Saturday night's concert was one of the best I've been to in quite a while. The Battlefield Band from Scotland was in Charleston as part of the Footmad concert series. I almost missed it--the tickets were in my purse and I was thinking the concert was a week away. Fortunately someone sent a reminder on Facebook just in time. How sad I would have been to have missed this opportunity.
The band has been on tour in the US, starting in Hawaii and moving across the country. I can imagine they had some weather tales to tell, since they've apparently been across the Midwest during the recent blizzards. But they made no mention of it, just jumped right in and started playing. And boy can they play.
The members all live in Scotland now, although one (Mike Katz) was originally from Los Angeles. He went to Edinburgh for college and never left. Mike's musical abilities are far-ranging, from composition to arrangement to playing bagpipes, flute, and bouzouki.
Then there is Alasdair White from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, whose fiddle playing is world-renowned. Even at 13, he was considered a maestro by those in the industry. Add in his expressive face and crazy humor, and his rhythm-keeping right foot that never seemed to stop, and he's quite a performer.
The second fiddler, by no means playing second fiddle to Alasdair, however, is Ewen Henderson. Honestly, how do people so young learn to play so well? Ewen is not 30 years old, plays fiddle, piano, bagpipes and flute (or maybe it's a tin whistle, can't remember)--and sings! His fiddling is quite honestly breathtaking, and he puts his whole body into the playing.
The group is rounded out by Sean O'Donnell, who was born in Northern Ireland. His guitar and vocals, and his quirky sense of humor meshed well with the rest of the group.
If the Battlefield Band ever comes your way, do try to see and hear them. I hope they come back to West Virginia soon. Next week would be fine with me! To get a taste of what an evening with them is like, check out this YouTube video. Be sure to watch all the way through, because it just gets better and better. As does this band.
And to get a taste of the two fiddlers, watch them duel it out on this video. Superb!