Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Profiles: Darol Anger

Darol Anger

Violinist, composer, producer and educator Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres some of which he helped to invent. With the jazz-oriented Turtle Island String Quartet Anger developed and popularized new techniques for playing contemporary music styles on string instruments. The masterful Chambergrass groups Psychograss and Newgrange and the plugged-in Anger-Marshall Band feature his compositions and arrangements. His acclaimed folk-jazz group Montreux was the original musical model for the New Adult Contemporary radio format. The David Grisman Quintet forged a new genre of acoustic string band music with Darol’s creative use of the violin.

Working with some of the world’s great improvising string musicians, among them Stephane Grappelli, Mark O’Connor, Bela Fleck, David Grisman and Vassar Clements, has contributed to the development of Anger’s signature voice both as player and composer. His published works include jazz originals and arrangements a fiddle tune collection and of course recordings. Anger has produced dozens of critically praised recordings since 1977 which have featured his compositions and performances. Highlights include the Heritage Folk Music project that brings together some of the most important voices in the traditional contemporary folk and bluegrass music scene; the Anger-Marshall Band’s JAM and Brand New Can which set new standards for the Newgrass/jazz genre; and his release Diary Of A Fiddler which sets Anger in duet with the most prominent and innovative fiddlers of our time.

Anger holds the String Chair of the International Association of Jazz Educators. He has led seminars at the Stanford Oberlin and Amherst Jazz Worshops regularly teaches at the Berklee School of Music and the Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp and at workshops and clinics from Campo Do Jordao Brazil to the Music Conservatory at Bremen Germany. He is a Contributing Editor for Strings magazine and is on the ASTA Editorial Board.

The recipient of a 1995 California Arts Council Composer Fellowship, Anger was nominated in 1997 for the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts. He has been a featured soloist on a number of motion picture soundtracks and he wrote and performed the score for the Sundance Award-winning film Best Offer. He was the winner of the Frets Magazine Readers’ Poll for Best Jazz Violinist for four years running.

Anger’s work has expanded not only the acoustic violin’s boundaries but has contributed to the development of violin synthesizer repertoire and technology. His writings on these subjects and string education issues appear regularly in prominent music periodicals and on the Web. His current projects include Darol Anger and His Jazz Guys is a working group featuring fellow S.F. Bay Area residents a duet recording with pianist Phillip Aaberg and Fiddlers 4 with Michael Doucet, Bruce Molsky and Rushad Eggleston in 2002; and a collaboration with Swedish group Vasen.


Fiddlistics (1981)
Tideline, with Barbara Higbie (1982)
Live at Montreux ’84 (1984)
Chiaroscuro (1985)
The Duo with Mike Marshall (1988)
Jazz Violin Celebration (1988)
Heritage (1996)
Like Minds (1997)
At Home and On The Range (1997)
Christmas Heritage (1998)
Jam (1999)
Diary of a Fiddler (1999)
Brand New Can (2000)
Now Hear This with Psychograss (21)
Republic Of Strings (2005)
Generation Nation (2007)
Woodshop (2007)
Mike Marshall and Darol Anger with Vasen (2007)
Cross Time, with Philip Aaberg (2008)
Eand’a (2014)


Artist Profiles: Cyril Pahinui

Cyril Pahinui – Photo by Chelle Pahinu


Cyril Pahinui grew up in Hawaii, in the small town of Waimanalo at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains on O’ahu’s Windward coast. His father Philip “Gabby” Pahinui was Hawaii’s best known and most influential Slack Key guitarist famous for his beautiful and innovative guitar playing his soulful vocals and his charismatic personality. ‘Dad always said “Stick to your Hawaiian music you can play other music too but stick with playing Hawaiian music.” I followed his advice and I am more and more thankful every year that I did ‘ says Cyril. ‘The things my dad did for me opened doors. He paved the road for me and that road even brought me to Carnegie Hall two times.’

Cyril played in several bands with family members including the all star group  known as The Gabby Band (comprised of Cyril and his father, brothers Bla Phillip and Martin as well as Joe Gang Kupahu, Leland “Atta” Isaacs and Sonny Chillingworth) and The Peter Moon Band that featured his brother Martin as well.

Cyril Pahinui – Photo by Chelle Pahinu


In 1992 Cyril joined his brothers Bla and Martin to record the Pahinui Brothers album The Pahinui Bros. and also began recording for Dancing Cat Records as a solo performer. His debut release on Dancing Cat 6 & 12 String Slack Key won the 1994 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Instrumental Album of the Year.

Cyril offers workshops and school programs for students of all kinds and musicians.


The Pahinui Bros. (Private Music, 1992)

6 & 12 String Slack Key (Dancing Cat Records, 1994)

Night Moon – Po Mahina (Dancing Cat Records, 1998)

Four Hands Sweet & Hot (Dancing Cat Records, 1999)

Ka Ho’oilina Mau (Tropical Music 1999)

He’eia (Dancing Cat Records, 2007)


Artist Profiles: Deanta


Déanta was an excellent contemporary Irish folk music band from County Antrim. The young virtuosos steadily built an international reputation for music both pristine and pulsating. They were recipients of numerous awards for their beautifully-crafted vocal and instrumental work.

Musicians: Mary Dillon (vocals), Deirdre Havlin (flute and whistles), Rosie Mulholland (keyboards and fiddle), Eoghan O’Brien (harp and guitar), Kate O’Brien (fiddle and viola), Clódagh Warnock (bouzouki).


Deanta (Green Linnet, 1993)

Ready for the Storm (Green Linnet, 1994)

Whisper Of A Secret (1997)


Artist Profiles: Dalla


Dalla was formed by Neil Davey and Hilary Coleman towards the end of 1999 and combines members of the two families who have been integral to reviving interest in traditional music from Cornwall.

Neil Davey and his three brothers started in the 1970s with the band Bucca and their album was released on Plant Life Records. They went on to other bands and started traditional dance groups that have proliferated throughout Cornwall.

Hilary Coleman and her family have worked with community groups to organize festivals and traditional celebrations. She has reintroduced the clarinet into Cornish music and her brother Will Coleman is responsible for encouraging Cornish bagpipe music. Hillary continues to play a key role in Cornish music affairs as a performer a composer a promoter of Cornish language through music and as an organizer of many events raising the profile of local traditional music in Cornwall.

Dalla often perform for dancers and Noze Looan, a recent development in Cornish dancing similar to the Breton Fest Noz and inspired by a sound tradition and a sense of fun. As an alternative to a Troyl (Cornish ceilidh or barn dance) it provides an evening of dances that are accessible enough not to need a caller. You can join in a dance if and when you like and just pick it up as you go along by watching others.

Cornwall is a small Celtic land (roughly the size of Luxembourg or Brunei) jutting out into the Atlantic ocean halfway between Ireland and Brittany. It is a small land with a great history. A history with its roots firmly in Celtic culture but also an extremely cosmopolitan history buzzing with a host of other influences due to ancient maritime links with and waves of emigration to and from all parts of the world.

When you see Dalla live you will see three of Cornwall’s foremost traditional musicians playing Cornish Celtic / World music on an array of instruments including clarinet, bouzouki, fiddle, guitar, accordion and percussion with songs in Cornish (a Celtic language similar to Breton and Welsh) and in English. Some of the material is old some new and all of it is Cornish. Outside influences can undoubtedly be heard in Dalla’s music however and this is as much a product of Cornwall’s own rich cosmopolitan history as it is of the diverse backgrounds and adventurousness of the individual members.

Dalla are frequently joined on stage by Bec Applebee who adds backing vocals and percussion. At larger events Pete Kubrick-Townsend joins in on bass and there is also often the added visual spectacle of display dancers doing slick pieces specially choreographed for Dalla’s music using traditional Cornish steps.


A Richer Vein (2001)
More Salt! (2004)
Rooz (2007)
Cribbar (2010)
K5 (2013)



Artist Profiles: Culture Musical Club

Culture Musical Club – Photo courtesy of Sauti za Busara Music Festival

Culture Musical Club is not only the largest but also one of the most prolific and successful orchestras of Zanzibar and they present taarab music Swahili style at its best.

In addition to countless performances in Stonetown villages of Zanzibar and on the Tanzania mainland, this ensemble has toured internationally with outstanding success and has won over audiences in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the Arab Emirates and Reunion with their lush songs and instrumental solos.

They perform new compositions on a regular basis and have developed a distinct and uniquely Swahili style. Their CD-releases have made the name Culture Musical Club known to audiences throughout the world so that rehearsals in their club house have become  a tourist attraction.


The Music of Zanzibar (Globestyle, 1988)

Spices of Zanzibar (Network Medie, 1996)

Bashraf (Dizim, 2000)

Waridi: Parfums de Zanzibar (Virgin, 2004)

Shime! (World Village, 2009)


Artist Profiles: Bad Haggis

Bad Haggis – Photo by Wayde Carroll


Virtuoso bagpipe player Eric Rigler and his Celtic-infused, world music fusion band Bad Haggis combine the traditional sounds of Scottish and Irish bagpipes and tin whistles with Latin American music, Jazz, rock, and African influences. Based in Los Angeles, the band was formed in formed in 1998 and has toured the United States, Scotland and Spain.

Rigler fell in love with the sound of bagpipes at age two. He learned the traditional forms of bagpipe music, but as he got older he was interested in other genres and decided to combine them.

Rigler ‘s bagpipes and whistles are heard on several movie soundtracks, from Hollywood hits Braveheart and Titanic to the 2005 Oscar winner Million Dollar Baby. Eric Rigler also is heard on Troy, Master and Commander – The Far Side of the World, Ladder 49, Road to Perdition, Death to Smoochy, Austin Powers – The Spy Who Shagged Me, Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius and many others.

Bad Haggis is led by Rigler on Scottish and Irish bagpipes and various whistles. The lineup has varied throughout the years.


Eric Rigler – Photo courtesy of Aix Records


Rigler has recorded with various artists such as Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban and Tracy Chapman.

He’s also heard and sometimes seen on A&E television’s Crossing Jordan as well as other TV series like JAG, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and others. Rigler was the piper who led former President Ronald Reagan’s burial, televised worldwide.



Ark (2000)

Trip (2001)

Span (2004) Live-concert, double-sided DVD

Wine Dark Sea (2005)



Artist Profiles: Crooked Still

Crooked Still, original lineup

Crooked Still is an alternative bluegrass band that combined banjo, cello and double bass.

In the spring of 2001, vocalist Aoife O’Donovan and bassist Corey DiMario were classmates at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. In the meantime,  just across the river in the laboratories of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, a young cellist named Rushad Eggleston from the Berklee College of Music met every night to jam with Greg Liszt, then a graduate student and aspiring four-finger banjo player. A random meeting at a late-night party brought all four of these musicians together for the first time and Crooked Still was born in the summer of that year.

Their acoustic fusion transformed traditional American tunes  without losing authenticity. “It’s almost like we’re going back and making imaginary history ” said Eggleston.

As its members finished school, Crooked Still regularly performed around Boston, gaining a great reputation and growing its fan base.

Hop High (Signature Sounds Recordings 2005) the debut album from Crooked Still was released at the prestigious Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in July 2004 and was the top-selling CD at the festival that year. Following the success of this first festival appearance Crooked Still appeared at concert halls nightclubs coffeehouses and festivals in many American states and three different countries.

In 2007, Rushad Eggleston left the band and one year later two new musicians joined the band, Tristan Clarridge (cello) and Brittany Haas (fiddle).


Crooked Still


The ensemble took a 3-year sabbatical in 2011.



Hop High (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2005)

Shaken by a Low Sound (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2006)

Still Crooked (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2008)

Crooked Still Live (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2009)

Some Strange Country (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2010)

Friends of Fall (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2011)


Artist Profiles: Crasdant


Crasdant is a group formed by some of Wales’ top performers. Led by harp player Robin Huw Bowen, Crasdant explores Welsh music and folk dancing.

The other band members include Stephen Rees on fiddle and pibgorn;  Andy McLauchlin on flute, pibgorn and whistle;   and Huw Williams,  Welsh clogger.


Crasdant (Sain Records, 1999)
Nos Sadwrn Bach – Not Yet Saturday (Sain Records, 2001)
Dwndwr – The Great Noise (Sain Records, 2005)


Artist Profiles: Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger is a virtuoso fiddler, guitarist and outstanding singer. He was born in Eunice, Louisiana. Granger is Christine Balfa’s cousin and was the youngest member of Balfa Toujours. He recorded his debut CD for Rounder Records at the age of 15. He quickly became a reputable musician in the Cajun music scene and received several Cajun French Music association (CFMA) awards.

In 1999 Courtney joined Balfa Toujours on bass and fiddle playing together with the great Kevin Wimmer. Courtney also recorded with the legendary bluegrass musician Tim O’Brien.

Courtney’s repertoire includes Cajun and classic country tunes. His masterful fiddling and soulful singing has made him one of the most sought-after Cajun fiddlers, playing with renowned artists Jason Frey Dirk Powell and Horace Trahan. He joined the famous Cajun band The Pine Leaf Boys in summer 2008.

In 2016 he released Beneath Still Waters, his first solo country album.


Un Bal Chez Balfa (Rounder, 1999)

Live at Whiskey River Landing, with Balfa Toujours (Rounder CD 696 2000)

Live at 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, with The Pine Leaf Boys (2009)

Back Home, with The Pine Leaf Boys (Valcour Records, 2010)

Live at Jazzfest 2012, with The Pine Leaf Boys (2012)

Danser, with The Pine Leaf Boys (2013)

Beneath Still Waters (Valcour Records, 2016)


Artist Profiles: Cosmas Magaya

Cosmas Magaya

Cosmas Magaya has been playing the mbira since he was a child. He’s an acclaimed performer and teacher. He was one of the central figures and significant consultants to Dr. Paul Berliner in his 1978 book The Soul of Mbira: Music and Traditions of the Shona People of Zimbabwe.

Magaya’s playing can be heard on the Nonesuch recordings Zimbabwe – The Soul of Mbira: Traditions of the Shona People and Zimbabwe – Shona Mbira Musi. He has toured both Europe and the United States both alone and with other Zimbabwean musicians.


Zimbabwe: The Soul of Mbira (Nonesuch Records World Explorer Series H-72054, 1973)
Zimbabwe: Shona Mbira Music (Nonesuch Records World Explorer Series H-72077, 1977), reissued in 2002
Cosmas Magaya Solo (Mbira Recording Library, 1994)
Mbira (Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center, 1998)
Afamba Apota (Little Elf’s Workshop, 2000)
Mhuri yekwaMagaya (Mbira Recording Library, 2000)
Musimboti (Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center,2002)
Anoyimba (Little Elf’s Workshop, 2002)
Ndangariro, with Beauler Dyoko (2014)