Featuring some of the traditional music world’s top female fiddlers, is a unique opportunity when the members of the String Sisters gather together for a concert
Annbjørg Lien from Norway joins Catriona Macdonald from Shetland, Liz Carroll and Liz Knowles from America, Mairead ni Mhaonaigh (Altan) from Ireland and Emma Härdelin from Sweden join together to celebrate each of their region’s musical traditions.
It began at the Celtic Connections Festival in January of 2001, when Catriona Macdonald saw one of her dreams become a reality by assembling some of the world’s top female fiddlers. Celtic Connections, in Glasgow, grabbed the chance to premiere the event at its festival, and the experience was nothing short of earth shattering for all who attended. The Glasgow concert was a great success and the Sisters have since toured Norway and Sweden extensively, and have appeared in concert in France and back at the scene of the crime- Celtic Connections in Glasgow.
The Sisters will be joined by some of Scotland’s leading instrumentalists- David Milligan on Piano, Conrad Ivitsky on Double Bass, James Mackintosh on drums- and from Norway, Tore Bruvoll on guitar.
Catriona Macdonald (Shetland Islands)
Catriona Macdonald, in addition to creating The String Sisters, co-founded the Scottish Folk Awards winning, “Blazin’ Fiddles.” She recorded and toured for twelve years with Blazin’ Fiddles, but also recorded and toured two solo albums, “Bold” and “Over the Moon.” She currently performs with her new string trio, Vamm, and she’s the degree programme director for the BMus in Traditional Music course at Newcastle University.”At heart a Shetland fiddler in the Tom Anderson/Ali Bain mold, Macdonald is willing to explore a wider world, bringing in elements of a barn dance, a rave (hypnotic, repetitive moments) and a jazz cellar, but that sense of traditional playing is never far from your ears.” – Irish Edition
Liz Knowles (USA)
Coming from classical beginnings, Liz Knowles discovered Irish and Celtic music, and in short order found herself fiddling for Riverdance. She followed with a stint as fiddler for the group, “Cherish the Ladies,” and perfomed on Broadway for the Irish dance show, “The Pirate Queen.” Liz is the current musical director for the popular, French based, “Celtic Legends,” and continues to tour on the heels of her latest solo release, “Making Time.” “She plays Irish traditional music, but she’s originally from Kentucky. She performs as a soloist with the New York Pops Orchestra, but hangs out in bars at Irish sessions with pure-drop trad players. She tours the world with mega-spectacles like Riverdance or Celtic Legends, but her new album, Making Time, is a totally intimate experience.” Driftwood Magazine
Emma Hardelin (Sweden)
Emma Härdelin represents the 4th generation of professional folkmusicians from her family. She studied the Swedish folk singing tradition at Malungs Folk High School under the tutelage of Maria Röjås. Emma’s lead singer in the folk-rock band, “Garmarna,” as well as lead vocal for the folk band, “Triakel.” Triakel’s most recent (2011) recording is, “Ulrikas minne;” with Garmarna, she has recorded five albums- “Garmarna,” “Vittrad,” “Guds Spelemän (Gods Musicians),” “Vengeance,” and “Hildegard von Bingen.” “Härdelin sings… with an arresting mix of power, pathos, and ethereal beauty, swooping into pretty curlicues, tactile trills, and angelic breathiness, but as baroque as it gets, her voice never loses the chill of the cold earth under her feet.” – Chicago Reader
Annbjorg Lien (NORWAY)
Annbjørg Lien draws inspiration from a variety of traditions, and with creativity and enthusiasm she creates her own world music. She’s one of Norway’s most innovative artists, both on Hardanger fiddle and nyckelharpe. She has, through her recordings and tours, established herself as a world musician of note, and built exciting musical bridges in her collaborations with musicians from her own Norway, and other corners of the world, including with American old-time musician, Bruce Molsky, singer Loreena McKennitt, with Norwegian singer Sondre Bratland, and in her duets with multi-instrumentalist, Bjorn Ole Rasch.
Start out with a razor-sharp Hardanger technique. Add a fearless sense of musical adventure. Top it off with the ability to weave the threads of Norwegian, Celtic, jazz, and avant-garde musics into a wild, dazzling sonic tapestry. Mix these ingredients together and you get Annbjørg Lien. RootsWorld
Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh
One of the iconic and most loved figures in Irish music is Altan co-founder, singer and fiddler Mairead ni Mhaonaigh. Steeped in the traditional music of Donegal, where she first learned songs and tunes from her father, Francie O Maonaigh, she’s gone on to perform around the globe and to record twenty plus albums. Most recently she’s delighted her fans with a solo album, Imeall; and she’s collaborated with Maighread and Triona Ni Dhomhnaill, and Moya Brennan for a 2011 release, “T with the Maggies”. Mairead has hosted several popular programs of music on Irish television and radio, including The Long Note, The Pure Drop and The Full Set. Altan’s much anticipated 2012 release is titled, “Gleann Nimhe.” To not know Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh is to miss out on something special. She is one of the warmest, most genuine and most likeable people you could ever encounter, with a marvellous smile that lights up a room – or even the street in broad daylight if that’s where you encounter her. Hot Press
Liz Carroll (USA)
Liz Carroll was born in Chicago of Irish parents. She a junior and senior All-Ireland fiddle champion, and has toured as a solo artist and with the Greenfields of America, Trian, String Sisters, and as part of the duo Liz Carroll & John Doyle. In 2009 she became the first Irish-American musician nominated for a Grammy. In 2011 she received the Cumadoir TG4 prize (Composer of the Year) at the Gradam Cheoil Awards. “Collected” is Liz’s book of 185 self-penned tunes. “Dazzling…her inventiveness and creativity are astonishing. And her playing is impeccably clean, intense, and altogether brilliant.” Sing Out “Dazzling…her inventiveness and creativity are astonishing. And her playing is impeccably clean, intense, and altogether brilliant.” Sing Out
James Mackintosh has worked with the likes of Jerry Douglas, James Taylor, and Joan Osborne, as well as famous musicians from the trad world such as Sharon Shannon, Karen Matheson, and Donal Lunny. He is a founding member of the great Scottish band, Shooglenifty- a band which has toured globally for over fifteen years. In addition to concerts and session work, James is proud to share his percussion prowess with future generations at workshops like the award winning “Blazin’ in Beauly” in the west of Scotland. He’s the steadying force and anchor for the String Sisters.
Many will know him from his earlier work in mainstream jazz with leading figures such as Carol Kidd, Scott Hamilton and Art Farmer, but in more recent years Dave has also become familiar to a new audience. His interest in traditional & folk music inspired a unique crossover piano style which has featured most prominently in the critically-acclaimed Bachue, with harpist and singer Corrina Hewat, in the duet with concertina virtuoso Simon Thoumire, as a core member of the Catriona Macdonald band, and in the 22-piece folk orchestra The Unusual Suspects, which he and Hewat masterminded. In a professional career spanning fifteen years, Dave has performed throughout Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Asia.
Tore Bruvoll, from Tromso, Norway, is a guitarist, composer and arranger. He was educated at University College of Telemark (1997 – 1999). He is best known for his duo with singer Jon Anders Halvorsen, which has released two albums: “Night Song” in 2004, and “Sombre and Two” in 2007- both available on the Grappa label. He has collaborated with several other artists in folk music, among them Annbjørg Lien and the String Sisters. With fiddler Ragnhild Furebotten, in 2008, he was nominated for the Norwegian Grammy for their album, “Hekla Steel.”