The Jennifer Licko Band will perform Saturday at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center as a part of their “Celtic Memories” series.
The Jennifer Licko Band will perform Saturday at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center as a part of their “Celtic Memories” series.

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Jennifer Licko Band to share music from Scotland and Ireland

Published 1:09pm Monday, May 12, 2014

Ireland and Scotland are coming to Albert Lea.

Or, at least, their music is.

Jennifer Licko and her band, named after her, will bring a concert called “Celtic Memories” to town at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

Licko, a North Carolina native, lives outside of the Twin Cities. She grew up in a musical family, with a lot of traditional bluegrass and Appalachian music at its roots.

After majoring in music at East Carolina University, Licko went to Scotland as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar with an interest in Scots-Gaelic culture. There she was first introduced to Scottish music. Then she moved to Ireland and gradually became aware that there was a strong connection between Celtic music and the traditional music she grew up playing.

“I’d been playing Celtic music all my life and didn’t know it,” Licko said. “They both combine culture with emotion.”

Music is how Licko makes her living, and she’s released five studio albums. She will prepare for her Christmas events this summer and plan out her next album. She said the majority of her touring is in her home state, where her biggest fanbase is, but said her concert dates in Minnesota have been becoming more frequent.

Licko travels with two other musicians on the road, Patsy O´Brien and Zack Kline. O’Brien, a guitarist and vocalist, was influenced by the traditional Irish music around him growing up in County Cork, Ireland. Kline, on the fiddle, hails from Minnesota.

Apart from the fiddle playing and dancing, Licko said Saturday’s concert will offer enduring fan favorites such as “Wild Mountain Thyme,” “Siúil A Rún” and “Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia.” She said the “Celtic Memories” concerts celebrate the emotional tone of centuries-old musical and cultural heritage of Scotland and Ireland.

“For me it’s about a connection with the audience, and with the songs. My connection with the music has to be real and authentic or the audience won’t feel the excitement and energy that they need to be fulfilled emotionally. The type of music I love to sing combines culture with emotion and for me that is very exciting and worth sharing,” she said. “You can touch people in a way no one else does. … It’s all about the audience.”