The Gothard Sisters bring a new influence to Celtic music in their concerts, says Greta Gothard.
"We're not of the generation that grew up in Ireland and learned the very traditional way," she said. "We're what happens when we see the Celtic tradition from our position of growing up in the Northwest and falling in love with the music."
The Gothard Sisters will perform Thursday, March 15, at the Whiteside Theatre in the final concert of a Celtic music series presented by the Corvallis Folklore Society and Whiteside Theatre Foundation.
The trio will also present an educational event to community members Tuesday, March 13, at the Whiteside Theatre. (See the box for details.)
The Gothard Sisters have a lot planned for their premiere concert in Corvallis.
"It's our St. Patrick's Day celebration, so we will be doing a lot of our favorite Celtic tunes and songs, and a couple of the new originals we've written," Gothard said.
The show will include storytelling, dancing and a possible guest performance by the mid-valley's own Brimhall Academy of Irish Dance.
The Gothard Sisters (the oldest is Greta, Willow is the middle daughter and Solana is the youngest) all started playing music when they were little girls in Edmonds, Washington.
Greta Gothard said, "I started playing violin when I was five."
They were all trained to play classical violin, but became interested in Irish stepdancing when "Riverdance" came out. This led to Celtic fiddling and eventually switching to Celtic music.
The sisters performed in different groups and youth symphonies, until Greta Gothard booked them to play as a violin trio at a wedding. It was an eye-opening experience.
Gothard said it was fun performing with her sisters, which led to them doing more shows together.
"It was just a natural thing that we came together," she said. "We never really set out to be a family band."
They first played together at local farmers markets, before working their way onto stages at local fairs and festivals. The trio has since completed several national tours.
The Gothard Sisters each play violins and fiddles, as well as singing and dancing during performances. Greta also plays guitar. Willow plays mandolin, and Solana plays a range of percussion instruments, including the Irish Bodhrán and African djembe drums.
"We love to change everything up for every song," Gothard said.
In a dozen years, the group has released three Celtic albums and three Christmas albums. Their 2016 Christmas album, "Falling Snow," charted on Billboard's World Music Chart the week of its release.
Greta Gothard said the news was too good to be true.
"We got an email from Billboard saying, 'It looks like your band is going to chart next week.' My first reaction was that it was a spam email," Gothard said, and laughed.
It was exciting for the sisters, especially because they are independent artists without a record label or promotion agency.
"That's entirely grass roots fan support, which is really cool," Gothard said.
The trio has just finished recording its next album, which may be released by early summer.
"It's an exciting challenge for us, it's our first all-original album," Gothard said.
With the concert a week away, Gothard suggested that people who are unfamiliar with the band can check out its music videos on YouTube.
"If they want to get a little taste of what it sounds like, that's a good place," she said.