Bringing a fresh sound to an old tradition
Recognized as one of the finest fiddle players Scotland has ever produced, Alasdair Fraser combines terrific stage presence, a deep understanding of centuries of Scottish tradition, and a sweet tone that makes the heartstrings resonate in sympathetic vibration when he lays on the Celtic melancholy. He's joined on stage by his newest collaborator, the young American cellist Natalie Haas, who first came to his attention when she was 11 and attended one of his Valley of the Moon Scottish fiddling camps. Haas's cello has both melodic and rhythmic roles in the duo, and according to Fraser that's nothing new in Scots music. "People may be familiar with the gorgeous, melodic cello sound," he has said, "but they're surprised to learn that the cello used to comprise the rhythm section in Scottish dance bands." The duo's latest, "Ports of Call," travels around the Atlantic coast to touch on fiddle music from Scandinavia, Spain, and France.