Maidens IV explore the rockier side of their roots

Together for eight years, Celtic-based act Maidens IV - sisters Havilah, Heather, Abigail and Tabitha Justice - is currently tinkering with its sound, which in the past has made it a popular attraction for medieval fairs, renaissance, Irish and folk festivals in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan.
John Benson
Mar 24, 2011

Want to go?
• WHAT: Maidens IV
• WHEN: 7:30 p.m. March 26
• WHERE: Bellevue Society for the Arts, 205 Maple St., Bellevue
• COST: $20/adult, $18/senior, $16/student (dinner and show); $10/adult, $8/senior, $6/student (show only)
• INFO: 419-484-2787 or bellevuesocietyforthearts.wordpress.com

Together for eight years, Celtic-based act Maidens IV — sisters Havilah, Heather, Abigail and Tabitha Justice — is currently tinkering with its sound, which in the past has made it a popular attraction for medieval fairs, renaissance, Irish and folk festivals in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan.

“About six months ago we were looking for a drummer,” said Heather, calling from her Loudonville home. “After about four or five interviews, we thought this is not working, so instead we decided to buy a drum set and give it to Heather for Christmas. She plays the Irish hand drum already, and so now we found the drummer we were looking for. I think we just wanted to take the band to the next level. We were thinking that’s where we wanted to go. It’s more a Celtic roots music and more like folk rock, instead of your just regular traditional folk.”

She added, “(With) our new style, I think we can reach a broader base. If you get too traditional, you just stay there. It doesn’t grow.”

That growth will be evident on the band’s upcoming fifth studio effort, which is due out later this year. In addition to rearranging the traditional Irish classic “Danny Boy” as well as a Scottish folk tune, new original songs include the upbeat “Celtic Gypsy” and festive “The Call to Dance.” Actually, it’s the latter track that epitomizes a Maidens IV live show. The quartet returns to the area for a March 26 show at the Bellevue Society For The Arts.

“‘The Call to Dance’ is a song I wrote,” Heather said. “We dance in it but we also go down into the audience. Not every venue lets you come off the stage, but if they do, that’s the song we do it to. It’s really upbeat. It calls people out to dance and by the end of the song everybody is dancing with us. And by adding a drum set, it gives the song a whole different dimension, where you have music you can feel and not just hear. You connect with it. It’s got a different language of its own, and it has a rhythm you can feel. It takes it to a different dimension than your standard acoustic instrument sound with the traditional.”
 With Celtic music’s growing popularity, Justice admits some audiences are confused about what exactly they’ll see at a Maidens IV show.

“Sometimes with the dresses they think we’re more medieval,” Justice said. “Also, sometimes they’re not sure if we’re going to be a dance troupe. They’re really surprised when they see us playing and dancing at the same time because of the costumes. People come up to us all the time and say, ‘I don’t like Celtic music, but I like your show.’ That’s kind of a little jab because people pigeonhole genres, but the umbrella of our Celtic sound is very large and fairly upbeat. It’s just fun music.”

Maidens IV performs at 7:30 p.m. March 26 at Bellevue Society For The Arts, 205 Maple St., Bellevue. An Irish dinner is planned beforehand. Tickets for the dinner and show are $20 adults, $18 for seniors and $16 for students. Tickets for the show only are $10 adults, $8 seniors and $6 students. Call 419-484-2787 or visit bellevuesocietyforthearts.wordpress.com.