UK’s biggest fiddle event announces full line-up

UK’s biggest fiddle event announces full line-up

A host of the world's biggest names in the fiddle and dance scene will be making their way to Aberdeen this summer as the programme for the second North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCo) 2006 is launched today (Monday, May 1).

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 four 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.

Organised by the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute, in partnership with SCaT (Scottish Culture and Traditions Association), NAFCo 2006 is set to attract upwards of 4,000 visitors to the region and festival organisers are hoping this summer’s event will break all box office records.

Dr Ian Russell, Director of the Elphinstone Institute, and co-organiser of NAFCo 2006, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be hosting this unique festival in Aberdeen which is the ideal setting for a celebration of this kind.

“We have secured some of the world’s biggest names in fiddle and dance in the northern hemisphere and the city will be buzzing with musical influences from all over the world. The North-East of Scotland is renowned for its fiddle tradition and we will be sharing our own distinctive and captivating sound with international performers and audiences.

“The second NAFCo is the best festival yet with some big international names alongside local talent. There’s a truly jam-packed programme, catering for all tastes, and the talent is higher than ever – with a host of the finest fiddlers in the world today, including Alasdair Fraser, Natalie Haas, Jerry Holland, Liz Doherty, Fromseier Rose and Annbjørg Lien.”

NAFCo 2006 Highlights

A talented line-up of traditional musicians participating at the festival includes:

· Alasdair Fraser – a master Scottish fiddler whose dynamic fiddling and engaging stage presence have created international demand for his solo appearances and concerts. Alasdair has been a major force behind the resurgence of traditional Scottish fiddling in the US and his recent critically-acclaimed album, Fire & Grace, with cellist Natalie Haas, received the Scots Trad Album of the Year Award in 2004.

· Natalie Haas – vibrant young Julliard-trained cellist who has a worldwide following.

· Jerry Holland – outstanding Canadian fiddler and recording artist. Many of his own tunes are played in traditional repertoires around the world.

· Liz Doherty – traditional Irish fiddler, renowned teacher and academic.

· Fromseier Rose – one of the biggest traditional groups in Denmark whose album, Contradiction, won international acclaim.

· Annbjørg Lien is the star of fiddle music in Norway. Described by Pop Matters magazine as “moody, sometimes dark, folk music, punctuated by beautiful musicianship and artistry” and as “hauntingly absorbing” by The Washington Post, Lien is a truly world-class musician.

And many more highlights from other countries including Lithuania, Sweden, England, and Wales. The Scottish line up includes: Iain Fraser, Aonghas Grant, Christine Hanson, Carmen Higgins, Douglas Lawrence, Catriona Macdonald, Pete McCallum, Lauren McColl, Mats Melin, Sara Reith, Karen Steven and Lori Watson.

One of the main highlights of this year’s Festival will be a performance by Lawrence ‘Teddy Boy’ Houle, from Canada. 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. 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 Russell 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.”

Other confirmed artists are available by visiting the NAFCo website at: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/nafco/

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.

Dr Russell added: “NAFCo will be full of richness and diversity and we are encouraging anyone with an interest in music, or dancing, to come along to our events in July to sample this wonderful multi-cultural event.”

In conjunction with the festival, a conference will be held on the theme “Connecting Cultures” during which enthusiasts and researchers will explore the role of fiddling, fiddlers and associated dance in social, ethnological and musical contexts in the past, present and future. Several keynote speakers at the conference are world-renowned writers and eminent scholars in the field of fiddle music and dance, to be announced at a later date.

Tickets for NAFCo 2006 are now on sale and are available by contacting The Elphinstone Institute on +44 (0) 1224 272996 or email@ NAFCo@abdn.ac.uk or visit: www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/nafco/

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