The Gothard Sisters. (Jerry and Lois Photography)

The Gothard Sisters. (Jerry and Lois Photography)

The Gothard Sisters return home for the holidays to perform

The three began their careers by playing for tips at the Edmonds farmers market.

EDMONDS — The Gothard Sisters are back home for their annual Celtic-inspired Christmas concert.

The sisterly trio from Edmonds, named “Best New Irish Artists” in 2013 by the Irish Music Awards, will perform their fifth annual Christmas with the Gothard Sisters concert Dec. 6 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Sisters Greta, 31, Willow, 29, and Solana, 23, have put out seven albums — including three Christmas recordings — in their 10 years touring and performing as a Celtic-folk trio. Their newest album, “Midnight Sun,” was released this year.

The Gothards began their careers by playing for tips at the Edmonds farmers market. All three sisters played the violin.

“I thought it was so beautiful that I asked for lessons when I was 5,” Greta Gothard said. “After that, Willow and Solana both wanted to learn violin, too, when they got old enough. Solana couldn’t wait until she was 5, so she started when she was 3.”

In 2008, after forming their Celtic band, the sisters started adding layers to their sound. All together, they now play five different instruments.

In addition to violin, Willow and Solana both play the bodran (pronounced “bow-rahn”), an Irish drum. Greta also plays the guitar and sings backup vocals, Willow plays the mandolin and sings backup vocals, and Solana is the lead singer and also plays another drum, the djembe (pronounced “jem-beh”), from Africa.

An African drum in a Celtic band? “We love the sound of it,” Greta said. “I heard some other Celtic musicians using it in their music. It’s not a traditional Irish instrument at all, but we really liked the layer that it added. It’s just this really nice, deep sound. It adds more of a world music flavor.”

The Gothard sisters fell in love with Celtic music because they would listen to it in the car on family road trips over Snoqualmie Pass. “The combination of the scenery, up there in the mountains, and the Celtic music was so cool that we wanted to play it,” Greta said.

The trio also danced to it competitively for many years. They qualified to compete in the World Irish Dancing Championships four times. Of note, Greta and Willow placed second with Seattle’s Comeford School of Irish Dance team in 2007.

“That is one of the reasons we started performing together, which was to raise money to go to Ireland to compete,” Greta said, adding that their family heritage is “a little bit” Irish and Scottish.

The Gothard Sisters got back in September from touring the U.S. to promote their latest album. “Midnight Sun,” with new takes on Celtic music, reached No. 6 on Billboard’s world music chart.

The sisters look forward to their annual hometown concert all year.

It’s different from their other shows. They’ll perform Celtic Christmas songs from their Christmas albums — “Christmas Violins” (2006), “Christmas” (2010) and “Falling Snow” (2016), which reached No. 13 on Billboard. They’ll also perform some Celtic originals from “Midnight Sun.” Slieveloughane Irish Dance, of Kent, will dance with them.

Christmas carols will include “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Joy to the World” and an arrangement of “I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)” that has yet to be recorded.

“This is one of our favorite concerts every year,” Greta said. “It’s always been our goal to have a show there, because it’s our hometown theater. Sometimes it’s the one time that our family and friends can come and see what we do all year.

“It’s nice to bring it home.”

If you go

What: Christmas with the Gothard Sisters

Where: Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6

Tickets: $25 general, $20 students and seniors, $10 children

More: 425-275-9595 or www.edmondscenterforthearts.org

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