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Pure Dead Brilliant Fiddle Concert
Log Cabin Chapel at Grotonwood
Groton, MA
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Pure Dead Brilliant Fiddle Concert
Kicking off Hanneke Cassel's "Pure Dead Brilliant Fiddle Weekend", the concert will feature Scottish music from the Boston scene, along with special guests, MAC (Ryan McKasson, Elias Alexander, and Colin Cotter),and Jeremy Kittel.

Called one of the most exceptional violinists and fiddlers of his generation by WGBH, Jeremy Kittel's music inhabits the space between classical and acoustic roots, Celtic and bluegrass aesthetics, and folk and jazz sensibilities. According to Bluegrass Situation, Kittel & Co. has accomplished a feat of new acoustic, string band-rooted chamber music. Kittel's most recent album, Whorls, is a dazzlingly original work, referring to patterns of spirals, an apt metaphor for the undulation between the outsize skills and free-spirited instincts that drive its sound. Premiering as #1 on the Billboard bluegrass charts, EarMilk calls the album a gentle, genre-bending masterpiece. As well as creating his own projects, Kittel composes and arranges for artists such as Abigail Washburn, Aoife ODonovan, My Morning Jacket, Camera Obscura, Jars of Clay, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Laura Veirs, and the Grammy-winning Turtle Island Quartet (of which he was a member for five years). He has also recorded with artists such as Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Mark OConnor and Mike Marshall.

MAC is, at its core, part the natural progression of Celtic music as it has worked away into the American consciousness. McKasson, Alexander, and Cotter are all three well-versed in the Celtic music tradition, and the music that they write and perform is steeped heavily in this timeless tradition while calling upon influences ranging from rock to classical. Their performances reveal fiery personas tempered with artistry, finesse, and virtuosity as they draw from a deep well of innovative original music and lush arrangements of traditional songs and tunes.

Effervescent and engaging, Boston-based fiddler Hanneke Cassel is a performer, teacher and composer whose career spans over two decades. She has graced stages across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.  Her style fuses influences from the Isle of Skye and Cape Breton Island with Americana grooves and musical innovations, creating a cutting-edge acoustic sound that retains the integrity and spirit of the Scottish tradition. Hannekes music is a blend of the contemporary and traditional, described by the Boston Globe as exuberant and rhythmic, somehow wild and innocent, delivered with captivating melodic clarity and an irresistible playfulness.  

"The new face of Scottish fiddling in the USA"(The Living Tradition), Katie McNally has made waves in both the American folk music scene and abroad since the release of her debut album, Flourish, in 2013. Her latest project synthesizes her elegant and powerful fiddle playing with the talents of genre-crossing pianist Neil Pearlman and bluegrass phenom Shauncey Ali on viola.  In addition to her busy touring schedule, she is a devoted educator whose teaching style was molded by years of attendance at fiddle camps where learning music is about joy and community and fun! This is her approach whether working with her private students, in workshops, at fiddle camps, in musical outreach programs or at Bostons Symphony Hall.

Pianist and mandolinist Neil Pearlman is rapidly distinguishing himself as a uniquely innovative artist in the contemporary traditional music scene. Called a tremendous pianist on BBC Radio Scotland and a force to be reckoned with by WGBHs Brian ODonovan, Neil is recognized in many Celtic music circles for his unique approach to the piano. Rooted in traditional Cape Breton piano styles, Neil brings in ideas from many other genres and the result is an exciting new sound that remains true to its traditional roots. It was this fresh approach that led legendary Cape Breton fiddler Jerry Holland to say watching Neils hands on the piano was like watching two spiders on crack!

Eamon Sefton is a sought-after Celtic-style guitarist from the Boston area. His percussive rhythm and clever use of harmony have made him an ideal guitarist for many traditional musicians around Boston. He cultivated much of his talent at the Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School, where he has become our regular guitar teacher. He studied at Berklee College of Music, greatly furthering his understanding of harmony and guitar technique.

From driving reels and passionate strathspeys to lilting jigs, melancholy Gaelic airs, and elegant 18th-century minuets, Laura Risk's expressive, versatile fiddling takes you on a rich journey through the diverse repertoires of Scotland and Québec.
Now living in Montreal, Laura Risk grew up in the thriving San Francisco Scottish fiddle scene, learning her craft from master fiddler Alasdair Fraser. She has toured extensively, performing at Celtic Connections (Glasgow), Celtic Colours (Cape Breton), and the Newport, Winnipeg, and Philadelphia Folk Festivals. In addition to her solo work, Laura performs with Paddy League and Kieran Jordan in the band Triptych. She is active as a record producer (Hanneke Cassel, Childsplay, Laurel Martin) and has toured with Sandy Silva, Ken Kolodner, Ensemble Galilei, Cordelias Dad, and the John Whelan Band. Laura has over ten albums to her credit, including her latest release 2000 Miles, on which she teams up with some of Quebecs hottest traditional and jazz musicians for a new take on tunes from the great Scottish collections of the 18th and 19th centuries. Says Living Tradition, Laura plays in a powerful, percussive style, with tight control and beautiful tone but bursting with energy and passion, turning reels into romps and slow airs into soul-searches. Laura has taught at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, Fiddlekids and the Swannanoa Gathering. She also taught fiddling for five years at Wellesley College. Laura is currently a graduate student in Musicology at McGill University.


A native of Newfoundland, Keiths traditional song repertoire is based in Eastern Canada and Quebec as well as his current home, Vermont. His direct and intimate style of traditional singing in English and French infuses old ballads and songs with a powerful immediacy while his rhythmic and percussive finger style of guitar playing brings new shape and color to his songs. Keith was a founding member of Nightingale, a trio which broke new ground in its sophisticated approach to traditional music. He is a mainstay of the Boston fiddle extravaganza, Childsplay and has also worked extensively with Tony Barrand on the song repertoire from the early twentieth century of the Atwood family from Dover, Vermont. He also appears frequently with his wife, fiddler Becky Tracy as well as part of the Hanneke Cassel Trio.


Too often artists view tradition as a towering monolith to be either conquered or cowed by, but young Scottish fiddler and experimentalist Jenna Moynihan knows that tradition is meant to be a starting point for great inspiration, not a wall. On her new album, Woven, she darts back and forth like the shuttle in a loom, pulling the many strands of the Scottish fiddle tradition into a colorful tapestry that showcases her virtuosic control of her instrument as much as her deep sense of playfulness. Jenna is from Lakewood, New York and is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. While studying, she was selected to receive the Fletcher Bright Award & and The American Roots Music Award - two honors given annually to one outstanding string player.


Mike Block is a pioneering cello player, singer, composer, and educator, hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as the "ideal musician of the 21st-Century." Passionate about cross-cultural collaboration through music, Mike is committed to inspiring individuals and connecting communities. At home in a wide range of musical styles, through a multi-genre approach to composition, performance and education, he seeks to inspire audiences and empower musicians to find joy in the full world of music.

With over 20 years of dance experience, Abbie MacQuarrie has performed across the globe from Scotland to Germany and beyond. Her rhythmic and graceful percussive dancing draws mainly from the Cape Breton and Scottish traditions with influences from Irish sean-nós and Appalachian clogging. Also an accomplished fiddler and Highland dancer, Abbie is a sought after teacher and performer in the Boston area.


Log Cabin Chapel at Grotonwood (View)
167 Prescott St, Groton, MA 01450
Groton, MA 01450
United States


Music > Celtic
Music > World

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Non-Smoking: Yes!



Judy G.
Kingston, NH United States
Feb 14, 2019 7:00 AM
Lena S.
Stow, MA United States
Feb 13, 2019 4:18 PM
Lena S.
Stow, MA United States
Feb 13, 2019 4:18 PM
Claude G.
Westford, MA United States
Feb 12, 2019 5:26 PM
Claude G.
Westford, MA United States
Feb 12, 2019 5:26 PM

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