Yesterday I went to my first fiddle evening class for a while. I’ve rejoined the class at the Scots Music Group, as the Fiddle 7 tutor is now Mairi Campbell and I really enjoyed her workshops on improvisation and Cape Breton music at the Fiddle Festival in November. The Greenbank Buskers have some stuff coming up too, and of course I won’t be neglecting the nyckelharpa – I’m going to one of Vicki Swan’s workshops near Morpeth in February. Then of course there are lots of sessions to go to …
Another great Scots Fiddle Festival. We went to all three concerts, every one was excellent.
The Friday evening concert started with Ryan Young and Jenn Butterworth. Simply fabulous. We have seen Ryan before as a competitor for young traditional musician of the year at Celtic Connections – sadly he didn’t win either – but he’s a really great fiddler.
I enjoyed playing with the Greenbank Buskers again for the annual youth ceilidh. The fiddle needs its exercise! Here’s the best photo of the band (until the Facebook link breaks).
The band personnel always depends on who’s available, but it’s always good fun to play with these great people.
I enjoyed a great session in the Boda Bar this evening hosted by Alice Thorsell. Lots of great tunes (pretty international, though lots of Swedish and Scottish) and good to see other session friends there. I will be back! For a change, I took the fiddle – nice to give it some exercise, and I played a few Swedish tunes on it that previously I have only played on the nyckelharpa. G minor is very good for my fingering 🙂 No photos, sorry.
We rarely get to Edinburgh festival or fringe events – but found out this year after returning from France that Blazin’ Fiddles are finishing off their 20th anniversary celebrations with a series of concerts, two in the Queen’s Hall – so we went along. It really was a fantastic concert, they were truly on form, and also had Karen Matheson singing a few sets. We were surprised to find only a couple of people there we knew – there are usually lots on well-kent Edinburgh fiddle people at these gigs!
We enjoyed a great concert at the Queen’s Hall this evening – the String Sisters were performing. Lots of great tunes – and lots of fiddle friends and acquaintances were there. Great to catch up with people.
Last September the ceilidh band I play with (the Greenbank Buskers) were doing a gig in a hall which was filled with lots of noisy dancers (etc!). We have usually managed fine in the past but found that the fiddles were having difficulty hearing the accordions, and vice versa. We had amplification but only for the hall.
Having done other gigs where we had (gasp!) a sound tech and even (gasp again!) floor/stage monitor speakers, I knew there was a solution to our problem – but commercially at cost – and we are just a band that plays for charity. However, I remembered that I had an ancient guitar amp I made with a couple of really nice speakers in it …
Here’s a sample of the trio in action:
The Greenbank Buskers played a wee gig today in St Mary’s Kirk, Haddington, as part of their summer concert series. We normally play for dancing at ceilidhs (for charity), but today had been asked to do a performance – so our bandleader Hazel had finally got me to play the nyckelharpa (I don’t really do reels on it yet). We formed a trio from the band – Fiona on fiddle, Tom on guitar and self on nyckelharpa, and gave them three Swedish tunes. It meant that I had both fiddle and nyckelharpa there; the nyckelharpa seemed to go down well with the audience. Continue reading