Somewhere between the fjords of Norway and mountains of the Blue Ridge, the fiddle-playing of Mariel Vandersteel intones the strains of elevation, clarity and tremdnous feeling. It is uncanny that she hails from a very different set of mountains: those of Northern California. Mariel came of age musically nurtured by the Bay Area's rich revivalist traditional music scene, receiving a cultural grant to venture to the traditional music archives in Dublin, Ireland, and attending Boston's Berklee College of Music for violin performance. After graduating, Mariel moved to Norway to study Hardingfele, the country's national instrument at Hogskolen I Telemark Folk Music School. Returning to Boston in 2009, Mariel continued to work with acoustic-roots conjurers Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers. Exploring musical connections between Scandinavia and the United States.
On her new record, Mariel aims to bridge old and new worlds, organically melding the sounds, ornaments, and accents of the fiddle communities in which she has delved; Boston and Norway, Ireland and California. In making the record, the goal was to give an aural snapshot of the textures of those communities. Collaborating with the Boston-area's finest acoustic musicians, including producer/composer Jordan Tice, Scottish harpist Maeve Gilchrist (The Forge), Tristan Clarridge, Samson Grisman, Dominick Leslie and Duncan Wickel, Mariel's new music incorporates lush instrumental dialogues, playful timbral exchanges between fiddle and hardanger, and evocative interpretations of old-world melodies. The record endeavors to capture the incredible energy and ingenuity of the musical community Mariel ahs surrounded herself with: warmly inviting the listener to the fjord, the sierra or the living room.
Along with her solo project, Mariel tours nationally and internationally with a variety of artists including Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers, Laura Cortese's Acoustic Project, Putnam Smith, Annalivia, and Emma Beaton.
The Forge are:
Maeve Gilchrist on Harp and voice. Born to an Irish mother and a Scottish father, Maeve grew up in Edinburgh Scotland under the influence of two harp playing aunts and immersed in the traditional music scene from a young age. At 17 Maeve was awarded a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston where she started to put down roots in the American roots music scene. Some of Maeve’s performance highlights include the Celtic Connections Music Festival, the ICONS festival and the World Harp Festival.
Fiddler Cara Frankowicz is a nationally renowned fiddle player who is currently based in Boston MA. Originally from Pennsylvania, In her early twenties Cara moved to Ireland, cutting her teeth on the cream of the Galway music scene. Cara has performed all over the world at events including the Philadelphia Irish Music Festival and has performed with artists such as the Chieftains and the Three Irish Tenors.
Irish flutist Nicole Rabata is highly regarded both in and out of traditional music fields. She has toured America and Europe including appearances at International Flute Festivals in Stockholm and Lund (Sweden), Temple Bar Trad Fest in Dublin, the Hebridean Celtic Festival in Scotland, the National Flute Conventions in NYC and San Diego, WOMAD Festival in the UK and the Festival
Interceltique du L’Orient in Brittany among others. Most recently she spent two months in India where she performed and taught music in the rural Himalayas. She spent four years in the west of Ireland where she immersed herself in the music and was influenced by the playing of many great musicians. She plays flutes by Patrick Olwell and Gilles Lehart.
Anna Colliton is one of America’s leading exponents of the bodhrán, the traditional Irish frame drum. From Chicago, a city of Irish musical excellence, Anna plays a highly intricate style of drumming with masterful tonal and rhythmic variation. She has taught and performed at festivals across the country, including Milwaukee Irish Fest, Chicago Celtic Fest, the New York Irish Dance Festival, the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, and the Dollywood Festival of Nations. Anna has numerous recording credits, recently including Cherish the Ladies’ A Star in the East and Grainne Murphy’s Short Stories. She teaches advanced bodhran at the Irish Arts Center in New York City.
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