Blending Nordic and Celtic traditions into a glorious riot of all-encompassing sound, String Sisters, with band members from Shetland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland and the United States, created a huge impact when they appeared at Celtic Connections in January.
The band was founded at that same event back in 2001 by Shetland fiddler Catriona Macdonald, currently a Senior Lecturer on the BMus Folk Degree at Newcastle University, a leading composer and an enthusiastic champion of her island’s musical heritage.
Playing Hardanger fiddle is Annbjørg Lien, one of Norway’s most eminent musicians. She has collaborated with other players from all over the globe and is a key figure on the world music stage. This September Annbjørg was awarded the prestigious Anders Jahre Cultural Prize for her outstanding contribution to folk music.
From the United States, String Sisters’ Liz Carroll and Liz Knowles are both steeped in the Irish tradition. The former, a legendary fiddler who has been junior and senior All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, was in 2010, the first Irish-American musician to be nominated for a Grammy and in 2011 she was the first US-born composer honoured with the Cumadóir TG4 – Ireland’s most significant traditional music prize. Combining Irish fiddle with the tonal richness of classical violin, Liz Knowles is in demand globally as a Premier League live performer and versatile recording artist. Her credits range from providing suitably stirring music for Riverdance to soloist on the soundtrack for the film Michael Collins.
Two of the other “stars” who complete the line-up and who are also accomplished singers, are Emma Härdelin from Sweden and Irish legend, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, familiar to roots music fans around the world for her work with Altan. Emma, who comes from a family of nationally-acclaimed musicians and lends her hauntingly beautiful voice to folk-rock band Garmarna, traditional trio Triakel and String Sisters, joins Mairéad on two duets on String Sisters’ new album. Mairéad is one of the most important carriers of the Donegal fiddle style, and was this year honoured with the Gradam Ceoil, one of the most prestigious prizes in Irish traditional music.
The band is completed by leading Scottish jazz pianist Dave Milligan, Tore Bruvoll from Norway on guitar, Conrad Molleson on bass and James Mackintosh (Shooglenifty) on drums.
Thanks to their multitude of influences and experience this is a live show that exhilarates and excites.
The band will be one of the main attractions at Orkney Folk Festival and thereafter, have a short run of dates that include the following shows:
Tuesday 29 May: Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Wednesday 30 May: The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh (in association with Soundhouse)
Thursday 31 May: Cecil Sharp House, London
Artists’ website: http://www.stringsisters.net/
‘Tiger In The Galley’ – live: