Think fiddles. Think foot-tapping. Think fast and fiery! Across – a new Fiddle Collective spanning Europe and Canada.
Unlike other fiddle combos you might have encountered, Across is not just a Celtic band. Their influences come from as far afield as Alberta in Western Canada, ranging across the Métis culture of Manitoba and the French Canadian riches of Quebec.
Alex Kusturok, a third generation Métis fiddler, combines Canadian oldtime with Canada’s Scottish and Irish repertoire, and brings the swing and stomp of Métis dances to bear on every tune. Arthur Coates, brought up with Scottish music, was bewitched as a teenager by the rhythms and cadences of Quebec. He’s still a teenager – barely – and is now a master of these quirky driving tunes, complete with complex foot percussion and spontaneous vocalisations!
Gab Fauré from Brittany continues the French connection with a combination of Celtic dance music and Gallic flair, ranging east and south as the mood takes him. Young Anglo-Irish fiddler Owen Spafford tempers his classic Irish style with a modern eclecticism including English music and many of his own compositions, and guitarist Niall Hughes holds the four fiddles together with his six strings.
This band is a real gumbo, a bouillabaisse of fiddle flavours, different generations and approaches. I have heard all these players individually or in small groups, but never as a quintet. Well nobody has – the world-first launch of Across will take place at the Festival International de Louisiane, on Sunday 25th April!
More details are available at festivalinternational.org – and after that who knows?
Photo Credits: (1) Across : Fiddlers Collective, (2) Festival International de Louisiane (unknown/website).