Alasdair Fraser, the “Michael Jordan of fiddling,” and renowned cellist Natalie Haas play at The Myrna Loy at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8.
Come experience cutting-edge fiddle and cello explorations in a night of music that spans time and place.
The duo’s dazzling teamwork, driving rhythms, and shared passion for improvising on Scottish tunes has helped reconstruct and revive the Scottish tradition of playing dance music on violin and cello.
“The fiddle and cello together, it comes as a surprise to people. But they’ve never heard what Natalie can do. She’s the rhythm, the groove, the drums, the melody,” says Fraser.
Natalie and Alasdair have been playing together for 23 years, ever since she was a student at Fraser’s fiddle camp. And while they enjoy playing the classic tunes, they’re excited to play a few new compositions as well.
“It’s an honor to play the old tunes, to draw from the Scottish tradition and drink from the old well, as they say. But it’s a living tradition and when we play, we’re also asking, ‘What about today? What are we saying right now?’” says Fraser.
Fraser, who has family in Moccasin (a small railway town near Lewistown), says playing in Montana is “a homecoming of sorts.” After a recent visit, in which Fraser went in search of a nearby lake for a swim, he says he ended up walking nearly 10 miles, in which two jigs were born: “Moccasin Walk” and “Ackley Lake,” which audiences will get to hear.
“No matter what’s being played, it’s about being in the moment and expressing yourself. Finding your voice, connecting with people. And we just have so much fun doing it!”
Long regarded as Scotland’s premier fiddle ambassador, Fraser says working with Haas is the fulfillment of a long-standing musical dream. The Herald remarks on the musical pairing, “As many gigs as they must have played together over the past decade or so, there remains a striking spontaneity about Fraser and Haas’s music-making… What makes them so consistently absorbing is the responsiveness each shows to the other.”
A recent review from The Boston Globe says of Fraser and Haas, “While his fiddle dances, her cello throbs darkly or plucks puckishly. Then [Haas] opens her cello’s throat, joining Fraser in soaring sustains, windswept refrains, and sudden, jazzy explosions. Their sound is as urbane as a Manhattan midnight, and as wild as a Clackmannan winter.”
The pair arrived in Montana last week, having finished an East Coast and Midwest tour, with just one week off. “It’s been great. We’re road warriors,” says Fraser.
They offered shows in Missoula, Billings, Bozeman, and Choteau before performing at the Myrna Loy this Wednesday.
They’ll also be doing a school outreach program Wednesday morning with fourth graders at Warren Elementary.
Tickets are $25. Call or visit The Myrna Loy box office at 406-443-0287, 15 N. Ewing or online at themyrnaloy.com.