CD review by Tony Smith
The main fiddlers on this 2003 CD are Marcus Holden, Clare O’Meara, Mark Oats and Andrew Clermont.
They are joined by many other musicians including Garry Steel, Ollie Cechini, Willy Qua and Peter Kennard.
The website now has information about Fiddlers Feast, presumably a new generation FF.
The 14 tracks on the album include not just fiddles but a huge range of instruments plucked, bowed, whacked, blown and tinkled.
A feature is the use on a couple of tracks of the Strohviol, the so-called ‘horned strings’.
The listener also gets Clare O’Meara’s rich voice on Duke Ellington’s, ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing’ and ‘Texas Fiddle Girl’.
The most prominent arrangers are Holden, Oats and O’Meara but you also get music by Bluegrass guru, Bill Monroe, tango maestro, Astor Piazzola, jazz pioneer, Duke Ellington, and others.
There is a Zydeco set, a ‘Jewish’ medley, Bill Monroe’s ‘Jerusalem’, and Libertango by Astor Piazzola.
These compositions lend themselves to the swing style of fiddle playing with which Marcus Holden is so familiar.
It is however, the traditional tunes from the standard repertoire which would likely interest most fiddle players.
These include, Humours of Westport, President Garfield’s Hornpipe, Salamanca, Banshee, Sailor’s Bonnet, Musical Priest, Per Diem Set, Pumpherston, Cuckoo’s Nest, Congress Reel and Flowers of Edinburgh.
Being largely high in pitch and tempo, this CD is aurally intense.
It might be better appreciated in smaller bites if you want to listen actively to this lively music.
Also available by Fiddlers Feast are Live – TN506-52, Strung Out – TN512-52, Frenzee – TN497-47 and Caravan – TN1860-40