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Suggested Albums: "Highlander's Farewell" - Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas - 2011

Scottish fiddler , Alasdair Fraser is highly renowned, not only for his artistry with his Skydance band and colaborations, but for being founder also of three summer fiddling programs: the Valley of the Moon fiddle camp in California (begun in 1984), a week-long course on the Isle of Skye (begun in 1987) and the more recent Sierra Fiddle Camp in California (begun in 2006). Adept in various Scottish idioms, in recent years, with cellist Natalie Haas, he has helped reconstruct and revive the Scottish tradition of playing dance music on violin and cello ("wee fiddle" and "big fiddle"). Fraser lives in northern California with his wife and two sons.

Since 2004 Alasdair has been recording fine tracks along with California native cellist Natalie Haas.

She has joined master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser for festival and concert appearances in Scotland, Spain, France, and throughout the U.S., including Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland, the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in France, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. "People may be familiar with the gorgeous, melodic cello sound," says Fraser, "but they're surprised to learn that the cello used to comprise the rhythm section in Scottish dance bands. Natalie Haas unleashes textures and deep, powerful rhythms that drive fiddle tunes. We can "duck and dive" around each other, swap melody and harmony lines, and improvise on each other's rhythmic riffs. She has such a great sense of exploration and excitement for the music; it's a joy to play with her!"

On their new album Highlander's Farewell, they offer a musical journey from the Highlands of Scotland to the lowlands, to Ireland, to Appalachia in the southern United States, to California, to Cape Breton, Galicia in Spain, and back again.There are three original tunes by Fraser on the disc, among them McLaughlin’s Strathspey, which he wrote as a wedding gift for two friends.

I was surprised to listen to the strains of "A Bruxa", this tune so many times have we heard by the historic galician band Milladoiro mingled with the festive sounds of "A Muiñeira de Chantada" ,moves us in imagination to that recording made ​​of the same piece by The Chieftains in Vigo for their album "Santiago". This corresponds to his affection to galician music and for his performances on the celebrated "Ortigueira Festival" in Spain.

There are thirteen sets in all supported by special guests like : Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill - Bruce Molsky - Brittany Haas - Hanneke Cassel - Laura Risk - Ryan McKasson - Evan Price - Emily Onderdonk - Mike Block - Tristan Clarridge

Said Fraser recently, 'As we increasingly played together, I saw this graceful intensity. Here's this young woman saying, 'Let's make this thing groove.' I would say, 'Can we pull this off, just the two of us?' And she would say, 'Yep!' She has the technique to go wherever our ideas take us.'

This album is a "must" for all lovers of fiddle lovers!

Complete Discography

  • "Highlander's Farewell" by Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas - released 2011
  • In the Moment Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas - released 2007
  • Fire and Grace Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas - released 2004 (winner, Scots Trad Album of the Year)
  • Legacy of the Scottish Fiddle, Vol 2 with Muriel Johnstone (Piano) and Natalie Haas (Cello) - released 2004
  • Live in Spain with Skyedance Band - released 2002
  • Legacy of the Scottish Fiddle, Vol 1 with Paul Machlis (Piano) and Natalie Haas (Cello) - released 2002
  • Labyrinth with Skyedance Band - released 2000
  • Return to Kintail with Tony McManus (Guitar) - released 1999
  • Way Out to Hope Street with Skyedance Band - released 1997
  • Dawn Dance - Solo album - released 1996
  • The Driven Bow with Jody Stecher (Guitar) - released 1989
  • The Road North with Paul Machlis (Keyboards, Piano) - released 1987
  • Skyedance with Paul Machlis (Keyboards, Piano) - released 1985
  • Portrait of a Scottish Fiddler - Solo album -released 1982

Cool links

Alasdair Fraser site:
http://www.alasdairfraser.com

Natalie Haas site:
http://www.nataliehaas.com

An article based on a recent interview with the duo:
http://tinyurl.com/4d4zb7r

A 2010 video with good sound and stable vision:

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