Traditional Celtic band Rig-A-Jig is hitting the stage in Lake Cowichan for this month’s Music in the Lake performance on Jan. 26 at lower Centennial Hall.
Hailing from Victoria, Rig-A-Jig is composed of band founder Molly Raher-Newman (percussion, mandolin, lap dulcimer and voice) and veteran musicians Ian Johnston (guitars and voice), Dave Klassen (bass and voice), Dick Pollard (fiddle and voice), Karen Gillmore (flutes, banjo and voice), and Tom Young (fiddle and voice). However, Newman will be absent for the Music in the Lake performance.
Rig-A-Jig’s flutist and banjo player Gillmore is thrilled to return to Lake Cowichan after playing Lake Days last year.
“I’m always excited to come to Lake Cowichan,” said Gillmore. “I’ve played Music in the Lake with two other bands and the reception was wonderful — the audiences were lovely to play for. It’s a long way to drive from Victoria, but it’s always worth it, and very rewarding to be part of the growing music scene,” she said.
Music in the Lake events coordinator and Mesachie Lake resident David Lowther is looking forward to this unique ensemble arriving in Lake Cowichan. He first saw Rig-A-Jig perform at the Victoria Folk Club’s New Year’s celebration years ago.
“It’s just a good time. If it’s a good time in Victoria, it will be a good time in Lake Cowichan. They’re a band that plays traditional English and Celtic music although they do all kinds of other things, as well. They also do English country dance,” said Lowther.
Rig-A-Jig is well-known in Victoria and have played at festivals across Vancouver Island. The band also used to hold a residency at the Blethering Place in Oak Bay.
“You’ll see traditional country folk dancing, jigs, reels, polkas and your waltzes,” said Lowther.
Lowther, who is also a long-time musician has been particularly impressed with guitarist Johnston and his work over the years.
“Oh Jesus. He can play me into the dirt any day of the week.”
Despite the small crowd that attended Rig-A-Jig’s Lake Days performance, Lowther said that the band’s washboard rhythm received a warm reception.
“They were dancing and having a good time,” Lowther described.
Rig-A-Jig performances are dance-friendly affairs and Lowther encourages those who have not learned traditional Celtic dance yet to come out.
“Anyone can pick it up. I can pick it up and I hate dancing,” said Lowther.
Lowther said that coming out just for the music portion of things is fine, too.
“But if you just want to sit on the side and listen to the fiddle music that’s fine and dandy.”
Children are welcome and kids under 15 will be admitted for free. Lowther said that this installment of Music in the Lake will not feature an open mic slot and that Rig-A-Jig will play two 45-minute sets beginning at 8 p.m., rather than the usual headliner time of 9 p.m.