Episode 30: Allan Henderson

One of the foremost exponents of Scottish Highland music and Gaelic culture around today, Allan Henderson sat down with Neil while on a solo tour of storytelling and fiddling in the Northeast US. Listen in as they discuss the current state of Gaelic, Allan's years as a member of Blazin' Fiddles and how much of an invasive species the piano accordion has been in that part of the world. This episode was sponsored by the Monadnock Folklore Society. www.monadnockfolk.org   

[Music in this episode: MacDonald of the Isles March to the Battle of Harlaw (trad) / Pipe Major Sam Scott (Peter R MacLeod)  and  Doctor James Donaldson (Ronnie Cooper) / The Dashing White Eejit (Allan Henderson)]

Some pertinent references to follow up from the interview:

Blazin' Fiddles: https://www.blazinfiddles.com

The Knoydart Peninsula: 5 min video about it from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/video/2013/jun/11/britain-wilderness-scotland-knoydart-peninsula-video

Other Bands/Musicians: Boys of the Lough,  Angus Grant Sr,  Aly Bain

Episode 29: Emerald Rae

Boston based fiddler, stepdancer, singer and tune/songwriter Emerald Rae connects with Neil over their common experiences growing up around the Boston Scottish/Cape Breton scene of the 1990's and early 2000's and they delve into what it really means to become part of a culture--does one actually need to have the heritage in order to have a place in the community?

[Music in this episode: Opening: Red Rocking Chair (song) with traditional reels Bridge of Bamore and Arrochar Bridge.  Closing jigs: Garcon Volage, Gabriel's Jig, Spin-N-Glo (Frank Ferrel)]

Emerald's Website: www.emeraldrae.com

Social Media:  www.facebook.com/emeraldraetwitter.com/emeraldraewww.instagram.com/esmeraldaraesoundcloud.com/emerald

Episode 28: Hanneke Cassel

A driving force of the Scottish fiddling scene in the United States, Hanneke Cassel shares her story from discovering fiddle music through local competitions to travelling the world performing and teaching her own iconic compositions, which fuse Scottish and Cape Breton traditions with a sound all her own. She and Neil also chat about her tune writing process and what influence her travels to China and Africa have had on her music. 

Hanneke's Website: www.hannekecassel.com 

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/hannekecassel 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/hannekejewel 

Twitter: twitter.com/hannekecassel

Hanneke's top 3 fiddlers: Alasdair Fraser, Natalie MacMaster, Buddy MacMaster

Top 3 Albums: Fit as a Fiddle (Natalie MacMaster), The Road North (Alasdair Fraser), Skyedance (Alasdair Fraser)

Other musicians to check out: Rushad Eggleston, Casey Driessen

Episode 27: Lamine Touré

One of the top traditional musicians of Senegal, Lamine Touré shares his depth of knowledge as a member of a griot family: a 1000+ year line of tradition bearers. Lamine sits down with Neil to discuss how he ended up living and teaching in the Boston area while travelling the world sharing his sabar drumming, singing and dancing. 

[music in the episode: Jang (meaning "study") which speaks about the importance of studying hard in order to have a good life; and Donald Willie and his Dog, which is a Scottish pipe jig from South Uist, written by D. Morrison]

Lamine's website: laminetoure.com

Lamine's email: laminesabar [at] yahoo.com

Soulsha (Afro-Celtic Funk band which Lamine and Neil play in): www.soulshamusic.com


Episode 26: Hadith Bani-Adam

Somali peace and de-radicalization activist Hadith Bani-Adam shares his relationship with Somali traditional music and his mission to promote inclusivity, understanding and positive life choices in his community. He discusses the role Somali traditional music plays in his own original songs, his style of Oud playing and some similarities between the music of Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia and the music of Western Europe. 

Hadith's Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/hadith-bani-adam

Some of the other Somali musicians Hadith mentions:

Omar Dhuule (traditional): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WokYrdTr2nU

Aar Maanta (contemporary): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vUyWJjnEBI

Episode 25: Alasdair Fraser

Master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser kicks off Season 3 of TradCafe, sitting down with Neil for a wide ranging conversation about the variety of approaches he has taken over the years to playing traditional Scottish music and the new horizons he is looking towards, exploring new music styles and traditions. 



Information on the film "The Groove is Not Trivial" about Alasdair's life and the camps he has started: thegroovemovie.com

[Music in this episode: "The Farewell" by William Marshall, "The Cuillin of Rhum" (a traditional Gaelic air), and an improvised tune named "The Maid on the Spot" afterwards]

Episode 24: Kinan Idnawi


Season 2 finale episode features Neil's conversation with Syrian Oud player Kinan Idnawi. Kinan (also spelled Kenan) talks about growing up in a musical family in Syria, pursuing the Oud at conservatory in Damascus and travelling around the world exploring the ways in which the Oud can fit in to so many different traditions and genres and building bridges between people through music.

Click here for Kinan's album "Aura" on YouTube

Click here for Kinan's album "Aura" on CD Baby

Click here for a video of a complete concert with Kinan's band

[Music in this episode: Taheia from Kinan's album Aura, and Glory in the Meeting House, traditional Old-Time fiddle tune]

Episode 23: Mariel Vandersteel

Fiddler and graphic designer Mariel Vandersteel joins Neil for episode 23 to share her artistic journey so far, from quitting the violin in 8th grade to discovering Irish and Scottish fiddle music, touring internationally with several bands, studying Hardanger Fiddle in Norway and her latest endeavor: going back to school for a new degree while practicing her graphic design work and still somehow making room for music. 

Mariel's website: www.marielvandersteel.com

Mariel's instagram: www.instagram.com/marielvandersteel

[Music: Return From Helsinki, by Ian Stephenson and another traditional Swedish tune]

Click here for images of Hardanger Fiddles

Episode 22: Stash Wyslouch

Guitarist and singer Stash Wyslouch is this week's featured guest. He talks with Neil about his eclectic musical journey, from the Colombian music his mother played for him growing up, to his love of heavy metal, to diving deep into old-school bluegrass and old-time recordings and finally ending up with an amalgamation of all of it in his own band. Along the way, Stash and Neil find common ground in their drive to create music that comes from their various disparate influences and Stash explains how he could only make the music he wanted to after he learned not to care so much. 


Music on this episode:  Los Sabanales, (by Los Corraleros de Majagual), and Will You Be Lovin Another Man, (by Bill Monroe)

Episode 21: Owen Marshall

One of New England's finest guitarists, Owen Marshall joins Neil to talk about teaching himself Irish guitar while being homeschooled in Vermont, and all the places music has taken him, from local community contradances to jamming with Tuvan throat singers at a festival in Belgium. 

The Press Gang: www.pressgangmusic.com

Riptide: riptidedanceband.com

Tunes played in episode: Black Pat's, by Tommy Peoples (pre-interview) and Union Street Session, by Paul Cranford (post-interview)

Episode 20: Greg Boardman

Greg Boardman is the founder of Maine Fiddle Camp and a captivating performer and teacher whose influence on traditional music in Maine cannot be overstated. For the twentieth episode of TradCafe, Neil and Greg met in the Trinity Church of Lewiston, Maine to talk about the search for personal identity through music, how musicians are uniquely suited to build community and Greg's cross-cultural explorations with the Somali immigrant community in town.

To hear more of Greg's music go to: https://soundcloud.com/bowandstring

The East Benton Fiddler's Convention: http://www.eastbentonfiddlers.com/

Maine Fiddle Camp: http://www.mainefiddlecamp.org/

Episode 19: Yann Falquet

Quebecois guitarist and singer Yann Falquet (of the band Genticorum) joins Neil for this week's episode. In this wide ranging conversation they talk about Yann's discovery of the guitar through Rush, the similarities between Irish and Quebecois traditions, the best dumpling houses in Montreal and more! 

Yann's band Genticorum: www.genticorum.com

Yann's duo with Pascal Gemme: www.falquetgemme.com 

Other resources:  The band Yann talks about kicking off his interest in traditional music is La Bottine Souriante 

Episode 18: Jeremiah McLane

A major force in the New England music scene, Jeremiah McLane has had a significant influence on sound of contemporary folk music in the Northeast, from contradance bands to performing artists. In this episode, Neil and Jeremiah find a lot of common ground in their experiences as pianists who come to folk music with a Jazz informed perspective. Jeremiah reflects what drew him to focus on the accordion and how his creative goals have continued to shift with each new project. 

Jeremiah's Website: JeremiahMcLane.com

Jeremiah's duo with Tim Cummings: WheezerandSqueezer.com

(Music credits: Sound of Sleat [Scottish pipe tune, played before conversation] and La Violette de Méne [Breton dance tune, played after conversation])

Episode 17: Maeve Gilchrist

In this episode Neil is meets up with harp visionary Maeve Gilchrist to look back at what has already been an incredibly varied musical career. Maeve takes us behind the scenes in her artistic development as she moved from Scotland to the United States and continues to explore new territory for an instrument that should not be underestimated: the Celtic harp, or Clàrsach. 

Maeve's website: www.MaeveGilchristMusic.com

Maeve's duo with Nic Gareiss: www.maevegilchristandnicgareiss.com

Episode 16: Pete Rushefsky

Pete Rushefsky is a leading revivalist of the tsimbl--a Yiddish instrument in the same family as the hammered dulcimer. Neil visited Pete at his apartment in Brooklyn to learn about a part of the Klezmer music tradition that was nearly lost to the world. Pete shares the his approach to European Klezmer traditions--simultaneously historic/academic and freshly creative--and reflects on a musical journey that began with a blues band at a Bar Mitzvah in Rochester, NY and has led most recently to performances with Itzhak Perlman and the most iconic musicians of the Klezmer revival.

The Center for Traditional Music and Dance: http://www.ctmd.org

Yiddish Song of the Week: https://yiddishsong.wordpress.com

Pete's album The Ternovka Sessions with Jake Shulman-Ment, his creation of "Concert Form Klezmer": https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/peterushefskyjakeshulman

Episode 15: Lissa Schneckenburger

Neil and Lissa sit down in Brattleboro, VT for a conversation about Lissa's upbringing in the rich tapestry of New England fiddle music in Maine. Along the way they talk about her evolution from a student of any fiddle music she could find to an established tradition bearer with her own recognizable sound and Lissa discusses the challenges of balancing music business with creativity and family life

For more about Lissa and her band Low Lily, check out these websites:



Episode 13: Moira Smiley

Moira Smiley is the lead singer of Solas, mastermind behind VOCO and a member of many other stand out groups including The Lomax Project and tUnE-yArDs. In this, the first episode of Season 2, Neil and Moira chat about her varied musical experiences and background from growing up on a farm in Vermont to studying piano in Indiana to living in California singing everything from traditional Balkan music to Irish songs to her own fiercely original material. 

For more of Moira, head over to MoiraSmiley.com