The Celtic Fiddle Festival – 20th February

Kevin Burke (Ireland) • Christian Lemaître (Brittany) • Charlie McKerron (Scotland)
With Nicolas Quemener (France) on guitar

20th February at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme      T. 01782 717962

Called “three of the finest folk violinists anywhere” by The Washington Post, The Celtic Fiddle Festival celebrates the violin in all its globe-trotting variations. Fiddlers Kevin Burke (Ireland), Christian Lemaître (Brittany, France) and Charlie McKerron (Scotland) showcase a fascinating juxtaposition of international and individual styles. With the able and agile accompaniment of Nicolas Quemener (Brittany, France) you have a perfect storm of the finest Celtic music your ears will ever encounter.

In concert each artist plays a solo set, showcasing their individual musical styles and cultural heritage, followed by a collaborative set featuring all three fiddlers. Sold-out tours and standing ovations give testimony to the electricity and excitement generated by the group. The quartet combines their considerable talents, rich musical traditions, and spontaneous humor for an evening of dazzling energy and subtle grace. These traditional masters showcase their regional repertoires, and together conjure an unforgettable performance, playing with such relentless precision and fire, that the tunes transcend all cultural and geographical barriers.

The latest Celtic Fiddle Festival CD, “Storm in a Teapot”, features a new fiddler in the group, Charlie McKerron, the wonderful musician from Capercaillie, one of Scotland’s most renowned and revered bands. The CD showcases some Galician pieces as well as tunes from Brittany and Ireland and also highlights the Scottish music that Charlie’s inclusion has brought to the band. Many will remember that the Celtic Fiddle Festival’s original line-up featured another much loved Scot, the irrepressible Johnny Cunningham. Johnny’s passing was a painfully sad blow to the band but, more than a decade later, the group are delighted to revisit the vast treasure trove of Scottish music that used to be such an integral part of the Celtic Fiddle Festival’s repertoire.

In January 2016, after an appearance at Glasgow’s “Celtic Connections” festival , the band extended their visit to Scotland by setting off to TPot Studio, nestled in the rolling hills of rural Perthshire. Charlie, Christian, Kevin and Nicolas made themselves comfortable inside the studio and, while the wind, rain and snow storms raged outside (and inspired the title of the CD), they set about choosing the repertoire, building the arrangements and making the music that can be heard on the “Storm in a Teapot”.

With the always engaging guitar accompaniment of Nicolas Quemener, “Storm in a Teapot” is a collection of traditional and contemporary music ranging from light hearted, vigorous dance tunes to heartachingly soulful airs – another milestone in the long history of The Celtic Fiddle Festival which spans more than two decades of inspired and inspiring fiddle music. .

Kevin Burke is a world-renowned Irish fiddler whose formidable career includes the seminal Irish groups The Bothy Band and Patrick Street. Playing the fluid, highly-ornamented style of County Sligo, Kevin is a recipient of the NEA’s National Heritage Award. Christian Lemaître honed his remarkable skills playing the hypnotic Breton melodies at festou-noz (night dances) throughout Brittany, the Celtic region of France. He is a founding member of the group Kornog. Scotland’s Charlie McKerron, from the band Capercaillie, has won awards both as a player and as a composer. In a land famed for extraordinary fiddlers he is among the finest. Nicolas Quemener is a master open-tuning guitarist, who grew up in Angers, France and studied percussion in the National School of Music. He has been a part of many superb Celtic bands, including Arcady, and Kornog, and continues to play and record with many acclaimed Breton and Irish artists.

Quotes from the Press

“Three sensational fiddlers from three distinct Celtic traditions. Exhilarating fun!” Boston Herald

“Stunning ensemble playing and superb solo performances… think Altan sipping brandy. Way to go, lads!” Sean Laffey, Irish Music Magazine

“…Among the world’s greatest Celtic fiddlers. Whether alone or á trois, they possess a breathtaking virtuosity.” Philadelphia Weekly