Monday, February 14, 2011

Battlefield Band

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!


Rowan said...

I haven't heard of this band before but tI'm pretty sure I would love them. Shall listen to the clip later, it's early morning and DH is still in bed, don't think he'd appreciate a sudden blast of fiddle music:)

Granny Sue said...

You'd be right :) They're worth a listen, though, when you get a minute.


Music makes your heart sing. Glad you didn't miss the concert -- barbara

Mama-Bug said...

I bet you left that concert with your heart singing! I listened to the video clip and their playing is amazing. I really got a jolt of happiness this morning listening to the video. Hope you had a great valentine's day.

Markin said...

Listening to those two fiddlers play, even if they're not actually in a contest, reminded me of one of my favourite poems, "The Mountain Whippoorwill (Or, How Hill-Billy Jim Won the Great Fiddlers' Prize)", by Stephen Vincent Benet. (And I like being reminded of that one, gives me an excuse to read it again.)

Thank you for posting this, Susanna -- I'd heard of this band before, but if I'd known just how superb they were, I'd have been grabbing their CDs from the git-go. Now my budget and I will have to have a little conversation ... [sigh] ;)

Granny Sue said...

Valentine's was lovely, Mama-bug. Treats at work and a homemade card from a friend I met here on my blog (she works at the same place I do now), then at home Larry had a rose for me and an offer to go out to dinner. Since I'd had cupcakes at work I opted to be good and stay home--but took a raincheck!

Granny Sue said...

Markin, I read that poem out loud to my daughter-in-law last summer. I have two friends, one a poet and one a storyteller, who recite it and I get chill bumps every time. It's a great piece of writing.

I sprang for a CD after the concert; gritted my teeth and paid the $20 because I know I'll want to hear it over and over to remind me of the evening.

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