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Anyone else love The Road North - Alasdair Fraser?


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Hearing Alasdair play inspired me to switch from Irish to Scottish fiddle back in the '80s, and also to take several more years of lessons to try and improve my technique! Living in the SF Bay Area I get a lot of opportunities to hear him live and I always get a boost from his playing. I just relistened to "The Road North" and there's a lot of technique there; good luck with that one! That's highland-style fiddling, inspired by pipe playing, which explains all the percussive-sounding ornaments. I like that whole CD a lot, also Skyedance (the Fraser/Machlis one, not the band by that name that he plays in). -Steve

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Lucky Steve! I do hope to someday hear Alasdair Fraser, live,and dare to dream of going to one of his schools.

When, is part 2 of Legacy coming out!?

Crystal, what have you and your teacher found out about getting the reedy, piping sound? I've been trying to imitate it since I first heard the tune. The whole CD is perfect.

By the way, my lastest passion is Winnie Chafe (Cape Breton). If any of you can get your hands on a CD, snatch it up! She's as expressive as Alasdair, but...different. OH the waltzes are fantastic! I was able to get a CD from Charlie's music in Cheticamp, NS. I haven't found any sheet music yet, but have asked my (wonderful composer) mother to write some arrangements for me. My abilities are limited to transcribing the theme.

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Alasdair Fraser really is an awesome player! I've been to Valley of the Moon (his camp in San Jose) twice and loved it both times.

I'm also a member of the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers which he's the head of. Unfortunately, I live in San Diego and have a hard time getting up there for meetings.

If any of you got to see him tour this past summer, he was playing with an amazing cellist. Her name is Natalie Haas and she's one of my really close friends. She got to tour with him this summer in the US and France and goes to Juilliard during the year. I'm so jealous!

He's also a guest artist on Darol Anger's Diary of a Fiddler CD which is also awesome. Natalie Macmaster, Bruce Molsky, Martin Hayes, Stuart Duncan, Vassar Clements, Matt Glasser, and Richard Greene are also on it. Definitely worth it to buy.


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The two most frequent techniques he is using is the birl and the grace notes. I thought the percussive sound was from something that he is doing with his bow, but it seems that he is smacking his fingers down in a certain way for those grace notes and that is giving it that sound.

I'm working hard at it, with the hopes of doing it 1/4 as good!

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BobbiFiddler, regarding Legacy of the Scottish Fiddle Vol. 2, I asked about it at Culburnie's booth at the Pleasanton CA Scottish games over Labor Day weekend and they said they'd hoped to have it available there but that it had been delayed (didn't say why). I'm on Culburnie's e-mail list but haven't heard anything more about it. I'm really looking forward to that one; Legacy vol. 1 is a beautiful album (and I think Natalie Haas is on the new one?). -Steve

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