Master Nova Scotia fiddler and pianist Troy MacGillivray tells Neil about breaking the keyboard during is first gig when he was less than 10 years old, the similarities between Cape Breton Island and the island of Fanø in Denmark, and how he finds his own personal expression in the old traditional tunes.
Keith Murphy shares with Neil how he came from Newfoundland to Vermont while crafting a unique sound that has been a huge influence on New England traditional music. They chat about Keith's work with the iconic band Nightingale, his latest work as a solo artist and how he first got involved in a larger traditional music community while studying in Toronto.
Genre-defying fiddle legend Darol Anger opens up about his experiences creating a new genre of music in David Grisman's quintet and how that has affected his creative output since. He and Neil also get deep into the present moment with some duo improvisations around modern Bluegrass and Irish tunes.
Shannon Heaton, one of Boston's top Irish flute players and singers, chats with Neil about first learning Irish music from a Belgian in Nigeria, crafting a solo show and exploring new ways to present traditional music through mediums like classical composition and podcasting.
Keep an eye on her website shannonheatonmusic.com for her latest projects, including a forthcoming podcast Irish Music Stories on the role of traditional music in shaping community and bringing people together.
One of the top Klezmer clarinetists in the world, Christian Dawid talks with Neil about discovering Yiddish music in postwar Germany, the vibrant Jewish music scene in Berlin and his experiences as a non-Jewish German in the Klezmer world. Christian's website is www.christiandawid.com
For reference, some of the musicians, bands and personalities Christian mentions in this conversation:
- Dave Tarras
- Brave Old World
- Daniel Kahn
- Alan Bern
- The Klezmatics
- The Klezmer Conservatory Band
- Michael Wex
- Henry Sapoznik
Jens Linell, percussionist with Swedish/Norwegian band Sver (http://www.sverfolk.com/en), sat down with Neil at the Sierra Fiddle Camp this summer. Starting with his discovery of the complexities of Swedish traditional music as a music student, Jens talks about developing his unique style of tambourine playing, performing solo concerts and how differently his creativity works depending on what instrument he's playing.
Trailblazing cellist Natalie Haas talks about her creative process with fiddler Alasdair Fraser, how she finds musical inspiration in collaboration across the globe, and how her sister's classical violin teacher mistakenly thought that sending the girls to Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp would keep them on the straight and narrow! All this, plus tunes from Scotland and Galicia on this week's episode of TradCafe.
Neil sat down with legendary Cape Breton fiddler Wendy MacIsaac to chat about growing up on Cape Breton, working with Mary Jane Lamond, her years with Cape Breton supergroup Beolach and passing the traditions on to the next generation.
Singer, fiddler, guitarist and songwriter Isa Burke talks with Neil about her trio Lula Wiles, growing up in a musical family in Maine and finding inspiration for each new song in the most unexpected places. This episode also features a song of Isa's off the new Lula Wiles album (https://lulawiles.bandcamp.com/) and an exclusive look behind the scenes at the writing, re-writing and recording process of that track.
The second episode of TradCafe features visionary percussive dancer Nic Gareiss. Nic talks with Neil about finding new ways to express himself in the ways different cultures approach dance and shares the unlikely origin story of his experimental trad band This is How We Fly.
Cellist Mike Block joins Neil for the first episode of Trad Cafe. Known for his pioneering String Camp in Vero Beach, FL and his work with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, Mike talks about how taking on new and diverse challenges—like answering Craigslist ads for rock bands in NYC and performing with Mark O'Connor—has transformed him into the multifaceted musician he is today.