Award-Winning Duo Simple Gifts Brings Ethnic Folk Music to Ashland

Award-Winning Duo Simple Gifts Brings Ethnic Folk Music to Ashland

1/20/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – The 35th annual Ashland University Spectrum Series continues its season of eclectic music genres with the award-winning ethnic folk duo Simple Gifts performing a live concert at the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel on Saturday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. The duo will also present two free workshops on Friday, Jan. 30.

Linda Littleton and Karen Hirshon plus 10 instruments equals one good time when Simple Gifts takes the stage. Drawing on an impressive variety of ethnic folk styles, this award-winning duo plays everything from Irish jigs and American reels to Klezmer freilachs, Gypsy melodies Balkan dance music,  Scandinavian twin fiddling, and original compositions.

Combining tradition with innovation, Simple Gifts creates some of the finest arrangements in folk music today: swing fiddle creeps into a Romanian dance, spoons show up in an Irish reel, and a traditional West Virginia tune is enhanced by a Turkish drum and Indian shruti box. Based in the hills of central Pennsylvania, Littleton and Hirshon switch with ease among fiddle, mandolin, banjo, recorders, bowed psaltery, hammered dulcimer, baritone fiddle, guitar and percussion.

Simple Gifts is well-known for their outgoing stage presence, which is warm, personal and accented with humor. These women deliver their music with rare intensity and contagious enthusiasm. It’s obvious that Simple Gifts loves the music they play and knows how to share their excitement with the audience.

To purchase concert tickets, contact the Ashland University Box Office by phone at 419-289-5125, or in person in the lobby of Hugo Young Theatre located at the corner of College Avenue and Grant Street. Hours are Monday through Friday, 12 to 6 p.m. Tickets are also available on-line at where additional fees apply. Single tickets for the concert are $15 for adults; $12 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students, University alumni, faculty and staff; $10 for groups of 10 or more; and $5 for Ashland University students with ID.

On Friday, Jan. 30, Simple Gifts will present two different workshops, which are free and open to the public in Room 242 of the Center for the Arts. "Women and Music" will be presented at 2 p.m. Through demonstration and discussion, they will examine the roles of women in traditional music. In particular, they will discuss their experience as women musicians and obstacles that women often face in becoming professional musicians. At 3 p.m., Littleton and Hirshon will explore "The Folk Process" in cooperation with the Ashland University Choir. They will look at the creative process that folk musicians follow to take a simple melody and mold it into an interesting performance piece. 

For more information, visit the Web site at or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###