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June 21, 2013
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A grand time for fiddlers

Alasdair Fraser’s Sierra Fiddle Camp will celebrate the fiddle music of Scotland and the world in Grass Valley tonight at the eighth annual Fiddle Camp concert; the event will take place at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. More than 150 musicians, singers and dancers ranging in age from 5 to 85 will join Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and the world-class faculty of camp instructors to celebrate a week of intensive study and revelry.

This year’s Grand Fiddle Rally combines the music of Scotland and the world with special guests Antti Järvelä (Finland), Mary Jane Lamond (Cape Breton) and Wendy MacIsaac (Cape Breton).

Renowned performer and master teacher of the rich fiddling tradition of Scotland, Fraser inspires others to higher and deeper levels of self-expression within an embracing community of listeners, learners and like-minded folk.

The variety and expressivity of Alasdair’s playing is evident in his numerous recordings — from intimate fiddle/guitar duets, to a more contemporary interpretation of tradition, to high energy original tunes with his Skyedance band.

Recent highly acclaimed albums include “Legacy of the Scottish Fiddle, Vols. 1 and 2,” “Fire and Grace” — named Scots Trad Album of the Year for 2004 — “In the Moment” and most recently, “Highlanders Farewell.”

Antti Järvelä grew up in a small town of Kaustinen, Finland, in a family where traditional fiddling has been carried through several generations.

He started playing the fiddle at the age of 4 and soon adapted the local dance fiddling style directly from his grandfather. At Kaustinen Music College, Antti also started to learn the double bass, which soon became his main instrument. After studying bass at the famous Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, he decided to make music his profession.

Antti works as a full-time freelance musician and teacher all around the world, carrying on the energy and fun he has experienced with folk music.

He is the founder of the Finnish-Norwegian powerfolk string band Frigg and a member of such bands as Baltic Crossing, JPP, Troka and Kings of Polka.

Wendy MacIsaac is a fiddler/piano player/stepdancer from Creignish, Cape Breton, Canada. MacIsaac has toured the world for the last 10 years with Mary Jane Lamond, Ashley MacIsaac, Beolach and as a solo performer.

Her recordings include “The Reel Thing” (1994); “That’s What You Get” (1996); and her latest album, “Timeline” (2003). Beolach recorded a self-titled album (2001), and MacIsaac is featured prominently on the recordings of Mary Jane Lamond.

She began performing at age 5 as a stepdancer. At 12, she began fiddle lessons with Stan Chapman.

By age 15, she was playing at dances all over Cape Breton island and developing the sound that makes her so recognizable today.

She soon began traveling farther, to Boston, Detroit and Toronto, to play for the popular Cape Breton dances in those areas.

She also developed a strong reputation as a piano player and has accompanied just about all of the Cape Breton fiddlers of her generation.

In 1995, she began touring with the Cape Breton Summertime Revue and has made the road her second home ever since.

Her skills as a teacher are in high demand at festivals worldwide, whether for fiddle, piano, or stepdancing; she is always happy to share her music and experience with others.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert are $20 in advance, $22 at the door, $30 for preferred seating and reserved parking, $5 for children 12 and under and $40 for a family pack (two adults, two kids).

They are available for purchase at BriarPatch Co-op, the Book Seller in Grass Valley and Yabobo in Nevada City.


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The Union Updated Jun 22, 2013 12:42AM Published Jun 21, 2013 10:50PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.