County Armagh-born fiddler Brendan McGlinchey’ reel Splendid Isolation opens and closes this collection of fiddle tunes from Ireland, Scotland, and North America. The opening setting, by NEA National Heritage Fellow Kevin Burke (born in London to parents from County Sligo), epitomizes the Sligo tradition. The closing cut comes from Northern Ireland and the playing of County Tyrone’s Cathal Hayden. It seems fitting, in these days of social distancing, to open and close with this tune. Between the two settings of McGlinchey’s tune are fiddle performances by talented artists from Irish, Scottish, Quebecois, Cape Breton, Irish-American and Appalachian/Old-Time traditions. There’s no particular theme or thread that links the tunes and by no means is this meant to be an exhaustive list of talented music-makers (given the chance to build another “great fiddlers/great fiddle tunes” tomorrow, I’d have no shortage of artists to present).
As a long-time fan of traditional fiddle music (and fiddlers), I’ve been fortunate. I’ve come to know all but one these artists personally (the great Jean Carignan passed before I had the chance to meet him) and I count many of them as friends. They’re great fiddlers and important keepers of traditions and I hope you enjoy these cuts.
All the best,
Executive Director, Eastern Music Festival
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