As the Crow Flies (Childsplay Records, 2013)
As the Crow Flies is the sixth album by fiddle supergroup Childsplay. This outstanding ensemble includes a large number of instrumentalists, including the all-Ireland fiddle champion Sheila Falls, National Scottish Fiddle champion Hanneke Cassel, Boston Symphony violinist Bonnie Bewick and American folk fiddler Sam Amidon. What makes this project special is that every member of the Childsplay string section plays a violin or viola hand made by Childs in his Cambridge, Massachusetts workshop.
The ensemble’s repertoire includes beautiful modern Celtic music pieces inspired by Irish jigs, reels and airs, bluegrass and vibrant jazz improvisation. The fiddlers represent various styles of fiddling from the Irish, American folk and Swedish traditions. As the Crow Flies was produced by renowned fiddler Liz Carroll.
The complete lineup includes Sheila Falls (fiddle), Hanneke Cassel (fiddle), Bonnie Bewick (fiddle), Sam Amidon (fiddle), Laurel Martin (fiddle), Amanda Cavanaugh (fiddle), Katie McNally (fiddle), Lissa Schneckenburger (fiddle), Graham DeZarn (fiddle), Steve Hickman (fiddle), Ellen Gawler (fiddle), Naomi Morse (fiddle and viola), Bob Childs (fiddle), Ariel Firedman (cello), Elsie Gawler (cello), Irish flute player Shannon Heaton, Ralph Gordon of Trapezoid on bass; Mark Roberts (banjo, bouzouki, flute and whistles), Keith Murphy of Nightingale (piano and guitar), Kathleen Guildplay (harp) , stepdancer Nic Gareiss, and the wonderful vocals of fiddler Lissa Schneckenburger.
In addition to the CD, Childsplay has a new DVD titled Live from the Zeiterion Theatre. It was filmed during the ensemble’s January 2013 performance at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The DVD contains musical performances, dances and interviews with band members.
Childsplay’s As the Crow Flies is a superb collection of contemporary pieces rooted in folk traditions, showcasing dazzling fiddle virtuosity with a great balance of upbeat and slow tempo material