A celebratory event with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas
KNOW & GO
WHO: Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas
WHAT: Album release show live from The Center
WHEN: Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m.
WHERE: 314 W. Main Street Grass Valley
ADMISSION: Free livestream, donations welcome
INFO: Visit thecenterforthearts.org or call 530-274-8384
Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas celebrate the release of their new album, Syzygy, with a live broadcast from The Center for the Arts on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. The album was inspired by philosophical ideas, people they’ve met, and life events including weddings and births. Their creative process was changed by the pandemic, so the album release show will be a unique and celebratory experience, performed live, From The Center, and broadcasting online at thecenterforhtearts.org.
The musical partnership between consummate performer Alasdair Fraser, “the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling,” and brilliant Californian cellist Natalie Haas spans the full spectrum between intimate chamber music and ecstatic dance energy. Over the last 20 years of creating a buzz at festivals and concert halls across the world, they have truly set the standard for fiddle and cello in traditional music. They thrill audiences internationally with their virtuosic playing, their near-telepathic understanding, and the joyful spontaneity and sheer physical presence of their music.
The duo started recording new songs back in January at Rotary Records in Western Massachusetts and planned to mix the album, together, while on tour this year. Normally their schedule is packed full, performing in the U.S. and Europe and teaching at summer fiddle camps across three continents. When the pandemic postponed their performance and teaching plans, they settled into a new workflow to finish the album.
“We did everything online, it was a lot of back and forth,” said Haas. Fraser handled all of the mixing and editing. He enjoyed this new process. “Every day I’d get a new list of what to change and what to keep. We are excited with what we’ve created.”
Syzygy is a collection of all original material. The duo has been working towards this moment for twenty years, an equal collaboration where half of the songs were composed by Fraser and half were composed by Haas. They met at the Valley of the Moon fiddle camp in 1995 when Natalie was just eleven. By the time she was fifteen, they were collaborating on 18th century pieces that featured bass lines for cello. The duo’s debut recording, Fire & Grace, won the coveted Scots Trad Music “Album of the Year’’ award, the Scottish equivalent of a Grammy. They went on to record four more critically acclaimed albums that blend a profound understanding of the Scottish tradition with cutting-edge string explorations, including the 2017 release, Ports of Call. While previous albums often featured musical guests, Syzygy brings them back to the tried and true duo format and will be available for purchase at alasdairandnatalie.com.
This will be their first livestream from an actual venue. They are excited to perform on a real stage and eager to see the remodeled Center for the Arts. Haas also noted her appreciation for stage crews and sound techs. Since venues closed in March, artists have had to adapt to setting up their own cameras and microphones and running their own sound to broadcast live from their homes. The show will be performed on the main stage at The Center for a small crew of sound and video professionals working to broadcast the performance to viewers online.
The Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas Syzygy album release show is happening on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. RSVP for the free live broadcast at thecenterforthearts.org.
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