Leaping Lulu, Celtic Beat return to Ogden for early St. Paddy’s Day show

Leaping Lulu, Celtic Beat return to Ogden for early St. Paddy’s Day show

OGDEN — Ah, the luck of the Irish.

Back by popular demand — and just in time for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebration — the musicians of Leaping Lulu are returning for an evening of Celtic music and dance.

The Logan-based band will again be the featured musicians at the annual Celtic Celebration at Peery’s Egyptian Theater, which also promises the visual treat of Layton’s Celtic Beat Irish Dancers. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 9, in the theater, 2415 Washington Blvd.

“We did the Celtic Celebration last year for the first time,” said Leaping Lulu flautist/piccoloist Liz Fallis. “I think last year’s show was sold out, and they really liked us, so we’re coming back again this year.”

Leaping Lulu originally formed in 2001, when Sara Gunnell, and other musicians in the Cache Valley began playing together. The group played regularly for the local Contra Dance series sponsored by the Cache Valley Folk Dancers and Bridger Folk Music Society, and toured throughout northern Utah and southern Idaho. Over the years, members have come and gone, but the love of Celtic music has remained constant, according to Fallis.

Along with Fallis, Leaping Lulu members for this year’s concert include Gunnell on fiddle, viola and electric violin; Jaron Putnam on vocals; Nate Ostermiller on guitar; and Sam Bryson on Irish drums and bodhran.

The band has released four albums, but it’s become increasingly difficult to find the time for a fifth, according to Fallis, who’s been with the band about a dozen years.

“We’re a bit more spread out now,” she said. “Our fiddle player lives in Ephraim — she’s been the violin teacher at Snow College for the last seven or eight years — so it’s really difficult to get together for a huge block of time to record an album.”

Fallis said Celtic music is quite popular here in Utah, and she attributes it to two main reasons. First, a lot of Utahns’ heritage comes from the British Isles.

And the second?

“It’s just really fun music,” Fallis said. “We play jigs and reels that are really fun to dance to.”

On Saturday, Leaping Lulu will perform traditional songs like “Danny Boy” as well as tunes from more modern artists like Sting. One crowd favorite, according to Fallis, is the upbeat “Whiskey Never Lies.”

For a band like Leaping Lulu, March can be a traditionally hectic month.

“St. Paddy’s Day is usually a busy time for any Celtic band,” Fallis said.

Being able to add Irish dancers into the mix takes a Celtic show up a notch, according to Fallis. She said their band loves to incorporate dancers into a concert whenever they can.

“Especially dancing with live music,” Fallis said. “So many dancers use pre-recorded music, and I think it’s important to keep live music in live dancing.”

Fallis said dancers can sometimes be apprehensive about performing to live music because the timing isn’t exactly the same each time, the way it is on a recording. But she says it usually works out just fine and that there’s something magical about combining live music with live dancing.

This year’s concert will have a vocalist; Leaping Lulu didn’t use one last year. In addition to five or six songs with vocals, they’ll also play a number of instrumentals. The Celtic Beat Irish Dancers will also perform on a half-dozen tunes.

“It’s a nice variety of different things that involve everybody,” Fallis said.

Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for children, seniors and military.

For tickets or more information, visit www.smithstix.com or call 801-689-8700.

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