Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas
ST JAMES HALL i
3214 West 10th Ave, Kitsilano
Accessible All ages
Clackmannan-born, California-based fiddler Alasdair Fraser and his American musical partner, cellist Natalie Haas, have been investigating and reinvigorating the relationship between their instruments that flourished in former times with spectacular success over recent years. Highlander's Farewell - their third album - is yet more proof of both the musicians' and their instruments' compatibility.
An expanded cast sees County Clare's poet of the fiddle Martin Hayes and American old-time master Bruce Molsky shift the accent from Scotland to Ireland to Appalachia on the opening medley, and there are French and Galician interludes as well as a distinctly drawing-room quality on Gloomy Winter's Noo Awa'. At the heart of the album, however, are the sparky understanding and mutual inspiration that make Fraser and Haas such a classy, self-sufficient pairing and emphasize their ability to give even popular session tunes such as Fergie MacDonald's Jig Runrig and Gordon Duncan's The High Drive a new lift.