EJ Jones himself playing a lot of festivals this time of year.
Each one is an opportunity or Jones to teach audiences about Celtic music.
“It’s an important way to reach audiences,” he says of the festival atmosphere. “There are so many good stories and fairy tales to sing about. Each song celebrates the culture.”
Jones is a member of the Piper Jones Band. The trio will perform shows in Corrales, Albuquerque and Taos in the coming week.
The group – which consists of Jones, Frances Cunningham and a rotating member on drums – has released three albums: “The Wandering Stars,” “Crossing the Sabine” and “Revel Grove.”
Jones is ranked as a professional-level competitive piper in the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association and represented the U.S. at the 2014 MacCrimmon Trophy piping competition at Festival Interceltique Lorient in Lorient, France.
Cunningham plays the bouzouki, lives in Nashville and is a frequent member of the Mike Snider String Band, playing weekly at the Grand Ole Opry.
Jones says the group is centered on beautifully and energetically played Highland bagpipes accompanied by the percussive chords of the bouzouki and drum.
In addition to original instrumentals and traditional tunes from Ireland, Scotland and Appalachia, the group sings powerful harmonies and can lead the audience in traditional Celtic dances.
“The type of music that we do is currently played all over the world,” he says. “It’s being fed by young kids who are continuing the tradition of this music. They are going to folk music camps. Most of the new generation of players has been grown through these camps. There are some really hot players coming up in the scene.”
Jones has been performing for about 30 years.
“I got into this by being taught the pipes from someone who learned in the 1940s,” he says. “It’s a form of classical music. It’s a genre of music that has been passed down from generation to generation. It’s inspiring to see young kids in the audiences being moved by the music. It’s the same feeling I had when I was learning.”