Fiddle week staff - August 4-10, 2013
Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, Darol Anger has helped drive the evolution of the contemporary string band through his involvement with numerous trailblazing ensembles such as his Republic Of Strings, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the David Grisman Quintet, Montreux, the Duo and other ensembles. Today Darol can be heard on NPR’s Car Talk theme every week, along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. He has recorded and produced scores of important recordings since 1977, is a MacDowell and UCross Fellow, and has received numerous composers’ residencies and grants. He was the winner of Frets magazine’s Readers’ Poll for “Best Jazz Violinist” for four years running, is a featured soloist on dozens of recordings and motion picture soundtracks, and is an associate professor at the Berklee College of Music. He has released two popular instructional videos for Homespun Tapes, is a Contributing Editor for Strings magazine, and serves on the Editorial Board of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA).
Michael Doucet and his band, Beausoleil, have been the premier ambassadors of the Cajun sound for more than three decades, offering music that is usually melodic and harmonically interesting, in addition to its riveting rhythmic drive. He grew up on his father’s farm about five miles west of Lafayette, Louisiana, and by 1974, Doucet was playing in local hangouts, when a French promoter asked him and his band to come to France for two weeks to play at a folk festival. “It was the turning point of my life,” he says, when he realized the correlations between old French songs from the Middle Ages and modern Cajun music. In 1975, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to study the music styles of such living Cajun music legends as Dennis McGee. Most of his time has been spent with multiple Grammy-winners Beausoleil, and the group has toured throughout the states, Europe and the Middle East and recorded more than twenty albums. The band composed and recorded the sound track for the movie, Belizaire the Cajun, and the title song for the romantic thriller, The Big Easy. Doucet has collaborated with Richard Thompson, and the band has made several appearances on Garrison Keillor’s radio show A Prairie Home Companion, and at former President Jimmy Carter’s inaugural gala. Keith Richards asked Doucet to play on his solo release, Talk is Cheap, and in 1990, Beausoleil celebrated Mardi Gras with the Grateful Dead for 17,000 fans at Oakland Coliseum. In 2005, Doucet was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Matt Glaser is the Artistic Director of the American Roots Music Program at the Berklee College of Music, and was formerly chairman of the String Department at Berklee for 28 years. Matt is the first and only recipient of the Stephane Grappelli Memorial Award, “In recognition of his significant contribution to the teaching and playing of improvised string music in America”, presented by the American String Teachers Association with the National School Orchestra Association. He has performed widely in a variety of idioms ranging from jazz to bluegrass to early music, and has published four books on contemporary violin styles including Jazz Violin, co-authored with the late Stephane Grappelli. He has written for many newspapers and music magazines including the Village Voice, Strings, and Acoustic Musician. He has performed with Stephane Grappelli, David Grisman, Lee Konitz, Bob Dylan, J. Geils, Leo Kottke, Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Kenny Werner, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, the Waverly Consort, Fiddle Fever, and most recently with Wayfaring Strangers – a band that fuses jazz and folk music. The Boston Herald called him “possibly America’s most versatile violinist.” Matt served on the board of advisors of the Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary, and appears in the film as a talking head. Matt serves on the board of directors of Chamber Music America and the American String Teachers Association. He has performed at the White House, and at Carnegie Hall with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor as part of Stephane Grappelli’s 80th birthday concert. He has taught at the Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp, University of Miami, American String Teacher Association conferences, International Association of Jazz Educator conferences, and many others.
One of the most respected old-time fiddlers of his generation, Bruce Molsky plays southern roots and blues music on fiddle, banjo, guitar, and song with a great depth of spirit. Known for his collaborations with musicians of other cultures, his wide-angled approach to traditional folk music has influenced a generation of players and listeners. Bruce is a member of Andy Irvine & Dónal Lunny’s acclaimed Mozaik, and he tours frequently with Aly Bain & Ale Möller. His band, Fiddlers 4, with Darol Anger & Michael Doucet was a Grammy Nominee. He is also a faculty member at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and frequent instructor at colleges and camps in the US and Europe. Bruce’s solo concerts and many CDs have become staples for fans of American and world music everywhere.
Fifty years after his first Grand Ole Opry appearance, legendary fiddler, Bobby Hicks still inspires awe in his audiences. Born in Newton, NC, Hicks took up the fiddle at age nine and was self- taught. His early career paired him with other country music and bluegrass greats such as Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, the Judy Lynn Show in the 60’s, and the Bluegrass Album Band which included Tony Rice, J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Todd Phillips, Jerry Douglas and Vassar Clements. In 1981, Hicks began a 21-year association with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, winning 3 CMA awards as Instrumental Group of the Year, 3 Music City News awards as Bluegrass Act of the Year and 5 awards from the Academy of Country Music as the Touring Band of the Year. In addition, Hicks won Grammys with the band for Bluegrass Rules!, Ancient Times, Soldiers of the Cross and Live From Charleston Music Hall. Hicks has taught fiddle at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, at Mark O’Connor/Berklee College of Music Summer String Program, and Harvard University’s Bluegrass Symposium. He has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, The North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame, and the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, and was featured in a documentary of the first generation bluegrass players for the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Creativity educator, former museum curator, visual artist, actor/storyteller, a coast to coast music festival emcee and recipient of the 2009 Folk Alliance Far-West Performer of the Year, Joe has made music with many folks ranging from jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli to Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, and from The Persuasions to The Horseflies. Always looking for the next expression and object to make music with, he is a musical madman with anything that has strings attached; violin, mandolin, tin can, bedpan, cookie tin, tenor guitar/banjo, mouth bow, canjoe, cuatro, berimbau, balalaika, boot ‘n lace and double-necked whatever. Joe has created music and sound effects for commercials, soundtracks, computer games and contributions to several Grammy-nominated projects. He performed at Carnegie Hall with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor as part of Stephane Grappelli’s 80th birthday concert. Joe has presented at numerous schools, universities and the American String Teacher’s Association, is Co-Director of The Wintergrass Youth Academy, Seattle, WA and is the Executive Director of RiverTunes Roots Music & Creativity Camp in California. No matter who he’s connecting with; a community workshop in Costa Rica, a university lecture demonstration in Washington, or on stage in front of thousands of school kids in Scotland, he’s at home and loving every minute. ‘Everything Joe touches turns to music,’ says mandolinist David Grisman, who Joe played with for almost 17 years.
Emerald Rae grew up in a musical family where country music and rock ‘n roll were prevalent and has spent the last 20 years studying all facets of folk music. She is a U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music well-known in the Boston area for her versatility, her dynamic power-house playing style and her unique perspective. Emerald is also a talented step-dancer and an active member of the Boston Cape Breton music scene, and she has danced for such fiddling giants as Natalie MacMaster and Alasdair Fraser. In 2013, she will release her newest solo album entitled, If Only I Could Fly, featuring her talents on guitar, fiddle and crwth (the ancient welsh fiddle, pronounced “krooth”).
David Kaynor is a multi-instrumentalist and dance caller who has been featured at numerous music and dance camps, including thirty years on staff at Ashokan’s Northern Week, sixteen years at Contra Dance Musicians’ Week at the John C. Campbell Folk School, plus Fiddle Tunes, Lady of the Lake, Pinewoods, Mainewoods Dance Camp, Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp and many others. He’s also performed at numerous festivals throughout the country and can be heard on the old Front Hall Records’ The Fourgone Conclusions: Contra Dance Music from Western Massachusetts, The Montague Processional with Three Good Reasons, High Clouds with the Greenfield Dance Band, Midnight in Montague with Betsy Branch, and other recordings.
Michael Ismerio began playing old-time music in 1997 in Portland, Oregon, a tiny music scene at the time that would evolve into one of the most active in the country. He was a member of two prominent west coast stringbands, The Dickel Brothers, and The Government Issue Orchestra, and founder of the Portland Old-Time Music Gathering. Since 2000, he has made yearly pilgrimages to the southern Appalachian mountains to visit and learn from older fiddlers such as Clyde Davenport, Joe Thompson, and Charlie Acuff. In 2010, he moved to Indiana to study with Brad Leftwich, a master fiddler and teacher who greatly informed his teaching and led Michael to develop a unique bowing-centric teaching style that is resonating with many new players. Michael has taught, performed, and called square dances all over the country including four years at The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Port Townsend, Wa, The Nimble Fingers Bluegrass and Old Time Workshop, Sorrento, BC, The Appalachian Stringband Festival, Clifftop, WV, and the Dare To Be Square dance callers gatherings. He has performed internationally in Mexico, Canada, The Netherlands, Ireland, and China.
Born into an artistic family in Western North Carolina, Jack Devereux was drawn to music at a young age. Inspired by the old-time fiddling, singing and guitar playing of his grandfather, Arthur Jenkins, and summertime visits to his father’s family in Ireland, Jack immersed himself deeply in the musical traditions of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and the British Isles. Beginning with the fiddle, later adding the uilleann pipes and guitar, Jack quickly established himself as one of the premier young players on the traditional music scene. He has appeared on stage with such luminaries as Liz Carroll, Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger, Tommy Peoples, and the band Altan. Jack is featured on the latest recording by Irish guitar virtuoso John Doyle, Shadow and Light, alongside master players Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien and others. Jack is currently in his last semester at The Berklee College of Music, where he is the recipient of the Fletcher Bright Scholarship for Strings. At Berklee, Jack had the opportunity to study with players such as John McGann, Darol Anger, Matt Glaser and Jamey Haddad, and worked closely with Matt Glaser as the student work-study for the American Roots Music Department, helping to develop curriculum for this newly instituted program.
As a bassist in both jazz and traditional music, Kevin Kehrberg has toured the United States, Canada, and Japan. He has performed with Jean Ritchie, Curly Seckler, Lee Sexton, Art Stamper, Slide Hampton, and Roger Humphries, and his album credits include recordings by the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra, David Long, Rayna Gellert, Chris Sharp, and the Wildwood Valley Boys. He is also active as a rhythm guitarist, helping the Red State Ramblers to the finals at the 2008 Appalachian String Band Music Festival Band Contest in Clifftop, West Virginia. Kevin studies and performs music from other cultures as well, particularly those of Indonesia, China, and Thailand. He previously served as an adjunct bass instructor in the Music and Jazz Studies programs at Transylvania University and Morehead State University. Currently, he is a member of the music faculty at Warren Wilson College, where he directs the college chorale and teaches courses and ensembles in American music and world music in addition to applied bass and guitar.
One of New England’s premiere instrumentalists, David Surette is highly regarded for his work on the guitar (both flatpicked and fingerstyle), mandolin and bouzouki in a wide variety of settings. As a soloist, he is nationally-known as a top player of Celtic fingerstyle guitar, yet his diverse repertoire also includes original compositions, blues and ragtime, traditional American roots music, and folk music from a variety of traditions, all played with finesse, taste, and virtuosity. He has performed as a duo with his wife, singer Susie Burke, for 20 years, recording several albums and building a reputation as one of New England’s top folk duos. Surette was a founding member of the Airdance band with fiddler Rodney Miller, with whom he recorded four albums and toured nationally. He has also released five solo recordings – his most recent is Return to Kemper, a collection of original and traditional solo guitar pieces from 1990-2011. David is an accomplished and gifted teacher who has taught at workshops and camps throughout the U.S., and the U.K. He is folk music coordinator at the Concord (NH) Community Music School, and artistic director of their March Mandolin Festival. He has authored a book of Celtic fingerstyle guitar arrangements for Mel Bay Publications, and is a regular contributor to Acoustic Guitar and Strings magazines.
Juan Rivera was born in Aguililla, Michoacán, Mexico. Both he and his brother developed an interest in music early on and went to Mexico City to pursue their studies at Casa de la Música Mexicana, where Juan later became an instructor. Juan studied the “huasteco” style of violin with Rolando “Quecho” Hernández and soon began recording with the group Son del Pueblo including two European tours with the dance troupe Compañia Nacional de Danza Folclórica de México. In 2001, Juan relocated to Chicago where he played with mariachi and son jarocho groups for several years. After a year-long stint in California, where Juan had an opportunity to study violin with Salvador “Don Chavita” Torres (a fiddler with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán for nineteen years), Juan returned to Chicago in the spring of 2005 to join Sones de México Ensemble and to continue his formal musical training at Wright College. Today, when he is not performing with the Ensemble, he continues to sit in with area mariachi bands and teaches private music lessons.
Since hearing the Holy Modal Rounders at the age of 15, Andrea Hoag has been drawn to fiddle traditions where the serrated coincides with the sublime. This fascination led her inevitably to Sweden, where she studied with elder fiddlers Päkkos Gustaf, Påhl Olle, and Nils Agenmark on a fellowship from the Skandia Music Foundation. Andrea was the first non-Swede to graduate from Malungs Folkhögskola’s Folk Violin Pedagogy program, in 1984. Since then she has performed and recorded in numerous combinations across the U.S. and overseas. Career highlights include a Grammy nomination for her CD, Hambo in the Snow with Loretta Kelley and Charlie Pilzer; a collaborative recording with Jacqueline Schwab, Bruce Molsky, and others; leading Seattle’s Skandia Spelmanslag on a performance tour of Sweden; and the daily privilege of playing music for a living. A dedicated teacher, Andrea has been a guest instructor for the American String Teachers Association and the Berklee College of Music. Her music has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Performance Today, at the Kennedy Center and Library of Congress, and at numerous venues around the U.S. and in Sweden.
Since first realizing at age 16 that people could make music themselves, Tony Marcus has pursued that goal with joy and abandon. He has been a professional musician for forty years, playing a number of stringed instruments, but with a particular emphasis on swing guitar styles. He has played bluegrass with mandolin legend Frank Wakefield, jug band music and blues with Geoff Muldaur, string swing with Cats & Jammers, big band jazz with the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, weird old Hawaiian and hokum with R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders and honky-tonk country with Rose Maddox He’s performed from Japan to Ireland, and from Alaska to Florida. He has written articles for Acoustic Guitar magazine and has taught at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, International Guitar Seminars, California Coast Music Camp and Augusta Heritage Workshops.
Nathaniel Smith began studying cello at five years of age. He is a two-time winner of the alternative instrument category at the Southern Regional Fiddler’s Contest and won first place in the American String Teacher Association Alternative Music Competition in 2005, which included a winner’s performance at the Nugget Casino in Reno, Nevada where he received the award for Best Musicianship and also where he first met Mark O’Connor. That led to a national tour with Mark O’Connor’s American String Celebration. He has appeared on radio’s From the Top and A Prairie Home Companion, and TV’s Austin City Limits and performed with many great players including Darol Anger, Andy Leftwich, Cody Kilby, Bruce Molsky, Michael Doucet, Christian Howes, Chris Thile, Gilles Apap, David Grier, Mike Marshall and Matt Flinner. Nathaniel appears on the Fiddle Masters Vol. 2 DVD, and has two CDs of his own. He has taught at the Clarridge Camp in Big Sur, CA, Christian Howes Creative Workshop, the Leahy Music Camp and Mark O’Connor’s String Camp at the Berklee School of Music. Nathaniel performs regularly with Natalie MacMaster, Jeremy Kittel, and Sarah Jarosz.
Liz Knowles is one of the few classical violinists to become adept at playing in an authentic Irish fiddling style. Her career as a fiddler has included a solo spot on the soundtrack of Neil Jordan’s film, Michael Collins, a two-year run as the soloist with the international touring company of Riverdance, performing as a member of the String Sisters, as a guest soloist with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, and in the Broadway show, The Pirate Queen. She has performed and/or recorded with Tim O’Brien, Don Henley, Rachel Barton Pine, Marcus Roberts, and Paula Cole. For the last three years, she has been the musical director and fiddler for the Irish music and dance show, Celtic Legends, which has toured extensively in Europe, South America and China.
Fiddle Week Coordinator Julia Weatherford has been a full time artist/musician for more than 25 years. She played cello for 13 seasons with the Asheville Symphony, while moonlighting as a square dance fiddler. Julia has toured internationally as a dance musician, and performs regionally with the Akira Satake Band, Far Horizons, and Fly by Night. Among her performance and teaching venues are the LEAF festival, the Black Mountain Festival, Berea Country Dance School, Pinewoods, Folkmoot International, and the Biltmore Estate. Julia teaches both cello and fiddle and has worked extensively as a cellist on recordings by various artists. She was the Artistic Director of the legendary Black Mountain Festival for many years, and as a textile artist, Julia is a long-time member of the Southern Highlands Crafts Guild. Julia has also been the Swannanoa Gathering Logistics Coordinator since 2005.