Mike Vass unveils new musical suite at the Scots Fiddle Festival

Mike Vass
Photograph by Somhairle MacDonald

Newly Commissioned by the Scots Fiddle Festival and supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, The Four Pillars is a multi-media experience and musical suite from Scottish musician Mike Vass. Based on the four major tune types of the Scottish fiddle tradition – the slow air, the march, the strathspey and the reel – Mike’s piece captures the grandeur of Scottish fiddle music. The performance features an ensemble of four solo fiddle players (Mike, Patsy Reid, Lauren MacColl and Jenna Reid) each performing one movement, accompanied by string quartet, piano and tuned percussion with a film element as well as sampled spoken word excerpts.

The concert is on Friday 16th November at the Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh. 7.30 – 10pm with an opening slot from Ryan Young and Jenn Butterworth.

Tickets: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3609153

The Scots Fiddle Festival was launched in 1996 with the aim to promote and sustain traditional fiddle music. The festival brings people together from all over the world, both performers and audience members and continues to inspire thousands of people to enjoy and take part in traditional music each year.

2018 sees the festival moving to a new home at The Pleasance Theatre, coming back under one roof, a desire expressed by many of our supporters.  Following feedback we have made a few changes this year, simplified ticketing being the major one. The Pleasance café and bar will be available all day and into the evening, and there is more space for ad hoc tunes, should you wish. What has not changed is a quality weekend, run and organised by dedicated volunteers, a friendly place to meet and enjoy good music, be it listening, playing or performing.

Artist’s website: www.mikevass.com

‘Heave And Roll’ – official video:

The Folking Awards results 2018

Here they are, the results of the 2018 Folking awards. Thanks to all our writers who submitted nominations and to everyone who participated – almost 17,000 votes were cast. Every one of the nominees made an impression on our writers either on record or on stage during 2017. Without further ado, here are the top choices with percentage of the votes cast.


Soloist of the year – Richard Thompson (31.3%)

Folking Awards results

Read a short bio here (as if you really need to!).


Best Duo – Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman (46%)

Read a short bio here.


Best Band – Merry Hell (35.6%)

Best Live Act – Merry Hell (32.1%)

Just in case we haven’t told you about them often enough you can read about Merry Hell here.


Best Album – Strangers by The Young’Uns (29%)

Strangers

Read Dai Jeffries’ review of Strangers here.


Best Musician – Ryan Young (35.6%)

Read Ryan’s bio here.


Rising Star Act – The Trials Of Cato (33.2%)

Read The Trials of Cato bio here.


Best International Artiste – Le Vent Du Nord (45.7%)

Photograph by Alistair Cassidy

Read Le Vent Du Nord’s bio here.


If you would like to consider ordering a copy of an album for any of folking.com’s 2018 award nominees (see full list here), they are available in CD or Vinyl format, as an album download or as an individual track (track previews are usually on the download page). Click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Use the left and right arrows to scroll.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

The 2018 Folking Awards

Welcome to the 2018 Folking Awards and thank you again to everyone who participated last year. The nominations, in eight categories, come from our ever-expanding team of writers and were wrangled into shape with considered argument and arm-wrestling by the Folkmeister and the Editor.

There are five nominees in each category, all of whom have impressed our writers during 2017.

As with the format last year, all are winners in our eyes, as are quite a few who didn’t make the short list. However, it’s not just down to what we think, so again, there will be a public vote to decide the overall winner of each category.

*The Public Vote for each category will close at 9.00pm on Sunday 1st April (GMT+1).


Soloist Of The Year

 Jon Boden
Ange Hardy
Daria Kulesh
Richard Thompson
Chris Wood


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Duo

Kate & Raphael
O’Hooley & Tidow
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Laura Smyth & Ted Kemp
Winter Wilson


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Band

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Merry Hell
Peter Knight’s Gigspanner
Police Dog Hogan
The Unthanks


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Live Act

CC Smugglers
Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band
Fairport Convention
Lau
Merry Hell


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Album

Bring Back Home – Ange Hardy
Pretty Peggy – Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Long Lost Home – Daria Kulesh
A Pocket Of Wind Resistance – Karine Polwart/Pippa Murphy
Strangers – The Young ‘Uns


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Musician

Kevin Crawford
Seth Lakeman
Richard Thompson
Karen Tweed
Ryan Young


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Rising Star

Sam Brothers
Siobhan Miller
Jack Rutter
Sound Of The Sirens
The Trials Of Cato


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!!

 


Best International Artist

Rodney Crowell
Anna Coogan
Michael McDermott
Le Vent Du Nord
The Wailin’ Jennys


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


If you would like to consider ordering a copy of an album for any of our award winners (in CD or Vinyl), download an album or track or just listen to snippets of selected songs (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Use the left and right arrows to scroll.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Folkies 2018

RYAN YOUNG – Ryan Young (Ryan Young Music RYM01CD)

Ryan YoungRyan Young has already begun garnering what are doubtless only the first of many awards and accolades for his superb fiddle-playing. His self-titled debut album simply brims over with originality and talent: a little sonic jewel. That his fans went out and secured the talents of Grammy-winning Jesse Lewis to produce the album is another huge clue that there is something very special about Young.

Seeking to showcase some of his native Scotland’s less well-known tunes, Young has compiled an album of traditional tune sets in a way that honours them whilst also giving them a complete reworking. There is no slavish homage to tradition here, rather a fearless reshaping of the melody into new stories, where the tunes merely serve as jumping-off points. In this sense, it’s an almost jazz-like approach, circling the melody whilst riffing off exploring new possibilities and opening the sound out in unexpected directions.

Some interesting combinations of tunes are melded seamlessly together by boldness and careful artistry. There’s a key lowered here, a rhythm slowed there, there’s a sidelong glide up to the melody before dancing away again in a birl of slurred notes There’s also a distinct fondness for minor keys – and moody majors – meaning that more than a touch of melancholy sweeps over the album.

On rather better-known tunes such as ‘The Highland Laddie’ it becomes clear quite how distinct Young’s vision is. His interpretation alters the listener’s emotional response to the tune. Somehow it feels intuitive and natural whilst, at the same time, he skilfully manipulates the melodic variations, pushing at boundaries.

While Young’s playing may owe much to the Irish County Clare tradition – the fluid bowing, smudgy grace notes and the lyrical, often slower-paced renditions – it’s also proudly Scottish with its snaps and even an occasionally almost syncopated rhythm (especially as underscored by Leo Forde’s brightly swishing guitar in the second part of the first track). Both Forde and James Ross, on piano, provide restrained, sympathetic and elegant accompaniments throughout, perfectly enhancing the tunesets.

Two of the tracks featured here are Young’s own compositions. They showcase yet another side to his talent, one which will hopefully be featured more in future as his body of work grows. Despite his extensive study and achievement in his field already, a sense of modest self-deprecation comes across in the highly informative set of additional notes that he’s written for the album, and which are available on his website. However, there’s no doubt that he is the real deal and someone very interesting to watch as his career matures.

Su O’Brien

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist website: http://www.ryanyoung.scot/

Ryan with Jenn Butterworth at Celtic Connections 2017:

Ryan Young – award-winning Scottish fiddler announces debut album

Ryan Young

This self-titled debut album from award-winning fiddler Ryan Young brings inventive twists to old and forgotten tunes. Produced and engineered by triple Grammy award-winning Jesse Lewis, this international collaboration is set to break new ground with its precise capture of Ryan’s unique sound. Offering original compositions alongside his reinventions of traditional tunes, Ryan digs deep into his Scottish roots, while borrowing from Irish fiddle styles.

There are stories at the core, ranging from melancholy airs to upbeat jigs and reels, many of which have not been played by anyone else in recent times. These glimpses into Scotland’s past lives echo startlingly the fervour of the present, uncovering themes as relevant now as they were then. By melding styles across regions and ages, Ryan delivers uplifting rhythmic drive, depth of dynamics and a bold new heartbeat for Scottish traditional music.

Voted ‘Up and Coming Artist of the Year’ at MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards in December 2016, some memorable live performances have consolidated Ryan’s reputation in his home country. Ryan has now shared the bill with two of his musical influences: He supported fiddle player Martin Hayes at Celtic Connections this January, having previously been accompanied by guitarist Dennis Cahill onstage at Feakle Festival, Co Clare.

A finalist from BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Music Awards in both 2015 and 2016, and a Celtic Connections Danny Kyle Award winner, Ryan has performed on the BBC Hogmanay Show and at T in the Park for around 80,000 people, sharing the main stage with Paolo Nutini and Phil Cunningham.

Recorded and produced by triple Grammy award-winner Jesse Lewis in the beautiful sounding Opera Theatre at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, it is one of the first traditional albums to be recorded in the UK in high resolution DSD format. This album places Ryan among a list of world-class musicians who have worked with Jesse, including The Silk Road Ensemble, Yo-Yo Ma, Bela Fleck, Jan Vogler and Brooklyn Rider. Ryan is accompanied by James Ross on piano and Leo Forde on guitar.

Jesse Lewis: “Ryan’s playing is so soulful, beautiful and intoxicating, and his musical pacing is way beyond his years. It’s been a pleasure to work with someone so clearly passionate about, and dedicated to, his art. There’s so much talent in this young man already, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.”

Ryan Young: “If I’d been told five years ago that I’d be recording my debut album with Jesse, I wouldn’t have believed it. The past year has been extraordinary and I feel I’ve grown immensely as a musician. Jesse has spurred me on to find new possibilities in my music and helped me find confidence I didn’t know I had.”

‘Uniquely graceful and expressive playing. A future star of the Scottish fiddle world’ – Aidan O’Rourke (Lau)

‘Ryan’s playing brings an intense and unique approach to the burgeoning Scottish music scene’ – Ross Ainslie (Treacherous Orchestra)

Artist’s website: http://www.ryanyoung.scot/

‘The Irish Lass’ – with James Ross