Lifting spirits with Celtic folk

Early Spirit plays Langley Township’s Summer Festival Series

Early Spirit takes over the Willoughby Amphitheater for an evening of Celtic inspired folk music, Thursday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.

This free concert is another installment of Langley Township’s Summer Festival Series. The initiative, kick-started by arts and culture director Peter Tulumello, is a chance for locals to come out and enjoy live music.

Made up of Will Chernoff (bass), Gabriel Dubreuil (violin), Ben Kelly (drums), and Jay Knutson (guitar), the bandmates’ physical similarities apparently spurn fans to always ask, “Are you a family band?”

The four say they are related only by music, releasing their first album, UnRelated in 2018 which will be a large part of Thursday night’s program.

Early Spirit said fans of all ages are encouraged to remember how much they love music and get dancing as the band moves from swing jazz influences to folk and dance-heavy reels.

Knutson, lead vocalist for Early Spirit, previously arranged, performed, and wrote Celtic folk-rock music with John Mann and Geoffrey Kelly in their band Spirit of the West.

Knutson was also a member of the North Shore Celtic Ensemble, a violin youth group he co-founded in 1998 – which helped Early Spirit eventually come together.

Playing drums in the Ensemble was a young Ben Kelly, son of Knutson’s Spirit of the West band mate, who went on to perform and record with Fish & Bird, an eclectic folk music band.

Before Kelly joined the lineup, Early Spirit began as the Gabriel Dubreuil Trio. Dubreuil, a Franco-Canadian fiddler who attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, worked around North America as a session violinist before spearheading the trio in Vancouver.

The group is currently on a B.C. tour which has brought them all over the province including Kelowna, Salmon Arm, and Salt Spring Island. The band formed and is based in Vancouver.

People can visit to learn more about the band.

Read More: Keeping all the Jay’s straight

For more information on the Summer Festival Series, including a list of upcoming performances, people can visit


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