Tag Archives: fiddle

Artist Profiles: Chris Stout

Chris Stout

Shetland fiddler Chris Stout is one of the finest fiddlers of his generation in the UK. Stout was best known as a frontline member of Fiddlers’ Bid. His debut solo release First O’ the Darkenin’  however focused attention on his formidable individual talents at the helm of his own five-piece band winning him a nomination for Best Traditional Track at 2005’s Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Stout was born in Lerwick and grew up in Fair Isle until he was 7 years old “…where I caught my first glimpse of the fiddle when I was only 3! It was being played by my friend Ewan Thomson who was 7 years old at the time but has subsequently made the art of violin making his career. I now play two of his instruments a fiddle and viola.”

He played classical music at school and traditional music at home with his father who plays the accordion. “He took me to play at the Accordion and Fiddle clubs which was my introduction to traveling round the halls in Shetland and gave me my first performance experience.”

1990 was an important year for Stout. “I moved schools and became friendly with other young musicians who were mainly fiddle players. This group of youngsters were given the name ‘Fiddlers’ Bid’. They enjoyed frequent afternoon sessions possibly in place of classes such as Math or English with their teacher Willie Hunter. Countless concert experiences at coffee evenings and such like came rolling in.”

In the same year he won Shetland’s ‘Young Fiddler of the Year’ competition for his traditional fiddling. “I became Shetland’s ‘Young Musician of the Year’ for performing a classical repertoire. Having studied for a year with fiddle player Arthur Scott Robertson it was the advice of my classical tutor Teresa Mooreland that I should continue my studies on the mainland.”

In 1991 Stout gained a place at the music school of Douglas Academy in Glasgow where he studied for two additional years before gaining a place at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD). “During this time I played most weekends with the popular singing group ‘The Clydesiders’. This gave me a real appreciation and understanding of using the fiddle in an accompanying role to the voices. In retrospect it was probably my first opportunity to use the fiddle in an improvisatory style.”

Throughout his studies at the RSAMD he became more fascinated and excited by contemporary classical music. “As part of my degree I spent time working in an electro acoustic music studio. I completed my degree in classical violin and went on to do Masters in electro acoustic composition studying with the leading composer Alastair MacDonald. I was lucky enough to have one of my pieces released on a compilation CD of electro acoustic music featuring some of Britain’s top composers in this field.”

In 2000 Stout took part in a UK tour called ‘Fiddles on Fire’ with fiddlers Dezi Donnelly (Manchester) Eliza Carthy (England) and Susanne Lundeng (Norway). “This gave me my first independent break as a solo fiddle player on a national level.”

Stout has put this eclectic musical experience to good use. “I work with jazz musicians including London based trombonist Annie Whitehead drummer John Rae with his ‘Celtic Feet’ band saxophonist Phil Bancroft and ‘Orquestra Scotland Brasil’ 2003 collaboration.”

I am in demand as an electro acoustic composer. I composed a piece for Phil Bancroft in 2002 which was performed as part of the UK tour ‘Double Helix’. This was one of 3 professional commissions since leaving music college.”

Chris Stout’s quintet features Fraser Fifield (soprano saxophone) Catriona Mackay (harp piano) Malcolm Stitt (guitar) and Neil Harland (bass). The Quintet’s sound draws on the full breadth of Chris’ diverse skills and interests centered on his beloved Shetland traditions but weaving in a rich array of jazz and world-music influences.

In 2007 Stout released his solo album Devil’s Advocate.

Discography:

Around the World, with Fiddlers’ Bid (1994)

Hamnataing, with Fiddlers’ Bid (Greentrax, 1998)

Da Farder den Da Welcomer, with Fiddlers’ Bid (Greentrax, 2002)

First O’ the Darkenin’ (2004)

Naked and Bare, with Fiddlers’ Bid (Greentrax, 2005)

Laebrack, with Catriona McKay (2005)

Devil’s Advocate (Greentrax, 2007)

All Dressed in Yellow, with Fiddlers’ Bid (2009)

White Nights, with Catriona McKay (2010)

First O’ the Darkenin (Greentrax, 2011)

Chris Stout’s Brazilian Theory Live in Concert (2011)

Cauld Wind, with Finlay Macdonald (2013)

Seavaigers, with Catriona McKay (2014)

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Artist Profiles: Catriona MacDonald

Catriona MacDonald – Photo by Leila Angus

Catriona MacDonald began playing as a child back in 1981. Less than two years later, she took both the title of Young Fiddler of the Year in the annual Shetland Folk Society competition and the deputy leadership of a new fiddle group, Shetland’s Young Heritage, set up to help preserve Shetland traditional music and to help teach Shetland traditional fiddle to local school children. In 1991 her dexterity and presence became acknowledged on a wider stage, when she won the prestigious BBC Radio Two Young Tradition Award, a high profile competition featuring the cream of Britain’s young traditional players.

However, fiddle playing was not her only talent and at the age of eighteen, Catriona found herself studying voice at the Royal College of Music in London (where she met former playing partner accordionist Ian Lowthian). After graduating from four years study it was time to focus on Catriona’s first love the Shetland fiddle so she returned to Scotland and started her professional career.

Catriona has worked closely with accordionist Ian Lowthian and was behind a fantastic project the String Sisters premiered at Celtic Connections in January 2000, bringing together six of the most exciting female fiddle players in the world. String Sisters features a stellar international line up comprising Liz Carroll (USA), Liz Knowles (USA), Annbjorg Lien (Norway), Natalie MacMaster (Canada) and Altan’s Mairead ni Mhaonaigh (Ireland). Catriona was also a member of Blazin’ Fiddles.

Discography

Bold (2000)
The Old Style, with Blazin’ Fiddles (2004)
Magnificent Seven, with Blazin’ Fiddles (2005)
Live in Scotland, with The Unusual Suspects (2005)
Blazin’ Fiddles Live, with Blazin’ Fiddles(2007)
Over the Moon (2007)
Live, with String Sisters (2009)
Big Like This, with The Unusual Suspects (2010)
Thursday Night in the Caley, with Blazin’ Fiddles (2011)

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Artist Profiles: Cady Finlayson

Cady Finlayson

Cady Finlayson specializes in spirited Irish fiddle music with American Folk and World Music Influences.

From her first show in a small Irish pub in the U.S. Virgin Islands to her Carnegie Hall appearance for the New York Police Department (NYPD) Memorial Concert, Cady Finlayson has brought her spirited Irish fiddling to numerous venues throughout the United States.

Cady Finlayson received her Master of Music degree from Mannes College of Music and the President’s Award for Irish fiddle study at Blas World Music Centre in Limerick, Ireland.

Her Shines Like Silver was listed as one of the top 2 CDs of 2002 by WVPE. Recording credits include the soundtrack to Irish film Snakes and Ladders, baseball film Random Acts, the Peace on Earth Holiday Folk Tour with Judy Collins, and CDs for artists including Pierce Turner, Piper John Bradley and Holly Palmer.

Her all-star Irish band includes singer Honor Finnegan, guitar master Kyle Sanna and a driving rhythm section led by Tim Alworth. Her CD, Harp and Shamrock, celebrates her love of both traditional Irish music and American folk/world music percussion.

Discography:

Shines Like Silver (2002)
Harp and Shamrock (Violincaddy Music, 2004)
Irish Coffee (2007)
Electric Green, with Vita Tanga (2010)

www.cadyfinlayson.com

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Artist Profiles: Calum MacKinnon

Calum MacKinnon

Calum is from the island of Tiree in the Hebrides. He started learning the fiddle at an early age, from a neighbor, Willie Kemp, who studied with James Scott Skinner. He was runner-up at the 1988 US National Scottish Fiddle Championships, and returned to judge the Nationals in 1989, 1991, 1998 and 2001.

The irresistible energy and sensitivity of Calum’s playing has made him a highly sought-after performer and teacher. His busy performance schedule of concerts and workshops has taken him across the United States and Canada and to Scotland, England and Japan. Calum plays extensively for Scottish country dances across the US and Canada with his band, The Music of Spey that includes pianist Andy Imbrie and bass and cello player Ralph Gordon. He also plays frequently for dances with Muriel Johnstone, Scotland’s premier country dance pianist.

Calum performed with harper Sue Richards on her solo CDs, Grey Eyed Morn, and Hazel Grove, and on the highly popular Scottish country dance recording, Memories of Scottish Weekend, recorded live at the Ramblewood Scottish Weekend in 1998.

Discography:

It’s About Time, with Muriel Johnstone (Skerryvore Records, 2003)

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Artist profiles: Synnøve S. Bjørset

Synnøve S. Bjørset – Photo by Photo by Vegard Fimland

Synnøve S. Bjørset is one of the leading performers of traditional Hardanger fiddle music today. At her concerts she presents a collection of little-known tunes and recreations of familiar Norwegian standards, playing a wide range of scordatura (cross-tuning) tunings.

She regularly performs with fiddle group Majorstuen. Over the past few years, her performances have won her a series of awards.

Discography:

* Marylands (Heilo, 2001)
* RAM (NorCd, 2001)
* Kalvik Klassisk (2002)
* Majorstuen (2L, 2003)
* New North (Ozella/NorCd, 2004)
* Hardanger Fiddle (NorCd, 2004)
* Majorstuen, with Majorstuen (2L, 2002)
* Jorun Jogga, Majorstuen (MFC, 2004)
* Juledrøm, with Majorstuen (MFC, 2006)
* Slåttar (ta:lik, 2009)
* Jølster 2012 (ta:lik, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Susanne Lundeng

Susanne Lundeng – Photo by Ingvil Skeie Ljones

 

Susanne Lundeng was born in 1969 in Bodø, Nordland County, Norway. She studied violin at the local music school, starting at the age of nine. She has been involved in important efforts to collect traditional tunes from older fiddlers in her region. Her work was especially significant since many of the fiddlers were quite advanced in age, and have now passed away.

Lundeng has been highly praised and is greatly respected for her work. Her music showcases her involvement in the rich tradition of the northern area of Norway. Lundeng is known for her energetic playing style and her ability to communicate with her audience.

 

 

Discography:

* Havella (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7067, 1991)
* Drag (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 140, 1994)
* Norsk Folkemusikk 10 (Folkemusikk frå Nord-Noreg og Sameland) (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4070, 1995)
* Ættesyn (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 178, 1997)
* Vals Til Den Røde Fela (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2000)
* Forunderlig Ferd (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2004)
* Aejlies Gaaltije, with Frode Fjellheim (Vuelie, 2004)
* Nattevak (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2006)
* Waltz For The Red Fiddle (Laika, 2010)
* Mot (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2011)
* Wire and String, with Rolf Wallin (Simax Classics, 2011)
* Flåte, with Hammer & Hersk (Norway Music, 2013)
* Et steg ut (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2014)

web site: www.susannelundeng.no

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Artist Profiles: Mats Eden

Mats Edén

Mats Edén was born October 30, 1957 in Södertälje, Sweden. has his roots in the rich soil of Värmland. A member of acclaimed Swedish folk ensemble Groupa since its inception in 1980, he also writes the majority of the band’s material.

Having studied composition at Norway’s Musikkskole in Oslo, it comes as no surprise to those familiar with Mats’ playing that he is a nationally recognized master accordionist, having earned the distinguished title of ‘Riksspelman’ (master musician).

His violin work is at once elegant and jagged and distinguishes the band’s sound with his own combination of the sounds of Värmland and of Norway. Mats’ third solo album Milvus (with Jonas Simonson) was released on the ECM label. He has also toured the United States of America and Europe with Ale Moller and Lena Willemark in the ECM project Nordan.

Discography

* Unga Värmlandsspelmän (Caprice, 1977)
* Lika många fötter i taket som på golvet, Oktober (1978, Amigo)
* Höppesving (Amigo, 1980)
* Av bara farten, with Groupa (Amigo, 1983)
* Vildhonung, with Groupa (Amigo, 1985)
* Utan Sans, with Groupa (Amigo, 1988)
* Månskratt, with Groupa (Amigo, 1990)
* Struling (Amigo, 1992)
* Imeland, with Groupa (Amigo, 1995)
* Nordan (ECM, 1996)
* Agram, with Nordan (ECM, 1997)
* Läckerbiten (Amigo, 1998)
* Milvus (ECM, 1999)
* Tokpolskan, with Ellika Frisell (Giga, 1999)
* Lavalek, with Groupa (Xource, 1999)
* Avtryck (Amigo, 2001)
* Träd, with Niss Kerstin Mattsson (Amigo, 2001)
* Fjalar, with Groupa (Xource, 2003)
* Vägen In, with Tina Quartey (Amigo, 2004)
* Crane Dance, with Jonas Simonson m.fl. (Nordic Tradition, 2006)
* Milvus (ECM, 2008)
* Frost, with Groupa (Footprint, 2008)
* Apple Blossom (2015)

web site: http://www.matseden.se

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Artist profiles: Majorstuen

Majorstuen in 2009

Majorstuen is an ensemble of virtuoso fiddlers who play Norwegian roots music. All of them play the fiddle (violin), although they occasionally will use the cello or viola. There are no other instruments and the sound is completely acoustic.

Majorstuen has released three albums, and was awarded the top Norwegian music award, the Spellemannprisen, for their debut album. In 2005 they won the Hilmar Alexandersen Music Prize.

Since 2001, Majorstuen has been touring Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, Israel and Canada, including performances at Førde International Folk Music Festival, Bergen International Festival, Festival d’Ile de France, Celtic Colours and TFF Rudolstadt.

Majorstuen at WOMEX 2008 trade fair hall – Photo by Angel Romero

The line-up in 2009-2010: Andreas Ljones: fiddle, viola; Gjermund Larsen: fiddle, viola and cello; Jorun Marie Kvernberg: fiddle; Synnøve S. Bjørset: fiddle and viola; and Tove Dalbakk: fiddle and cello. A sixth musician, Ragnhild Furebotten: fiddle, went on leave in 2007.

The lineup in 2015 included Jorun Marie Kvernberg on fiddle; Andreas Ljones on fiddle; Synnøve S. Bjørset on fiddle; Anders Löfberg on fiddle and cello; and Tove P. Hagen on fiddle and cello.

Discography

* Majorstuen (2L, 2002)
* Jorun Jogga (MFC, 2004)
* Juledrøm (MFC, 2006)
* Skir (Majorstuen Fiddlers Company, 2010)
* Les Boréales compilation (Buda Musique, 2012)
* Live in Concert (Majorstuen Fiddlers Company, 2012)
* Kvitre (Majorstuen Fiddlers Company, 2015)

Web site: www.majorstuen.biz

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Artist Profiles: Leif Rygg

Leif Rygg

Leif Rygg was born in 1940 in Voss, in western Norway. He’s one of Norway’s leading Hardanger fiddle players.

Rygg began playing the fiddle at age of nine. He was inspired and motivated by his teachers: Lars Skjervheim, Sigbjørn Bernhoft Osa Anders Kjerland.

Leif Rygg won the first prize at the National Contest for Traditional Music four times between 1977 and 1996. He has performed in concerts in Norway and abroad, and has participated on a number of recordings, both under the auspices of his own music publishing house, “Spelarhaugen Folkemusikk,” and on other labels.

Rygg holds the position of county-employed musician in Hordaland, and is connected with Ole Bull Academy Voss. He also teaches international hardanger fiddle workshops.

Discography

* Bjølleslåtten, with Knut Buen and Kåre Nordstoga (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 6, 1994)
* Høgdepunkt frå Landskappleiken (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7103, 1994)
* Lengt (Spelarhaugen Folkemusikk SFCD 1, 1995)
* Norsk Folkemusikk 7 (Folkemusikk frå Rogaland og Hordaland) (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4067, 1995)
* Nøringen, with Knut Hamre ‎(Heilo HO 7005, 1980)
* Meisterspel, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7132, 1997)
* Vossaspel (Talik TA160CD, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Lars Underdal

Lars Underdal

Lars Underdal was born in 1971 in Vinje in Telemark (Norway), has studied with several fiddlers and at the renowned Ole Bull Academy in Voss. He has performed at a number of folk music competitions and at concerts in Norway and abroad. His performance style is vibrant and emotional.

His album “Gullfakse” is a fine selection of fiddle tunes from Telemark, in the tradition of such legendary fiddlers as Myllarguten and Gibøen.

Lars Underdal also performs folk music as a member of the groups Fire Feler (Four Fiddles) and Blåmann Blåmann.

Discography

Fjøllmanntonar, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7083, 1993)
Gullfakse (NOR-CD 9827, 1998)
Brudlaupsgarden
Fjøllmanntonar
I boks

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