Chrissy Crowley was born in Margaree Forks, Nova Scotia. She is part of thriving Celtic music scene from Cape Breton, Canada. She grew up in the beautiful Margaree area of Nova Scotia, Canada, a place known for its cherished musical culture. The music of the ceilidh resonates in the majestic mountains and peaceful valleys incorporating not only the tunes of the Scottish Gaels but also those of the area’s Irish and French-Acadians. Chrissy has been inspired by the traditions of artists who have gone before and has embraced the music of her Celtic roots making it her own.
Chrissy’s passion for the music of her Gaelic ancestors is borne of destiny. She is the granddaughter of fiddlers Bill Crowley and Archie Neil Chisholm and her large extended family has always greatly valued the traditions of their Scottish forebears and their Newfoundland/Irish ancestors. It was Chrissy who asked her mother to take her grandfather Bill’s violin out of storage. She had decided, with a resolve uncommon for one so young, to become a fiddler and listened intently to her family’s home recordings of the vibrant sessions in which legendary musicians participated, including her great uncle Angus Chisholm and cousins Cameron Chisholm and Margaret (Chisholm) MacDonald.
She remains a largely self-taught artist, absorbing the rich musical culture of the Margaree by listening to the local players and learning by observation. Chrissy has on occasion been in a classroom environment, enrolling in courses at the Celtic College in Goderich, Cape Breton’s Ceilidh Trail School of Music and the Gaelic College of Arts and Crafts. These institutions extended the gifted player scholarship opportunities and she took advanced fiddle instruction from master artists of Cape Breton, Ireland, Scotland and North America.
Chrissy’s determination and natural ability have allowed her to become an exceptional fiddler in an astonishingly short period of time and she remains in demand at the various traditional music venues throughout Nova Scotia. She has also been on stage at festivals in Cape Cod, Maine, Ontario and Prince Edward Island .
Chrissy has been involved herself with the promotion of the area’s traditions as a member of the Cape Breton Highlands Celtic Club. She was selected to attend the Encounters with Canada Journalism and Communications program in Ottawa and has written articles about her Celtic heritage and musical roots. Her work has been published in Celtic Heritage Magazine and Fiddler Magazine.
She is an active member of the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association, her success emblemizing the organization’s mandate to encourage and support the players of the young generation. Christine Crowley has released her first CD, following the footsteps of her great uncle Angus who was one of the first fiddlers in Cape Breton to make a recording.
Chrissy is a member of Còig, one of Atlantic Canada’s leading traditional groups. Còig’s debut album titled Five won the 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Traditional Album of the Year, the Music Nova Scotia Award for Traditional/Roots Recording of the Year, and most recently, the 2015 East Coast Music Award for Roots/Traditional Group Recording of the Year.
Nordfjord is the second solo album by talented Norwegian fiddler Britt Pernille Frøholm. Although she has recorded and performed various musical genres, on Nordfjord Britt Pernille Frøholm focuses on the fiddle tradition of Nordfjord, the fiord in northwestern Norway.
The music selection includes upbeat performances and melancholic pieces; it’s a mix of well-known tunes and rare compositions that are barely known today. The fiddle used in the region was the violin until the early 20th century. The hardanger fiddle was introduced after that.
Nordfjord is a solo fiddle effort, with no other instruments or vocals used. It represents the raw fiddle as it was used in villages for dancing and other events.
Britt Pernille Frøholm is a founding member of two groups, MAAR and Boreas.
Nordfjord is an evocative and fascinating portrait of the musical traditions of northwestern coastal Norway.
Vassar Clements was one the United States’ most versatile fiddle players. His career began at a very early age. His phenomenal ability to virtually play any kind of music (bluegrass, country, pop, rock, jazz and swing) garnered him various awards including five Grammy nominations and a track record that involves multitudes of recording performances.
Vassar was a prolific composer of instrumentals and played seven instruments: violin, viola, cello, bass, mandolin, guitar and tenor banjo.
Vassar’s career spanned over fifty years. His association with Bill Monroe began when he was only 14 years old and still in school. He started with Bill as a regular Bluegrass Boy in 1949 and was with him through 1956. From 1957 to 1961 he performed with bluegrass artists Jim & Jesse McReynolds. In 1962 he took leave from his music to pursue other interests but returned to full time music when he decided to make Nashville his home in January 1967.
Vassar did recording sessions and played tenor banjo in Nashville’s Dixieland Landing club until October 1969. He then started touring with Faron Young and doing occasional solo dates when time permitted. In February 1971 he joined John Hartford and his Dobrolic Plectral Society, initiating a professional association and personal friendship that has grew stronger through the years. After ten months and earning an enormous amount of recognition and popularity, the group decided to disband. Vassar then found himself with the legendary Earl Scruggs and the Earl Scruggs Revue.
During that time, one of the most important milestones in his career was his participation on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 1972 Landmark album Will The Circle Be Unbroken. This historical event was produced by William McEuen and featured an extravaganza of bluegrass, country and folk’s greatest artists. It was the turning point that re-kindled Vassar’s career and at the same time introduced him to a much younger non-country audience.
Within a few short months Vassar was recording and/or performing with Dicky Betts, Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, David Grisman, Paul McCartney, etc. In May 1973, The classic Old & In The Way album was recorded in San Francisco during a live performance. The Sales from this project have exceeded other albums of like kind and has formed staunch cults that still exist after twenty three years.
Since 1973 when Vassar signed his first major label deal with Mercury/Polygram records his personal discography ranged from country, waltzes, swing to jazz. Ironically, in 1992 he recorded his only straight bluegrass recording for Rounder Records titled Grass Routes.
His early experience growing with jazz and swing music left an indelible mark on his style. Vassar said: “bands like Glen Miller, Les Brown, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James and Artie Shaw were very popular when I was a kid. I always loved rhythm so I guess in the back of my mind the swing and jazz subconsciously comes out when I play because when I was learning I was always trying to emulate the big band sounds I heard on my fiddle.” Understandably the form of jazz music created by Clements was a mix of the diverse influences that touched him throughout his career but particularly his affinity for the jazz and swing music of his youth.
Therefore it is no surprise that even though early in his career, as he learned and developed bluegrass and country styles, he also gained respect as a jazz player. Hence classic number two: Once In A While which resulted from a jam session with Miles Davis’s ex-band members Dave Holland, John Abercrombie and Jimmy Cobb. Classic number three: Together At Last. with Stephane Grappelli was produced by Tim Yaquinto and recorded in Vassar’s former studio.
Back Porch Swing was Vassar’s first album to feature the Little Big Band. Recorded between September 1997 and September 1998 at the Historic RCA Studio B in Nashville Back Porch Swing was performed almost entirely live with the exception of vocal and string overdubs.
Vassar Clements participated in Dead Grass (2000) a bluegrass twist on some Grateful Dead favorites.
Full Circle (OMS Records) released in 2001 had Vassar returning to his bluegrass roots with an all star cast that included Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Bryan Sutton, Peter Rowan, John Cowan, Josh Graves, Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, J. D. Crowe, Billy Troy, Alan O’Bryant, Ricky Skaggs, Jim & Jesse and Jake Landers.
In May of 2004 Runaway Fiddle (OMS Records) came out. This project was a labor of love of two of the greatest American fiddle players of modern times Vassar Clements and Buddy Spicher. Buddy Spicher is one of Nashville’s most recorded session artists and arrangers. On Runaway Fiddle these two legends teamed up to record tunes they grew up loving playing and internalizing but for the most part never recording. Selections include 192’s show tunes Western Swing Dixieland. Several songs are interpretations of songs popularized by country music icon Bob Wills who created the new art form called Western Swing.
His CD Livin’ With The Blues (Acoustic Disc) was released in August of 2004. It was his first blues album. While Vassar Clements has often been considered the ?bluesiest? of the bluegrass fiddlers it wasn?t until producer Grisman asked him what kind of record he wanted to make that the soft spoken septuagenarian replied “I’ve always wanted to make a blues record.”
Livin? With The Blues includes Skip James? swampy “Cypress Grove ” with Vassar’s lonesome fiddle accompanied by Bob Brozman’s slide guitar. Elvin Bishop cleans house with his own “Dirty Drawers” and “That?s My Thing ” while Maria Muldaursings with Vassar on “Honey Babe Blues” and Bessie Smith?s “I Ain?t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle.” Other tracks include Roy Rogers desolate take on Robert Johnson?s “Phonograph Blues ” “Mambo Boogie” featuring Dave Mathews and the Booker T. Jones classic “Green Onions ” given a new twist by Charlie Musselwhite and Vassar. “Rube’s Blues” featured blues guitar whiz David Jacob-Strain (who was 19 at the time) helping Vassar reinvent a bluegrass standard and Norton Buffalo with his unique soul treatment of his own “Don’t Stand Behind A Mule.”
In November of 2004 Vassar Clements joined bluegrass quartet The Biscuit Burners onstage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Vassar played on two of the band’s original songs “Come On Darlin'” and “Red Mountain Wine”. The surprise appearance was part of the historic Ryman Auditorium’s $1 on the 1th Mystery Artist Series celebrating the 1 year anniversary of the legendary theater’s renovation.
On March 11, 2005 Vassar was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died at his home August 16th, 2005 at 8:25 am. He was 77.
[Biography adapted from Vassar Clement’s official biography].
Vassar (Mercury Records)
Superbow (Mercury Records)
Southern Waltzes (Rhythm Records)
Vassar Clements John Hartford & Dave Holland (Rounder Records)
Crossing The Catskills (Rounder Records 1972)
Vassar Clements (MCA Records)
The Bluegrass Session (Flying Records 1977) Grass Routes (Rounder Records)
Saturday Night Shuffle – A Celebration of Merle Travis (Shanachie Records)
Hillbilly Jazz (Flying Records 1978)
Hillbilly Jazz Rides Again (Flying Records)
New Hillbilly Jazz (Shikata Records)
Together At Last with Stephane Grappelli (Flying Records 1987)
Nashville Jam (Flying Records)
Westport Drive (Mind Dust Records)
The Man The Legend (Vassillie Productions)
Country Classics (Vassillie Productions)
Vassar Clements Reunion With Dixie Gentlemen (Old Homestead) Once In A While, Jam with Miles Davis’ ex-band members (Flying Fish Records 1992)
Live in Telluride 1979 (Vassillie Productions 1979)
Music City USA (Vassillie Productions)
Old And In The Way – Volume 1 (BMG Music)
Old and In The Way – That High Lonesome Sound – Volume 2 (Acoustic Disc)
Old and In The Way – Breakdown – Volume 3 (Acoustic Disc)
An Americana Christmas with Norman Blake (Winter Harvest)
The Bottom Line Encore Collection (Bottom line 1999)
Vassar’s Jazz – Golden Anniversary (Winter Harvest)
Back Porch Swing (Chrome Records 2000)
Dead Grass (Cedar Glen Music Group)
20 Fiddle Tunes & Waltz Favorites
Full Circle (OMS Records 2001)
Will The Circle Be Unbroken – Volume II – 3th Anniversary Edition (Capitol Records)
Will The Circle Be Unbroken (United Artists)
Will The Circle Be Unbroken – Volume III (Capitol Records)
Old & In The Gray (Acoustic Disc)
Runaway Fiddle with Buddy Spicher (OMS Records) Livin’ With The Blues (Acoustic Disc 2004)
The Fiddle According to Vassar (Homespun Tapes). Taught By Vassar Clements. 9-minute DVD or VHS Includes music book
Vassar Clements In Concert – Vassar Swings (Shikata Records)
Vassar Clements In Concert – Ramblin’ 81 (Shanachie Records)
From Nairn in the Scottish Highlands, fiddler Rua Macmillan has quickly made a name for himself as one of the stars in the highly competitive world of Scottish traditional music for his captivating high energy performances.
Rua graduated with a B.A. Hons (Scottish Music) from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. He was taught by Bruce Macgregor Alpha Munro Sharon Hassan and most notably Aonghas Grant Snr – the great Left-handed fiddler from Lochaber.
In February 2009 Rua was awarded the prestigious title of BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year. The following summer he performed at Cambridge Folk Festival and has since toured extensively throughout Europe and the U.S.
His debut album ‘Tyro‘ (CDTRAX 346) was released on the Greentrax label in May 2010.
Rua performs in a trio with Tia Files (from Bodega) on guitar and Adam Brown on bodhran.
Rua is also a member of the Paul McKenna Band who were voted Best Up and Coming Act in the 2009 MG Alba Trad. Music Awards.
Pete Clark is regarded as one of Scotland’s greatest fiddlers. Pete now lives in Perthshire not far from the birth places of Niel Gow and Robert Mackintosh.
The beautiful Perthshire landscape has been the inspiration for many of Pete’s compositions. Adding to his busy schedule of performing both in solo concerts and bands such as the Benachally Ceilidh Band and composing” Pete is also an instructor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.
Now & Then (INVER226 2006) is a collection from Pete Clark featuring some of his own compositions alongside a few gems from those of the great Scottish fiddle composers Niel Gow, Willam Marshall and James Scott Skinner.
Matt Tighe – Matt Tighe (Greentrax Recordings, 2017)
Matt Tighe is an excellent fiddler from South London in the UK. On his self-titled album he delivers an impressive set of original and traditional tunes highlighting his talent as a fiddler. The selection ranges from lively tunes and dances to mesmerizing slow airs.
On most of the tunes, Matt Tighe uses a fiddle and rhythm guitar format although a fuller ensemble featuring piano, percussion, bass and concertina also appears in some of the pieces. There is also great interplay between the fiddle and concertina on “Cronin’s” and the piano on “Clancy’s.”
Tighe is deeply influenced by of County Clare in Ireland and the Scottish music he was exposed to at the Cambridge Folk Festival and Glasgow.
Occasionally, Tighe treats the listener to beautifully-crafted fiddle overdubs that are best enjoyed with a good sound system or headphones.
Personnel: Matt Tighe on fiddle, octaive fiddle, and harmonium; Tad Sargent on bouzouki, guitar, mandocello, bodhran, piano and harmonium; Chris O’Malley on piano and harmonium; James Lindsay on double bass; Luke Daniels on button accordion; Brian McNeill on concertina; and Jock Turner on shaker.
Overall, an outstanding Celtic music album by a talented young fiddler.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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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