Jennifer Shelton Licko

Jennifer Shelton Licko


Jennifer Licko... transcending traditional Celtic music.


Jennifer Licko sings a wonderful combination of Irish and Scottish favorites as well as a few songs in Gaelic -- the ancient language of the Gaels. Her beautiful voice will leave you breathless while her fun and engaging stage presence will have you clapping along. She’s an accomplished recording artist and has performed with Roisin Dillon of Cherish the Ladies and Grammy award winning Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas.
As an American who has performed mostly in Ireland and studied Gaelic in Scotland, Licko passionately performs with an uncommon understanding of Celtic culture and language -- traditional and contemporary Celtophiles will immediately recognize this in her singing and playing style. She is a multi-instrumentalist who skillfully plays the piano and guitar, and bodhrán (Irish drum). Her best instrument is her magnificent voice whose beauty has been known to bring many a listener to tears. She is a trained vocalist who has that certain quality that makes for easy and pleasant listening whether she is singing an unaccompanied lament, a rousing pub song, or puirt-a-beul (Gaelic mouth music).
She also offers fun and educational cultural arts programs to promote diversity in schools.

Jennifer Licko is primarily a Celtic Folk singer, dancer and multi-instrumentalist who skillfully plays the piano and guitar, accordion and bodhrán (Irish drum). She is a trained vocalist who has that certain quality that makes for easy and pleasant listening whether she is singing an unaccompanied lament, a rousing pub song, or puirt-a-beul (Gaelic mouth music). She blends a stunning vocal range with a sensitivity and warmth that turns her audience into Celtic music fans.

Not only is she an accomplished singer and musician, Jennifer is a Premier Highland Dancer who studied at the prestigious Jo Moore Kalat School of Scottish Dancing in Cary, NC. With a BA in Music Education: Jennifer has the superb control and vocal quality that one would expect after years of continuous vocal coaching as well as classical training at East Carolina University, where she earned her degree in Music Education.

Four Summers in Scotland: It was during her summers attending Ceòlas (a Gaelic music and dance summer school) on the Isle of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, where Jennifer studied Gaelic singing with Mairi MacInnes, Roddy Campbell, and Ishbel MacAskill. Jennifer’s education also included the study of Scottish Gaelic at the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Two Years living in Ireland: Jennifer lived in the small town of Tullaghan in county Leitrim, Ireland and she became a part of the community living an ‘Irish village’ lifestyle. She spent time studying traditional Irish accordion from Seamus Sweeney who has taught many well known musicians in Irish bands such as Altan. During these two years, Jennifer played music in the pubs and festivals of Ireland with music partner and Donegal native, Alan Chapman. This experience helped to develop her passion for the Irish portion of Celtic Music, her infectious vocal style and delightfully fresh stage personality.

By combining her classical training and her love of traditional Celtic music, Jennifer added her own contemporary twist, and developed the unique Celtic style heard on her CDs and in her live performances.

Three Years living in Brazil: In 2007, Jennifer uprooted once again to live in the ‘Gaucho state’ of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. This experience enabled her to become fluent in Portuguese and she took the opportunity to learn as much as possible about Brazilian cultures, music and dance.

Jennifer’s talent was recently rewarded with a CAMMY nomination as Best New Artist, and she gained the slot in a performance with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas in the 2004 show of Rhythms of Scotland; the same talent captured on disc - Jennifer's fifth CD, A Thousand Curses upon Love, is now available on Sabas Records (

With a degree in Music education from ECU and her international experiences, Jennifer was able to create interactive and engaging educational programs of music and dance to enrich cultural diversity. You can find Jennifer performing at an elementary school, formal concert series, a loud Irish pub or a family oriented festival. She is always aware of her audience and her purpose whether it is to be educational, spiritual, entertaining or a combination thereof.

Jennifer has made several recordings including: Cave of Gold, Language of the Gaels, Celtic Moonsongs for Sydney and her most recent; A Thousand Curses Upon Love.


Mile Marbhphaisg Air A’Ghaol

Written By: Translation to this Traditional Waulking song from Scotland

A Thousand Curses Upon Love
Which has led me astray
Cleaved my heart from my breast
Caused my hair to fall away
For the one who’s departed and not to return
Alas I was not on board the ship
That left for the Americas
I’d be in the room with my loved one
I will not go to the factor’s son
I will not go, no I won’t
Not to any in the land
Until my lover returns


Cave of Gold-Solstice Records 1999

Not That Girl-Sabas Records 2003

Language of the Gaels-Sabas Records 2003

single-'Can't Help Loving'-on the One20inc compilation CD "love, Laugh and Live" Recorded with the Rickey Godfrey band.

Celtic Moonsongs for Sydney-2005 (Lullabies)

Shelton: A Thousand Curses Upon Love-2008 Sabas Records

Set List

Sets are 45 minutes long and include traditional Irish & Scottish ballads; Celtic Pop covers such as U2, Cranberries and the Corrs; and a few originals. Song selection depends on the type of audience.