Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, Fri 16–Sun 18 Nov
Asked to name a famous fiddler, most people think of the mysterious character in Fiddler on the Roof, the archetypal lone folk musician, or failing that the lass from The Corrs.
Musically, it’s a team pursuit – the playful sprite pulling at the well-starched coat-tails of it’s cousin the classical violin. But this year’s Fiddle 2007 festival shows the dynamic breadth and virtuosity of fiddle music. Fresh from the success of his concerto for small pipes at Piping Live! in August, Simon Thoumire unveils his Scots Fiddle Concerto on Friday, a work that pools the talents of some of the country’s top fiddlers including Gordon Gunn from Session A9 and Anam, Aidan O’Rourke from Blazin’ Fiddles and Lau, Jenna Reid from Dochas and Patsy Reid from Breabach. It is a complex, highly-tuned piece designed to show just exactly what these musicians can do with a violin, with Gunn taking on the solo.
The following evening Shetland fiddler Catriona Macdonald and her childhood friend Annbjørg Lien from Hardanger find the common ground between the traditional and contemporary folk furrows of Shetland and Norway with support from Danny Kyle award winner and Radio 2 Young Folk finalist Ryan Young.
The final concert on Sunday contrasts and compares the Anglo-Scandinavian roots of reel and song – Karen Tweed on piano accordion, guitarist Ian Carr, fiddler Ola Bäckström and singer Carina Normansson play a variety of Swedish polskas and schottis and jigs and waltzes from all over the British Isles and Ireland.