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Canadian fiddler set to thrill audiences at NAFCo 2006

Audiences at this year’s North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCo) will be treated to a performance by one of the world’s most unique fiddlers who will travel to Scotland from Canada to take part in next week’s festival.

 The performance by Lawrence ‘Teddy Boy’ Houle is one of the main highlights of this year’s diverse programme which includes a host of the world’s biggest names in the fiddle and dance scene.

Inspired by a unique culture and style of fiddling dating back to the early days of European settlement, when men from the Orkneys signed on to work for the mighty Hudson’s Bay Company of Adventurers, Lawrence’s style is influenced by the Métis (mixed aboriginal, French and Scottish) communities of Manitoba, Canada. Such a significance of the journey back to the roots of his music that Lawrence Houle’s visit is being documented by a Canadian film company.

Film-maker Mark Laycock of Zojomedia, explained: “His participation and travelling to the festival represents the passage of a lineage of traditional Métis music, a journey through lands and time. On its path within Lawrence’s family, the music has grown and evolved in a unique and interdependent fashion over many generations, but seeded in the Scottish land and her people.

“Through this festival, we are able to experience the divergence and repatriation of the fiddle music. Lawrence’s style is a reflection not only of himself as a Métis man, but also of a family and beyond that, a community.

“These interpretations have developed into a deep sense of culture. His renditions are synonymous with the conviction that culture is a living breathing thing not to be relegated to museums, as often is the case with western definitions and interpretations, but in the aboriginal world view, passionately vibrant.”

Combined with vigorous foot rhythms, the music is a unique expression – Scottish at base but delivered in the dialect of the French and Native peoples of Canada. In 1985, Lawrence and recording partner Anne Lederman created a four-album set of cds, which were hailed as ‘the most important collection of Métis music ever published’.

Dr Ian Russell, Director of the Elphinstone Institute, and co-organiser of NAFCo 2006, said: “Lawrence and Anne have performed together at a number of prominent Canadian festivals and we are honoured to have them join us.

“NAFCo is one of the world’s most exciting traditional music and dance festivals and is a landmark cultural event for the City of Aberdeen.”

The line-up for NAFCo 2006 is the most international to date with musicians and dancers participating from as far afield as Canada and the US, to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Lithuania, Ireland, and all over the UK. NAFCo is one of the world’s biggest events of its kind and takes place over five days from July 26 – 30 at the University of Aberdeen and other arts venues around the city and beyond.

This year, big international names in traditional music and the cream of local talent will be participating in a packed programme of concerts, ceilidhs, fiddle and dance workshops, and musical sessions. There will also be a series of talks, busking tours, and visits to local hospitals and businesses to bring the spirit of NAFCo all over the city and North-East.

NAFCo is organised by the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute, in partnership with SCaT (Scottish Culture and Traditions Association). NAFCo will link up with a number of local, national and international arts and cultural organisations and has received the support of the City of Aberdeen, Scottish Arts Council, MacRobert Trust and Scottish Enterprise Grampian. The arts venue the Lemon Tree will be the official NAFCo Festival Club where concerts, workshops and dance events will be held every day of the festival.

Tickets for NAFCo 2006 are now on sale and are available by contacting The Elphinstone Institute on +44 (0) 1224 272996 or email@ or visit:


Notes to Editors:

A digital photograph of Lawrence ‘Teddy Boy’ Houle is available if required and can be emailed to the press. Please contact Jenni Massie, Communications Officer, on 01224 272013, to arrange.

* The Elphinstone Institute is an initiative on the part of the University of Aberdeen to introduce the study of human traditions into its research portfolio, especially the traditions of the North and the North-East of Scotland.

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Friday 14th of July 2006

Ref: 2008Houle