LFW is working with other Arts groups

Item Posted: Monday 27th June, 2005


Local groups from Cairndow, Ardrishaig and Lochgoilhead have worked together to attract top US fiddler Bruce Molsky to the area for a couple of concerts in September.

Although Bruce Molsky has played on most of the world wide big stages, with some of the greatest luminaries of the folk and traditional scene, this year will be a great opportunity for more of us to see him as a soloist. As well as appearing in the major urban areas, he will also be touring village hall venues Scotland in September. These venues are particularly appropriate for traditional music and Molsky’s style

Bruce Molsky holds a stage as few roots musicians can: with skill, a varied and deep repertoire, a reverence for the past, a healthy curiosity about music outside old-time, and a relaxed, conversational wit that draws listeners in as if they were sitting in his living room, so the intimate atmosphere of the club ad small hall is ideal.

One of the most influential fiddlers of his generation, Bruce Molsky is also a remarkable guitarist, banjoist and singer. His art is weaving these strands into a beautifully compelling and individual style of American and world traditional music. His high-spirited performance melds the archaic mountain sounds of Appalachia, the power of blues and the rhythmic intricacies of traditional African music. His cds are mega sellers and his ‘Poor Man’s Troubles’ album won America’s Association for Independent Music award in the Traditional Folk section.

In the States he has been dubbed "The Rembrandt of Appalachian Fiddling." Bruce insists that music must be fun and engaging, and seeing him in concert proves how powerful the musical message can really be. As well known for his teaching and mentoring as his performing, Bruce teaches his own intensive instrument workshop program all over the United States. He is an instructor at Augusta Heritage Center, Boston College's Gaelic Roots and Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle Camp.

In the U.K. many of us will know him best through his award winning, eclectic CDs, and his work Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny of Planxty, Tony McManus, and at Celtic Connections in Glasgow.

Last year at Blazin’ in Beauly near Inverness, Bruce spread the gospel of old-time music in concerts, and taught groups how to use the fiddle as a rhythm instrument, and to sing and play the fiddle simultaneously. He says he is into Metis music these days – the mixture of first-nation people in the plains of Canada and Scots and other European Hudson Bay immigrants.

Part of the provenance of the music Molsky performs, old-time, is Irish. It originally stemmed from melodies and balladry brought over by Ulster Irish and Scottish immigrants to Appalachia that mingled with rhythms found in African America, fiddle bowing, five-string banjo playing, and body percussion ( forms of torso slapping), all further enriched by hymns and other sacred music sung in the mountains.

"I think that old-time Southern Appalachian music has more in common with traditional Irish music than, say, bluegrass," Molsky said. "Old-time and Irish are much closer in style and spirit than old-time and bluegrass, which takes in elements of jazz and pop. There are lots of tunes we have in common. The Irish 'Pigtown Fling' is old-time's 'Old Dad,' and there are many other examples of crossover tunes, like 'Kitty's Wedding' and 'Boys of the Blue Hill.' It's easier for me to sit in with a musician playing Irish jigs and reels than a musician playing a bluegrass breakdown."

This all inclusive approach is not surprising from a player and singer brought up on Beatlemania, and whose early hero was Jimmy Hendrix. Categorising Bruce as ‘Bluegrass’,‘Old Time’ or even ‘Appalachian’ is really to miss the point. He probably summarizes it best himself. ‘We all play music for the same reasons, it is just the language that is different. When I play nothing else exists. I think all musicians live for the moment when it all just comes up off the ground. You can’t explain it, you can only feel it.’

In concert, Bruce’s music transports his audience on an acoustic journey of fiddle,
guitar and banjo, travelling from the southern mountains of the United States
to Ireland, west Africa and points along the way. His solo cd “Poor Man’s
Troubles” won the Indy Award for Best Traditional Music Recording of 2001.
His group “Fiddlers 4” was a 2003 Grammy nominee. Bruce also plays with the
Celtic-inspired super band “Mozaik” ( with Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny et al.) and the
brand new band Jawbone (Tony Trischka and Paula Bradley.)

This is your chance to discover traditional music presented by one of America’s folk virtuosos, thanks to the efforts of local voluntary groups Mid Argyll Arts, Dalriada Fiddle and Accordion Club, Cairndow Arts Promotions and Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop. Joining them for the evening’s entertainment will not only be a great musical experience for you, whatever your taste in music, but will give encouragement to groups who are doing their utmost to improve the quality of local life.

Bruce Molsky will be appearing at Ardrishaig Halls on Saturday 17th September at 8.00 p.m. and Cairndow Village Hall for an afternoon concert on Sunday 18th September at 3.00 p.m.This leg of his tour has been supported by ScottishPower renewablesr For more details see www.fiddleworkshop.co.uk

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