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A soulful Christmas concert

For the seventh year, Gypsy Soul will present its annual Christmas Benefit Concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St., Ashland. This year's event will be the group's fourth benefit for WinterSpring Center For Living With Loss and Grief.

Gypsy Soul is singer Cilette Swann and her husband, Roman Morykit. The couple recently moved back to the Rogue Valley from Washington. The popular duo spends much of the year on the road giving concerts across the country. The Christmas benefit concert has become a tradition for them.

In addition to the concerts for WinterSpring, the duo also has given three benefits for ACCESS. These events have raised more than $3,100 for WinterSpring and made it possible for ACCESS to serve more than 20,000 meals.

For 16 years WinterSpring Center for Living with Loss and Grief has been providing grief support and education for children, youth and adults throughout Jackson County. The group also provides information and training about the grief experience to schools, employers, helping professional and community groups.

"We are very proud to be affiliated with WinterSpring Center For Living With Loss and Grief, our benefactor for part of the proceeds," Swann says on the Gypsy Soul Web site. "We applaud their dedication and their amazing work in our community. Please go to their Web site or call them to learn more about their programs and how your financial support of this annual concert helps them help those in need. See www.WinterSpring.org or call 552-0620. You can also help earn money for WinterSpring when you shop online for over one million gifts at GiveLine: www.GiveLine.com."

Gypsy Soul will be joined by guitarist Jeff Pevar, horn and bass player Mikey Stevens and percussionist and guitarist Michael Forney. Jefferson Public Radio's Eric Alan will emcee the evening.

Gypsy Soul's music has been characterized as a blend of acoustic rock with Celtic and Americana roots. Swann's vocals are partnered with Morykit's bass and guitar counterpoint.

The duo has produced eight albums since breaking onto the U.S. music scene with a Top 40 Adult Contemporary hit "Silent Tears," and has gone on to sell more than 85,000 CDs independently. The group's songs have been featured in television and film in more than 14 countries, on TV shows such as "Providence," "Roswell" and "Felicity," and in several MTV specials, movies-of-the-week and feature films.

Their newest album, "Beneath The Covers: A Rediscovery," pays homage to some of the artists and writers who have inspired Swann and Morykit musically and lyrically. The CD features the Gypsy Soul arrangements of classic songs by artists such as Chris Isaak, U2 and Stevie Wonder, as well as the original song "Silver Lining."

The original song, "Loving Me" was a finalist in the Folk-Singer/Songwriter Category of the 2007 Indie Music Awards. The group's new album charted at Number 5 on the New Age Reporter charts making the CD the highest All Vocal CD at New Age Reporter for the last few months. The CD recently debuted on the Folk Radio Charts at Number 8 with the likes of Alison Krauss, Bruce Springsteen and others.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and $10 for children 5-12. No infants please. Tickets are available at the Music Coop, Ashland; Willow Creek Gifts, Medford; online at www.brownpapertickets.com; and by phone at 877-278-4842 and 482-3115. There also will be a raffle with prizes donated by local merchants.

Cilette Swann and Roman Morykit of Gypsy Soul will be performing their seventh annual Christmas benefit concert. - Photo by Dragomir Vukovic