Tag Archives: fiddle

Artist Profiles: Liz Carroll

Liz Carroll – Photo by Knuff Photography

Born in Chicago to Irish parents Liz Carroll was a natural at the fiddle right from the start. At age 18 she amazed the Celtic music world by winning the All-Ireland Senior Championship. Raised in the close-knit South side Irish community she learned the fiddle from her father and other older Irish musicians tagging along with him to Irish,session” where such respected musicians as fiddler Johnny McGreevy and pianist Eleanor (Kane) Neary could be found. She wrote her first tune at age nine.

An original member of the group Cherish the Ladies Liz has performed with artists ranging from the late virtuoso violinist Yehudi Menuhin to rock musician Don Henley. She has also performed with the String Sisters (with fellow fiddlers Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh of Altan Natalie Mac Master Catriona MacDonald from Scotland Annbjørg Lien of Norway and American Liz Knowles). The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Liz the National Heritage Fellowship the country’s top honor for the traditional arts in 1994. In 1999 Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley named September 19th,Liz Carroll Day, during the Chicago Celtic Festival.

Discography:

Kiss Me Kate with Tommy Maguire (Shanachie 3412, 1978)

Trian with with Trian (1992)

Liz Carroll (Green Linnet, 1993)

Trian II with with Trian (Green Linnet SIF-1159, 1995)

A Friend Indeed (Shanachie 3413, 1995)

Lost in The Loop (Green Linnet 1199, 2000)

Lake Effect (Green Linnet 8122, 2002)

In Play with John Doyle (2005)

Live with String Sisters (2007)

Double Play, with John Doyle (Compass Records, 2009)

On the Offbeat (2013)

website: www.lizcarroll.com

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Artist Profiles: Lauren MacColl

Lauren MacColl

Brought up in the Black Isle and now based in Glasgow, Lauren MacColl is the holder of the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2004.

Immersed in the rich culture of the Highlands, Lauren learned fiddle through the Feisean movement of Gaelic arts in Ross-Shire and it was at the Feis annual summer-schools that she was taught by the some of the Highland’s leading musicians: Iain MacFarlane, Allan Henderson and Alpha Munro. Her repertoire reflects her northern background and is greatly influenced by visiting tutor Aonghas Grant of Lochaber.

In the past few years her playing has taken her to Montana (USA), Italy France, Norway, Galway, Co. Mayo and across Britain and has given her various radio and television opportunities including Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk Radio nan Gaidheal MNE’s Beolach on BBC 2 Alba and as part of Donald Shaw’s Harvest commission on 24s BBC Hogmanay Live Show.

Her win of the Radio 2 award will this year see her play Cambridge Festival and Towersay Festival and record a session for the Mike Harding Show. Currently playing solo in duos and with the Tom Orr Dance Band Lauren combines her studies and performance with a passion for teaching as a resident tutor for Glasgow Fiddle Workshop RSAMD Youthworks.

Discography:

When Leaves Fall (Make Believe Records 2007)
Strewn With Ribbons (Make Believe Records 2009)
Wooden Flute & Fiddle, with Calum Stewart (Make Believe Records 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke – Photo by Jack Vartoogian

Kevin Burke’s sparkling lyrical fiddle has earned him a reputation as one of the finest most influential players in music today. From The Bothy Band to Patrick Street he has defined Irish fiddling for a generation. His work with artists as disparate as Kate Bush Arlo Guthrie and Christy Moore has given him an audience that not only spans continents but defies attempts at categorization.

Born and raised in London England Burke picked up his first fiddle at age eight when his parents decided music studies were in order. “To this day I have no idea why they chose the fiddle except that it’s popular in County Sligo where the family comes from and where we spent our vacations ” he laughs. “For the next five years or so I dutifully diddled around on it. Then I discovered Irish music. Suddenly I was hooked. I spent my teens wandering into pubs waiting for a chance to sit in with the musicians.”

London in the 196s was a vibrant musical scene for the Irish emigrants could be heard playing the styles of Kerry Sligo Galway Limerick and Clare. And Burke was listening. Though he counts such masters of the Sligo style as Michael Coleman Paddy Killoran and Tom McGowan as primary influences he also points to fiddlers Bobby Casey (County Clare) and Brendan McGlinchey (Ulster) and to a wealth of Irish musicians on the London scene as important in his development. “I had access to it all whereas if I’d been living in Ireland I might not have been so lucky.”

Good fortune aside Kevin’s undeniable talents brought him to the attention of Arlo Guthrie in 1972 when he was invited to the United States to play on Guthrie’s Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys. Shortly after Christy Moore the great Irish singer/songwriter asked Burke to Ireland to play in his new band. He stayed with Moore two years before joining what would become one of the most influential Irish groups of all time The Bothy Band.

Hailed as “the Yardbirds of Irish music ” the Bothy Band boasts some of the finest musical alumni in all of Ireland including Matt Molloy (Chieftains) Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and Tríona Ní Domhnaill (Nightnoise) Dónal Lunny and Paddy Keenan. Burke initially joined the band as a temporary replacement for fiddler Tommy Peoples but his role soon become permanent. His elegant impassioned fiddle was a cornerstone of the band’s legendary sound from 1976 until 1979.

During their years together Burke and guitarist Míchéal Ó Domhnaill discovered a rare musical rapport. When the Bothy Band parted ways the duo toured Europe and recorded the groundbreaking Promenade which was awarded the “Grand Prix du Disque” at the 198 Montreux Jazz Festival. They went on to record Portland named for the adopted hometown where Burke still resides.

In 1986 Burke joined an all-star cast of Irish musicians that included Andy Irvine and Jackie Daly for a tour that evolved into the legendary quartet Patrick Street. Eight albums and countless tours later the partnership is stronger and more electric than ever. In the late ‘8s Burke formed Open House his short-lived but critically acclaimed project with American musicians Paul Kotapish Mark Graham and Sandy Silva. Kevin created Open House to stretch beyond his Irish roots and explore music from all corners of the world.

As if that weren’t enough he is an active member of The Celtic Fiddle Festival a dazzling pan-Celtic ensemble that also features Scotland’s Johnny Cunningham and Christian LeMaitre of Brittany. Though the trio first came together for a one-off tour they went on to record two successful albums both highlighting the brilliant interplay between the fiddlers.

In Concert is Burke’s first solo release in 15 years. His fiddling tone and power are in mighty form as he sails through tunes drawn from throughout his remarkable career. “There are thousands of old tunes good ones that haven’t been played in years. When I find something I love I play it. And when I find something I like I bend it out of shape until I love it…Good music is good music. It should be heard.”

A lot of people think Irish music is wistful and melancholy. That’s one side of it but there’s also a great rough resilient spirit in the music an element of joy underlying even the most plaintive melody. I grew up listening to musicians with that spirit and I value it. So much in music today makes people passive bored and boring: three things I never want to be.</em>”

In 2002 Burke won the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship.

Discography:

Sweeney’s Dream (1972)

If The Cap Fits (Green Linnet 1978)

Promenade (1979)

Eavesdropper (1981)

Portland (1982)

Up Close (Green Linnet 1984)

Burke/Daly/Irvine/McGlynn: Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1986)

No. 2 Patrick Street with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1988)

Irish Times with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 199)

Open House with Open House (1992)

Celtic Fiddle Festival with Celtic Fiddle Festival (1993)

All in Good Time with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1993)

Second Story with Open House (1994)

Corner Boys with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1996)

Hoof and Mouth with Open House (1997)

Made in Cork with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1997)

Celtic Fiddle Festival: Encore with Celtic Fiddle Festival (1998)

Live From Patrick Street with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1999)

In Concert (Green Linnet 1999)

Rendezvous with Celtic Fiddle Festival (2001)

Street Life with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 2003)

Play On with Celtic Fiddle Festival (2005)

In Tandem with Ged Foley (2006)

Across The Black River with Cal Scott (2007)

On the Fly with Patrick Street (2007)

Equinoxe with Celtic Fiddle Festival (2008)

Suite with Cal Scott (2010)
Live in Brittany with The Celtic Fiddle Festival (Loftus, 2013)

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Artist Profiles: Johnny Cunningham

Johnny Cunningham

Johnny Cunningham was born in Portobello, Scotland on August 27 1957. He played fiddle since the age of seven and was known for his lightning-fast reels and hauntingly beautiful Scottish airs. He also delighted audiences worldwide with his wry humor and stories.

Johnny Cunningham was a founding member of Silly Wizard, the group that spearheaded the Scottish side of the Celtic revival in the 1970s and 1980s. He toured with his brother Phil Cunningham both as a duo and with the Celtic supergroup Relativity that also featured Micheal O’Domhnaill and Triona Ni Dhomhnaill of The Bothy Band.

Johnny not only enjoyed a successful career as a solo performer but was also greatly in demand as an award-winning record producer. Among other ventures he toured with blues-guitarist Bonnie Raitt, contemporary singer-songwriter and author Bill Morrissey and crossed over into the world of rock, appearing with Hall & Oates. His own alternative band Raindogs made two successful CDs for Atlantic/Atco Records Lost Souls (1990) and Border Drive-In Theatre (1991) and toured with artists such as Bob Dylan, Don Henley and Warren Zevon.

After completing a four-year stint with the successful Celtic music act Nightnoise, Johnny worked with acclaimed New York-based theater company Mabou Mines on their production “Peter and Wendy.”

Johnny composed the music and lyrics for this new version of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, which enjoyed several sold out runs including the Spoleto Arts Festival in Charleston S.C. in June 1996; The Public Theater New York City in September of 1996; and The New Victory Theater on 42nd Street New York City in February 1997. The response of audience and critics alike has been overwhelmingly positive. Thesoundtrack album from the innovative production Peter and Wendy, winner of two OBIE awards was released in a special hardcover package by world music label Alula Records.

Johnny also recorded and produced “La Musgaña Live” on tour in the band’s native Spain for Ediciones Resistencia. In addition he collaborated with Thomas Moore, best selling author of “Care Of The Soul”. The result is a double CD set “The Soul Of Christmas” which through the heart of Celtic culture and Thomas Moore’s readings explores ways to spiritually re-interpret traditional Christmas music and thought.

In his final years Johnny Cunningham toured as part of the Celtic Fiddle Festival and with Irish singer Susan McKeown. He died on the evening of December 15th, 2003.

Discography:

Silly Wizard with Silly Wizard (1976)
Caledonia’s Hardy Sons with Silly Wizard (1978)
So Many Partings with Silly Wizard (1979)
Against the Storm with Phil Cunningham (Shanachie 198)
Thoughts From Another World (Shanachie 1981)
Fair Warning (Green Linnet 1983)
Live In America, with Silly Wizard (1985)
Golden Golden, with Silly Wizard (1985)
A Glint Of Silver, with Silly Wizard (1986)
Relativity, with Relativity (1986)
Gathering Pace, with Relativity (1987)
Live Wizardry (1988)
Lost Souls, with The Raindogs (1990)
Border Drive-In Theatre, with The Raindogs (1991)
Shadow of Time, with Nightnoise (1993)
Celtic Fiddle Festival, with Celtic Fiddle Festival (1993)
To Warm the Winter’s Night, with Aine Minogue (1995)
White Horse Sessions, with Nightnoise (1997)
Peter and Wendy (Alula Records 1998)
Celtic Fiddle Festival: Encore, with Celtic Fiddle Festival (1998)
Rendezvous, with Celtic Fiddle Festival (2001)
A Winter Talisman, with Susan McKeown (Sheila-na-Gig Music/Caledonian Musicworks 2001)
Live on 11th Street, with Casey Neill Band (2003)
Sweet Liberty, with Susan McKeown (2004)

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Artist Profiles: Jenna Reid

Hailing from Shetland, Jenna Reid grew up immersed in the island’s rich fiddle tradition. At the age of nine she began to learn the fiddle and was taught by the late Dr Tom Anderson. When fiddle tuition became available in schools Jenna studied with the late Willie Hunter and was under his direction until the age of 13; during that time she was a prominent prize-winner in the Shetland’s Young Fiddler of the Year Competition and by the age of 14 had won both the intermediate and open sections of this annual competition.

Through this success she was subsequently invited to compete in the Glennfiddich Fiddle Competition. While still at school Jenna also took lessons from Trevor Hunter and Margaret Scollay. In addition to playing the fiddle Jenna also studied classical piano. On leaving school Jenna went on to study a BA in Traditional Scottish Music at the Royal Academy of Music & Drama in Glasgow. Whilst studying fiddle she also played piano and piano accordion as well as being introduced to singing.

Jenna has also performed since a young age and Shetland band Filska was where this began. Under the direction of mum Joyce Jenna along with her sister Bethany and friend Gemma Wilson had played together since a young age and in 1995 Filska released their debut album entitled Harvest Home. This was to be followed in 1998 with their second release Time and Tide. It was this album that saw Filska begin to make a name for themselves not only in Scotland but throughout Europe and beyond. Their success saw them play to audiences in Norway Sweden Denmark Italy Ireland France Canada and the US.

Filska’s trip to America came as an invitation to represent Scotland at the Millennium Celebrations in Disney’s Epcot Centre. Following this Filska performed live as part of the Scottish Millennium Celebrations along with Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham in a show that was broadcast to over 6 countries. Jenna also performs with Dochas who have been taking the traditional music world by storm.

Now based in Glasgow Jenna enjoys work as both a performer and teacher having tutored alongside legendary fiddler Liz Carroll. In addition to this Jenna has also toured and played with Scottish acts Deaf Shepherd Fiddlers’ Bid John Raes Celtic Feet and Kevin MacKenzie’s Vital Signs.

In 2005 Jenna released her debut solo CD With Silver and All and received the Scottish Traditional Music award for Best Up and Coming Soloist.

Discography

With Silver and All (2005)
The Laughing Girl (2008)
Morning Moon (2012)

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Artist Profiles: Hanneke Cassel

Hanneke Cassel

Raised on the Oregon Coast, Hanneke Cassel began playing violin at eight years-old, but a local fiddle competition inspired her to take up traditional fiddling. A few years later, at fourteen years old, she entered a Scottish fiddle contest, winning the national title. Years later, after numerous trips to Scotland, and studies with the great fiddlers Alasdair Fraser and Buddy MacMaster, she moved to Boston and enrolled at the Berklee College of Music. Going to Berklee in the early days of their groundbreaking strings program, Hanneke has since been at the forefront of a national fiddling revival, helping define the instrument for a new generation.

As a fiddler, Hanneke’s sound is a blend of Scottish and Cape Breton traditions, as well as some early roots in Texas fiddling. But she also draws heavily on experiences working with street kids in Kenya (many of the songs were commissions for them), her numerous trips to China (she lived and taught in Shanghai for a while), and her friends and relationships built around the scene in Boston.

In 214 she released Dot the Dragon’s Eyes, where she is joined by cellist Rushad Eggleston fiddler/violist Jeremy Kittel, cellist Mike Block (her husband), and New England guitarist Keith Murphy. The album also includes vocals from Aoife O’Donovan.

In addition to her solo act, Hanneke tours regularly with Baroque/Celtic group Ensemble Galilei, and has performed with the Cathie Ryan Band, Cherish the Ladies, Alasdair Fraser, and Matt Glaser and the Wayfaring Strangers. She is an active member of Boston-based band Childsplay (featuring over 2 fiddles made by Bob Childs) and co-founder (with Laura Cortese and Lissa Schneckenburger) of Celtic female band Halali.

She teaches regularly at Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon and Sierra Fiddle Camps, Boston Harbor Fiddle Camp, and the Club Passim School of Music.

Hanneke’s awards include1992 and 1994 U.S. National Jr. Scottish Champion, 1996 Berklee U.S. Scholarship Tour Award, 1996 Oregon State Texas-style Grand Champion 1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, 1998 Berklee College of Music Strings Award, and 28 USA Songwriting Contest (1st place Instrumental and 3rd place Overall).

Discography

The Wee Hours: Future of Scottish Fiddling in America (Gargoyle Records, 1998)
Diary of a Fiddler, with Darol Anger (Compass Records, 1999)
My Joy (Cassel Records, 2001)
Many Happy Returns (Cassel Records, 2003)
Halali, with Halali (Footprint Records, 2003)
Some Melodious Sonnet (Cassel Records, 2004)
The Farthest Wave, with Cathie Ryan (Shanachie, 2005)
Silver (Cassel Records, 2006)
In the Moment, with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas (Culburnie Records, 2007)
From the Edge of the World, with Ensemble Galilei (2007)
Calm the Raging Sea, with Christopher Lewis (Cassel Records, 2007)
Notes From Across The Sea, with Ensemble Galilei (Ann Mayo Muir, 2009)
Waiting for the Dawn, with Childsplay (Childsplay Records, 2009)
For Reasons Unseen (Cassel Records, 2009)
Dot the Dragon’s Eyes (Cassel Records, 2013)

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Artist Profiles: Fiddlers 4

Fiddlers 4

Fiddlers 4 was a collaboration featuring some of the finest fiddlers in the United States. Michael Doucet is well loved for his work as the leader of Cajun supergroup BeauSoleil; Darol Anger, a veteran of the David Grisman Quintet and founding member of the Turtle Island String Quartet, is the leading exponent of jazz-infused newgrass; and Bruce Molsky is internationally acclaimed old time fiddler. Together with cellist Rushad Eggleston, the quartet offered a cross-cultural fiddling fest, rooted in the musics of Louisiana, the Appalachian mountains and the Marin, California foothills.

Discography:

The Fiddlers 4 (Compass Records, 2005)

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Artist Profiles: Filska

Filska

Filska is a band from the Shetland Islands, who built their music on the Islands tradition of fiddle playing. The word Filska comes from the Shetland dialect, and means mischievous and high-spirited. The line up includes sisters Jenna (Fiddle/Accordion/Vocals) and Bethany Reid (Fiddle/Piano/Vocals), Gemma Wilson (Fiddle/Vocals) and Andrew Tulloch (Guitar/Vocals).

As girls, they grew up together playing traditional Shetland music through the encouragement of Jenna and Bethany’s mother, Joyce Reid. Throughout their upbringing, the late, great fiddlers Tom Anderson and Willie Hunter taught the girls. They also had tuition from Eunice Henderson, Margaret Scollay and Trevor Hunter. Under this fine direction, they each went on to become prominent prize-winners of Shetland’s Young Fiddler of the Year competition.

In 1995, the band recorded their debut album, titled Harvest Home. The album included traditional material from Shetland, Scotland and Ireland, and confirmed their musical talents from an early age. Following the success of this recording, Filska began to perform increasingly on the Mainland of Scotland at various concerts and festivals. Subsequently, Filska were invited to perform on the Grampian TV traditional music program Ceol na Fidhle, recorded live at Coo Cathedral, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire.

The band returned to the studio in 1998 to record their second album Time and Tide. Shetland singer, guitarist and recording engineer Andrew Tulloch, recorded the album and played guitar on the recording. Before long, Tulloch was a member of the band. Time and Tide introduced the band to a much wider audience, and their line up of three fiddles, guitar, accordion, piano and vocals delighted audiences throughout Ireland, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and the States. Filska’s trip to the USA came as an invitation to perform at the millennium celebrations held in the Epcot Centre, Florida. On their return to the U.K., Filska performed as finalists in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in London.

Since the release of their second album, Filska has integrated an increasing amount of original tunes and songs to their set, as well as performing their own native music. This approach to traditional, Shetland and contemporary tunes is what gives Filska their highly unique and innovative sound.

Discography:

Harvest Home (1995)

Time and Tide (1998)

A Thousand Miles Away (Foot Stomping CDFSR1723, 2003)

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Artist Profiles: Fiddlers’ Bid

Fiddlers’ Bid

Fiddlers’ Bid is internationally respected as a leading exponent of their unique musical heritage and rich fiddle tradition. Global ambassadors for Shetland, this dynamic four-fiddle front line joins with a powerhouse of piano, bass, guitar and Scottish harp to create a ‘display of stunning virtuosity’.

Since their formation in 1991, the “flying fiddles and furious talent” of Fiddlers’ Bid have astounded audiences all over the world with their expressive, high energy music and performance.

Fiddlers’ Bid have performed at some of the largest folk festivals in the world including the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in USA and have had two hugely successful tours of Australia and Tasmania, performing at the Melbourne Concert Hall and Sydney Opera House. One tour earned the band a nomination for Best Contemporary Music Presentation at a national music award ceremony in Australia.

Their album Da Farder Ben Da Welcomer was the Greentrax best-selling album of 2002 and Naked and Bare received acclaimed reviews.

Discography:

Around the World (Fiddlers’ Bid, 1994)

Hamnataing (Greentrax Recordings, 1998)

Da Farder Ben Da Welcomer (Greentrax Recordings, 2001)

Naked and Bare (Greentrax Recordings, 2005)

All Dressed in Yellow (2009)

website: http://www.fiddlersbid.com

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