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World unites on fiddle and accordion at Strathpeffer
The Inverness Courier - 23rd February 2007

A MUSICAL world tour without leaving the comfort of the Spa Pavilion is on offer at Strathpeffer tonight.

From icy Sweden to steamy Louisiana, taking in rainy Scotland on the way, an international cast of seven world class performers will showcase fiddle and accordion traditions of two continents — including Scotland’s best known box and fiddle duo, Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain.

Joining them will be Swedish counterparts Bjorn Stabi and Bengan Janson.

Stabi was probably the first traditional Swedish fiddler to perform in the United States when he appeared at the famous Newport Folk Festival some 30 years ago and his 1970 album “Swedish Folk Fiddling” is credited with introducing his country’s music to many listeners outside Sweden.

He remains one of the most renowned folk fiddlers in Scandinavia, but has also diversified into medieval and rock styles.

He and Janson — one of Sweden’s foremost traditional accordionists — have been collaborating for the last decade, though this still makes them relative newcomers in comparison with Phil and Aly, who will mark their partnership’s 20th anniversary with a tour this summer.

Stabi and Janson, along with singer Gunnel Mauritzson, perform as the trio Nåra.

Louisiana is represented by two of the biggest names in Cajun music in the Savoy Doucet Band.

Swedish duo Bjorn Stabi and Bengan Janson. Accordionist Marc Savoy, who is joined by his wife Anne on guitar and vocals, was born on an isolated rice farm in an area rich in traditional Cajun culture and went on to play with such key figures in the Louisiana scene as Rodney and Dewey Balfa, D.L. Menard, Doc Guidry and Dennis McGee.

In 1982 he was awarded the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and is a respected accordion builder and ambassador for the state’s Francophone culture. Fiddler Michael Doucet is founder and leader of one of Cajun music’s most successful groups, Beausoleil, recording 15 albums with the Grammy winning band.

As an adjunct professor at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in his home city of Lafayette, Doucet designed and taught the first course on Cajun music.

The tour is part of the Tune Up series, funded by the Scottish Arts Council, which will also bring award winning Touareg band Tinariwen from Mali to Inverness next month.

Ian Smith, head of music for Scottish Arts Council said: “Tune Up is proving to be a fantastic success for the Scottish Arts Council and for the many people throughout Scotland that it now reaches.

“We have received incredible feedback nationwide from audiences big and small who thoroughly enjoyed the live music on offer during past Tune Up tours.”

 

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