The Widdershins

Archive for March 4th, 2012

Yes, I’m aware that guitars have strings.

Banjos and mandolins have strings as well.  Let’s talk about violins, cellos, harps or whatever else you can think of in the “strings attached” category.  There’s a tremendous amount of folk, country, and orchestral music that features stringed instruments.  As usual, I hope that my limited knowledge of classical music will be supplemented by DYB and HT.

My tastes are a wee bit different.  Growing up in Appalachia, and spending times at Scottish and Irish events have given me a deep appreciation for fiddlers of all stripes.  It took some real doing to pare this down, but here goes:

(1) Bonnie Rideout:  Bonnie is an American woman who has blown out many an actual Scot at fiddling competitions.  She is tiny – at just over five feet tall, I tower over her.  I’ve had the pleasure of attending many of her concerts, and I would cancel most plans to hear her again. This youtube showcases a number of styles.

(2) Natalie MacMaster:  Natalie is from Nova Scotia, and plays Cape Breton style music.  I have actually seen her step dance while playing lightening-fast, and not miss a note.  Her Uncle Buddy is also a renown Cape Breton fiddler.  Listen to the battle between the pipes and the fiddle in the opening of this song:

(3) Liz Carroll:  Liz is a first generation American with Irish-born parents, and is accompanied here by Irish rhythm guitarist John Doyle from Sligo.   There are several tunes, and they become more amazing as they go on.

(4) Mike Bryant:  Mike is from Tennessee, and is one of the purest Appalachian fiddlers that I have ever heard.  He is able to pull the full range of emotions from his instrument.

(5) Yo-Yo Ma:  Even to my untutored ears, his guy is a fabulous cellist.  I chose this youtube with Allison Krause, as she is also a fantastic Appalachian fiddler, and I would feel guilty were I to leave her out completely.

Bring out your GOATS!  We deserve to relax and enjoy after anther week of war, famine, pestilence, death, and stupidity.

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