Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas
ST JAMES HALL i
3214 West 10th Ave, Kitsilano
Accessible All ages
The musical partnership between Alasdair Fraser, long regarded as one of Scotland’s premier fiddle ambassadors, and the sizzlingly-talented young California cellist Natalie Haas may not seem an obvious one. Fraser, acclaimed by the San Francisco Examiner as “the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling,” has a concert and recording career spanning 30 years, with a long list of awards, accolades, television credits, and feature performances on top movie soundtracks (Last of the Mohicans,Titanic, Stone of Destiny). Fraser has been sponsored by the British Council to represent Scotland’s music internationally, and received the Scottish Heritage Center Service Award for outstanding contributions to Scottish culture and traditions.
Haas, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, wasn’t even born when Alasdair was winning national fiddle competitions on the other side of the Atlantic. But this seemingly unlikely pairing is the fulfillment of a long-standing musical dream for Fraser, whose cutting-edge musical explorations took him full circle to find a cellist who could help him return the cello to its historical role at the rhythmic heart of Scottish dance music.
Natalie Haas was just 11 when she first attended Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School in California. She responded to Fraser’s challenge to find and release the cello’s rhythmic soul, and four years later, when Natalie was just 15, Fraser and Haas played their first gig together. Now regularly touring with Fraser and creating a buzz at festivals and in concert halls throughout Europe and North America, Natalie is in the vanguard of young cellists who are re-defining the role of the cello in traditional music. “Cellists are coming out of the woodwork to study with Natalie, to learn how she creates a groove and a whole powerful rhythm section,” says Fraser. “It’s inspiring to hear the cello unleashed from its orchestral shackles!”
The Duo has four recordings: Abundance, Highlander's Farewell, In the Moment and the award winning Fire & Grace — all on Fraser’s own Culburnie Records label. The CDs display the duo’s dazzling teamwork, driving, dancing rhythms, and their shared passion for improvising on the melody and the groove of Scottish tunes. “Haas is the percussive power to Fraser's fiddle fireworks, providing syncopated, bowed underpinnings to his melodies and solos,” writes Kira Schlechter of The Patriot News. The pair are about to launch their 5th album.
The duo has performs frequently in Europe, and throughout the US and Canada. They have been featured on NPR’s Performance Today, the Thistle & Shamrock, and Mountain Stage, and represented Scotland at the Smithsonian Museum’s Folklife Festival. In addition, Fraser and Haas have busy teaching schedules, including summer fiddle courses in the US, Scotland, and Spain.
THERE'S ALSO AN INSTRUCTIONAL WORKSHOP ... led by Alasdair and Natalie from 2pm to 4pm on the day of the performance. It will be open to all players of all instruments. It's all about playing in a collaborative way, emphasizing the "groove" in the music. Renowned performer and master teacher of the rich fiddling tradition of Scotland, Alasdair inspires us to higher and deeper levels of self-expression within an embracing community of listeners, learners and like-minded folk. Workshop admission is $30, or only $15 with a concert ticket. RSVP at email@example.com to register.
AND THERE'S A DOCUMENTARY MOVIE TOO ... As a special added attraction, we will be presenting the Canadian Premiere of a recently released and acclaimed documentary about Alasdair Fraser at 6pm on the day of the performance. The Groove is Not Trivial follows Alasdair’s personal journey in search of self expression, a quest that has led him to dig deep into his Scottish musical roots. There he finds a universal pulse — a groove — that runs through his virtuosic performances with cellist Natalie Haas and his dynamic teaching at his wildly popular, freewheeling fiddle camps in California, Scotland, and Spain. At his gatherings around the world for musicians of all ages and abilities, ‘the groove’ is a through-line from the past that sparks hopeful possibilities for the future. The movie is being shown in Canada for the first time, and it runs for just over an hour, starting at 6pm. It is included in the concert ticket, and there will be pizza from a local restaurant available (by donation) from 7pm.This is the first time Alasdair & Natalie have presented a workshop and the movie and concert on the same day. Anywhere! The day is a public holiday (Family Day) so we are honoured to mark the occasion with a full day with two of the finest musicians in Celtic music today, celebrating the legacy of Scots immigration and pioneers in BC in this special year! Don't miss this unique celebration of Scottish music and its roots in the groove!
Please note that the admission price for this concert includes a $2 Venue Improvement Fee that we are required by the St. James Square to collect from every patron. Starting in September 2016, the proceeds from this temporary fee will be used for construction projects such as ventilation, flooring and washrooms that will make the hall a nicer place for you to visit in the future. If you wish, you can make a secure donation by clicking on the big blue button at the bottom of the page at www.sjcommunitysquare.org. For information on donating by phone or post, please contact the St. James Square office at 604-739-9373.