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cutting-edge fiddle and cello explorations of Scottish and global music
” … you would think they’d been playing together for centuries. While his fiddle dances, her cello throbs darkly or plucks puckishly. Then [Haas] opens her cello’s throat, joining Fraser in soaring sustains, windswept refrains, and sudden, jazzy explosions. Their sound is as urbane as a Manhattan midnight, and as wild as a Clackmannan winter.” — Boston Globe
“As many gigs as they must have played together over the past decade or so, there remains a striking spontaneity about Fraser and Haas’s music-making. He has tonal variation and attack to spare, but what makes them so consistently absorbing is the responsiveness each shows to the other. Haas is more than a cellist: she’s the rhythm section who uses the percussive chip’n’chop of her bowing and the double bass-like pulse of her pizzicato playing to great effect. The accompanist’s role moves so fluently between them, building tension all the while, and then they’ll slip into unison and it’s like floodgates opening. ”
— The Herald
“Fraser, one of the most respected of all exponents of the Scots fiddle, would look long and hard to find a more appropriate cellist as a partner…A positive joy.”
— The Scotsman
The musical partnership between consummate performer Alasdair Fraser, “the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling”, and brilliant Californian cellist Natalie Haas spans the full spectrum between intimate chamber music and ecstatic dance energy. Over the last 18 years of creating a buzz at festivals and concert halls across the world, they have truly set the standard for fiddle and cello in traditional music. They continue to thrill audiences internationally with their virtuosic playing, their near-telepathic understanding and the joyful spontaneity and sheer physical presence of their music.
Fraser has a concert and recording career spanning over 30 years, with a long list of awards, accolades, radio and television credits, and feature performances on top movie soundtracks (Last of the Mohicans, Titanic, etc.). In 2011, he was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame. Haas, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, is one of the most sought after cellists in traditional music today. She has performed and recorded with a who’s who of the fiddle world including Mark O’Connor, Natalie MacMaster, Irish supergroups Solas and Altan, Liz Carroll, Dirk Powell, Brittany Haas, Darol Anger, Jeremy Kittel, Hanneke Cassel, Laura Cortese, and many more.
This seemingly unlikely pairing of fiddle and cello is the fulfillment of a long-standing musical dream for Fraser. His search eventually led him to find a cellist who could help return the cello to its historical role at the rhythmic heart of Scottish dance music, where it stood for hundreds of years before being relegated to the orchestra. The duo’s debut recording, Fire & Grace, won the coveted the Scots Trad Music “Album of the Year” award, the Scottish equivalent of a Grammy. Since its release, the two have gone on to record four more critically acclaimed albums that blend a profound understanding of the Scottish tradition with cutting-edge string explorations. In additional to performing, they both have motivated generations of string players through their teaching at fiddle camps across the globe.
SAC Presents welcomes fiddling supergroup Childsplay with Irish singer Karan Casey in their first-ever appearance in Oregon. This special evening will feature the beautiful singing of Casey, a native of Ireland, with the voices of violins all made by the renowned Massachusetts violin maker, Robert M. Childs. Childsplay brings virtuosic fiddling and features a wide range of outstanding all-star instrumentalists, ranging from all-Ireland and Scottish fiddle champions to members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and includes National Heritage award winning Irish step-dancer Kevin Doyle and Pilobolus dance theater member Molly Gawler. This is a multi-faceted evening of live performance you won’t want to miss
“Best of all, RUNA sounds like no one else!” – Travis Rogers, Jr., Music Life & Times
Quickly gaining recognition as one of Irish music’s new “super-groups,” RUNA has been en- chanting audiences by pushing the boundaries of Irish folk music into the Americana and roots music formats since their formation in 2008. Interweaving the haunting melodies and exuberant tunes of Ireland and Scotland with the lush harmonies and intoxicating rhythms of jazz, bluegrass, flamenco and blues, they offer a thrilling and redefining take on traditional music.
The group has been honored internationally, winning Top Group and Top Traditional Group in the Irish Music Awards and four Independent Music Awards including Best Live Album, Best World/Traditional Song and Best Bluegrass Song.
“Timeless and flawless…” – Jim Allford, PA Music Scene
RUNA consists of vocalist and step-dancer, Shannon Lambert-Ryan of Philadelphia, Dublin-born guitarist, Fionán de Barra, Cheryl Prashker of Canada on percussion, Zach White of St. Louis on guitar, vocals and mandolin, and Maggie White of Kentucky on the fiddle and Mandolin.
RUNA recently released their fifth album, “RUNA: LIVE”, which was recorded at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD on Thursday, March 17th, 2016. Receiving lavish praise on both sides of the Atlantic, the album has been hailed as “an incredible masterpiece” – Marcene Bronson, The Celtic Crier
Seeking to preserve and continue a traditional culture in a modern age, RUNA creates the backbone of its signature roots sound from the musical and geographical diversity of its individually established band members. Their strive for excellence and creativity blazes a trail for the future of folk music, earning them the reputation as one of the most innovative Irish folk groups of this generation.
“Genuine and with endless innovation…” – John O’Brien, Jr., Ohio Irish American News
The Outside Track is a Pan Celtic group that performs Scots, Irish and Cape Breton songs and stepdance.
Mairi Rankin, one of the hugely influential Rankin Family – legends on the Canadian music scene – plays fiddle, sings and also step-dances up a storm. Born in Mabou, Nova Scotia, Mairi has been influenced by some of the best Cape Breton traditional musicians and instructors on the island. She has developed her own unique style by being immersed in such a rich musical culture. She has toured nationally and internationally as a solo artist, a sideman and is a member of the Cape Breton Celtic super group Beolach. She has performed with the Rankin Sisters, Unusual Suspects and Bruce Guthro to name but a few. Mairi has recorded one solo album, two CDs with Beolach and has been featured on numerous compilations and recordings
Teresa Horgan, from Co. Cork, has an emotive singing style. “She has just enough world weariness in her vocals to interpret…songs and make them her own.” – Tony Lawless, Tradconnect. Teresa was immersed in music from a young age, playing with her family and later went on to obtain an honours degree in Irish Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. She recorded two albums with award-winning Irish band, ‘FullSet’, and one album with guitarist, Matt Griffin, called ‘Brightest Sky Blue’. She was also privileged to perform on the prestigious TV show, ‘The Late Late show’. She has toured extensively and shared the stage with The Chieftains, Declan O’Rourke, Andy Irvine, Lúnasa and more.
From the Highland village of Evanton, Fiona Black developed a love of music and dance from a young age. The feisean movement provided her the opportunity to nurture her passion through learning to play the piano accordion. Fiona went on to attend the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music where she honed her skills as an accordionist and gained valuable experience arranging, performing, composing and recording. Fiona set off for Limerick in 2005 where she completed a BA with Honours in Irish Music and Dance. During this degree, Fiona further developed her skills as a performer, arranger, teacher and composer while also traveling to Cape Breton during her third year of studies. Fiona’s accordion style incorporates many different influences, intertwining her native Scottish style with Irish, Swedish and Cape Breton repertoire, always adding her distinctive rhythm and vibrancy.
Ailie Robertson from Edinburgh is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s leading young traditional musicians. She is a musician in the broadest sense: composer, arranger, teacher, improviser and harp virtuoso. Her accomplishment on the clarsach is such that leading Irish flautist Niall Keegan said: “Ailie’s synthesis of Irish, Scottish and contemporary harping technique into an individual style represents the realisation of otherwise unimagined possibilities for the Celtic harp.” Ailie grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was immersed in the harp world from an early age. She began playing the clarsach when she was eleven years old and through her piano and clarsach lessons she developed a love for both classical and traditional music. In 2009 she was nominated for ‘Up and Coming Artist of the Year’ in the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards. Ailie is in great demand as a teacher around the world, and has published six books of harp music.
Michael Ferrie is an award-winning guitarist and composer from Callander, Scotland. A former student of Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd (National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music) and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Ferrie is currently studying on the MMus Folk Music program at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. Ferrie was named Highland Young Guitarist in 2010. In 2013 Ferrie was commissioned to compose for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s ‘Out and About’ week, and in the same year was nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award with Scottish folk band ‘Thalla’.
After taking America by storm on their first U.S. tour, the 2014 Irish Music Association Best New Band Socks in the Frying Pan released their eagerly awaited second album- The Return of the Giant Sock Monsters from Outer Space
The award winning trio from County Clare have captivated audiences the world around with their high energy performances, breath-taking musical ability and their trademark 3 part vocal harmonies, and have returned with the follow up to their debut award winning 2013 album.
The new album offers 6 sets of tunes, tastefully diverse and brilliantly crafted, combined with 6 songs, showcasing both vocal and harmonising abilities of each member on their respective songs, totalling a dozen stand-out tracks that will captivate and mesmerize the listener. Demonstrating creative versatility, several of the tunes and one of the songs have been written and arranged by the band. The album experience is exactly that which one encounters at a live Socks show- a high energy, masterfully performed collection of music and song that demonstrates exactly why Socks in the Frying Pan is fast becoming a household name and why they are one of the most loved and sought after Irish bands in the world today.
“Their Sound flows in magnetic, energetic waves, so does their banter on stage”
–Irish Music Magazine
Described by Irish Music Magazine as “A full bodied pipe and whistle extravaganza” Réalta make full use of the intricate melodies and driving rhythms that make Irish music so loved throughout the world.
Performing on dueling uilleann pipes, whistles, bodhrán, guitar, bouzouki, double bass and vocals, this award winning, Belfast based band will lead the listener on a journey of music and song through the full range of the Irish tradition…
… or as Herald Scotland put it, “Réalta carry on the Bothy Band tradition of taking tunes by the scruff of the neck and firing excitement through them like hot flames! “
The Tannahill Weavers are one of Scotland’s premier traditional bands. Their diverse repertoire spans the centuries with fire-driven instrumentals, topical songs, and original ballads and lullabies. Their music demonstrates to old and young alike the rich and varied musical heritage of the Celtic people. These versatile musicians have received worldwide accolades consistently over the years for their exuberant performances and outstanding recording efforts that seemingly can’t get better…yet continue to do just that.
The Tannahills have turned their acoustic excitement loose on audiences with an electrifying effect. They have that unique combination of traditional melodies, driving rhythmic accompaniment, and rich vocals that make their performances unforgettable. As the Winnipeg Free Press noted, “The Tannahill Weavers – properly harnessed – could probably power an entire city for a year on the strength of last night’s concert alone. The music may be old time Celtic, but the drive and enthusiasm are akin to straight ahead rock and roll.”
Born of a session in Paisley, Scotland and named for the town’s historic weaving industry and local poet laureate Robert Tannahill, the group has made an international name for its special brand of Scottish music, blending the beauty of traditional melodies with the power of modern rhythms. Over the years the Tannies have been trailblazers for Scottish music, and their tight harmonies and powerful, inventive arrangements have won them fans from beyond the folk and Celtic music scenes.
In 2011 the band was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame, and in 2014 they were joined by innovative piper Lorne MacDougall. Lorne comes with a high pedigree, having arranged and performed pipes for the Disney Pixar movie “Brave”, Dreamworks “How to Train Your Dragon 2”, and the BBCs “Dr Who”, along with a long list of other accomplishments.
As they embark on their 50th anniversary year in 2018, they are firmly established as one of the premier groups on the concert stage. From reflective ballads to footstomping reels and jigs, the variety and range of the material they perform is matched only by their enthusiasm and lively Celtic spirits.”An especially eloquent mixture of the old and the new.” –New York Times
Scotland’s Tannahill Weavers play acoustic instruments, but the atmosphere at their shows is electric. The quartet is as tight and as versatile as any band in the Celtic music revival. They can summon rock ‘n’ roll intensity or haunting introspection.”
– The Boston Globe, Boston MA
“…as close to perfect as it gets in an imperfect world.” – Sing Out!
“…the Weavers’ unpretentious manner and superlative playing set them apart from most other Celtic groups… In a world where good taste has become a scarce commodity, the Tannahill Weavers are a wealthy bunch.” – The Charleston Gazette, Charleston, SC
“…world class musicians with passion and a healthy sense of fun, keeping alive and making accessible the very heart of the tradition itself.” – Mojo Magazine