A really great folk duo is playing in Ann Arbor this weekend at The Ark. If you like Scottish fiddle with a wee bit of percussive cello, don’t miss them. My husband David and I happened to catch a show on a vacation to Maine (they tour incessantly), and it was one of those rare moments of discovery.
Hope you see this notice, if folk music’s your thing.
13 Ann Arbor MI The Ark Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas 734-761-1451 Tickets, Info
“. . . the expressive gamut from deep Celtic melancholy to joyful jig, his fiddle imitations of the bagpipe almost unbelievable, the whole rendered with a humble sincerity, flawless virtuosity and just about the sweetest sound since Fritz Kreisler.” —L.A. TIMES
“Alasdair Fraser is recognized throughout the world as one of the finest fiddle players Scotland has ever produced. [His] name is synonymous with the vibrant cultural renaissance which is transforming the Scottish musical scene.” —SCOTS Magazine
Master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser is a consummate performer. His dynamic fiddling, engaging stage presence, and deep understanding of Scotland’s music have created a constant and international demand for his solo appearances and concerts with a variety of ensembles. Alasdair has been a major force behind the resurgence of traditional Scottish fiddling in his homeland and the U.S., inspiring legions of listeners and learners through his recordings, annual fiddle camps, and concerts. He has represented Scotland internationally through performances sponsored by the British Council, and has been awarded touring support by the California Arts Council, with the ranking of “highest priority for inclusion on the roster; considered ‘model’ in stature.”
Alasdair’s richly expressive playing transports listeners across a broad musical spectrum, ranging from haunting laments from the Gaelic tradition to classically-styled airs, raucous dance tunes, and improvisations based on traditional themes. His vast repertoire spans several centuries of Scottish music and includes his own compositions, which blend a profound understanding of the Scottish tradition with cutting-edge musical explorations. He weaves through his performances a warm and witty narrative, drawing from a deep well of stories and lore surrounding Scotland’s musical heritage.
I want to do this. I WANT TO DO THIS. Let’s do this, you mokes.
This is your official invitation to Songs of Good Cheer, the holiday singalong that my colleague Eric Zorn and I are hosting for the 13th straight year.
Sorry for mentioning Christmas in October, but there are a lot of hyper-organized holiday lovers out there who make plans long before the last leaf falls. So here’s everything you need to know to join us. We hope you will.
Who: A band of first-rate musicians from the Old Town School of Folk Music whose instruments include banjo, mandolin, bass, clarinet, fiddle, accordion, ukulele and washboard. Eric plays guitar. I play piano. You sing.
A coffeehouse named Two-Way Street in Downers Grove, that is. My husband David and I went there more than 10 years ago to see a folk performer named David Roth, we really could have been going all this time. Funny how time gets away from you.
Down a hallway and short flight of stairs, in a basement room of Downers Grove’s First Congregational Church, it’s not unusual to find a standing-room-only crowd on a Friday night.Not much has changed in the four decades folkies have gathered to draw bows across fiddles, strum guitars and pluck banjos, transforming the church basement into the Two Way Street Coffee House one night a week.”Why Downers Grove? I happen to be born here. I grew up here,” said Dave Humphreys, founder of the coffee shop, which opened its doors for the first time 40 years ago Wednesday.The genre-defining Newport Folk Festival, it’s not. But the Two Way Street, as Humphreys will tell you, is one of very few places in the Chicago area with a following that has remained constant as times and trends changed and folk music lost the widespread appeal it had in the ’60s.
Sang it in church, backing up Father Paul, who played his Pete Seeger-edition banjo. When I started to belt out the rousing alternate harmony line in the chorus, my choir buddies didn’t know what hit ’em because it wasn’t printed in the bulletin. Heh, old folk music fan here, yo.
We only sang the first three verses, and omitted the rabble-rousing last two. I was ready to go with the lyrics on my iPhone in case Father Paul kept on singing… that would have been a time!
It was great singing with Father Paul again, because we sometimes used to sing folk tunes when we’d do the monthly service at a nearby retirement home. He’s been very ill for most of the last year and only recently started to regain his strength. I’d been very worried about him and he’s still not out of the woods, but he’s gaining weight and getting back to his normal activities… like singing rabble-rousing folksongs and fighting injustice with his mighty banjo.
Got to sing this at the early service, but at a brisker pace and with no fancy soprano descant at the end. Lawd, that’s a pretty one! Must pass that one along to Her Musical Nibs at St Nick’s for next year.
There doesn’t seem to be a way to customize the tweets when using the Shazam iPhone app – I wish I could vary the text from “I used Shazam to discover…” And so, I won’t be using Shazam to send tweets very often, because frequent, robotic auto-posts get really annoying really fast.
3 young men, ages 14 and 15, tear it up on “O Solo Mio” on an Italian Idol-type program. Can you even sing like that without hurting yourself before your third decade? However, they’re miked, so not having to get the sound out the old-fashioned way over the studio orchestra (who aren’t that well rehearsed, frankly). One of them may technically be a baritone, all of them may be destined for either the opera, or some kind of romantic pop-idol musical limbo now inhabited by Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli.