another and interact,” she says.
“People really respond to it and enjoy it – it makes them smile and makes them want to dance and have fun. We really love being at the center of all of that.”