Natalie is one of the most sought after cellists playing traditional music today. She and Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser have toured as a duo for over 15 years, wowing audiences at festivals and concerts worldwide with their unique sound. Their first album together, Fire & Grace, was awarded Best Album of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards 2004. Natalie has also toured with Mark O'Connor as a member of his Appalachia Waltz Trio. She and O'Connor premiered his double concerto for violin and cello, ¨For The Heroes¨, with the Grand Rapids, East Texas, and San Diego Symphonies. As a studio musician, Natalie has been a guest artist on over 50 albums, including those of Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, Irish greats Altan, Solas, and Liz Carroll, and Americana icon Dirk Powell.
A graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with cellist Fred Sherry, Natalie discovered the cello at age nine. In addition to having extensive classical music training, she is accomplished in a broad array of fiddle genres. Her music journey found purpose when she fell in love with Celtic music at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School at age 11. Inspired and encouraged by director Fraser, she began to investigate the cello's potential for rhythmic accompaniment to fiddle tunes, and to this day, the two continue to resurrect and reinvent the cello's historic role in Scottish music.
Natalie's skills as an educator make her one of the most in demand teachers at fiddle camps across the globe. She also teaches privately and in a workshop setting, and holds an associate professorship at the Berklee College of Music. Natalie now makes her home in Boston, where she is an active member of the traditional music scene.
Yann Falquet is a very active and creative acoustic guitar player on the Québécois music scene. He has explored many styles of music and completed a Bachelors degree in Jazz. Since then, he has developed a personal guitar style for Québec folk music, inspired by the playing of the accompanists of different cultures (Brittany, Scandinavia, Ireland, North America).
His involvement in the province's traditional music scene has brought Yann to perform on numerous recordings, and to tour regularly throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia with his main project Genticorum. He also toured for three years with the award winning Celtic and world group The McDades.
Yann has taught his guitar style at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, at the Goderich Celtic College as well as for Alasdair Fraser's Fiddle Train and Sierra Fiddle Camp.
Described by one critic as “a phenomenal harp player who can make her instrument ring with unparalleled purity”, Maeve Gilchrist has taken the Celtic harp to new levels of performance.
Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, and based in Brooklyn, New York, Maeve‘s innovative folk-jazz fusion approach to her instrument stretches its harmonic limits and improvisational possibilities. She is as at home playing with a traditional Irish folk group as she is with an American string band or a contemporary ensemble.
She tours internationally as band leader or soloist and has appeared at such major music events as Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Tanglewood Jazz festival, the World Harp Congress in Amsterdam and the opening of the Scottish Parliament. She has played with such luminaries as Kathy Mattea, Esperanza Spalding, Tony Trishka and Alasdair Fraser.
Maeve has released four albums to date, including her most recent recording, 20 Chandler Street, on Adventure Records, with bassist Aidan O’Donnell and fiddler Duncan Wickel, while on her own label her solo Ostinato Project is a beguiling exploration of the possibilities of her instrument.
She also maintains a widely acclaimed duo project with percussive dancer Nic Gareiss and tours regularly with bluegrass fiddle ace Darol Anger.
Maeve also teaches widely, and is the first lever harpist to be employed as an instructor by Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she graduated. She has written several instructional books published by Hal Leonard Music.
Michigan-born dancer, musician, and dance researcher Nic Gareiss has studied a broad variety of percussive movement forms from around the world. At the age of eight he began taking tap lessons with Sam and Lisa Williams at Vision Studio of Performing Arts in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Soon after, he was exposed to fiddle music and traditional dance at the Wheatland Music Organization’s annual Traditional Arts Weekend. It was there that he had his first instruction in Appalachian clogging with Michigan dance mentor, Sheila Graziano. As a teenager, Nic also studied Irish step dance with John Heinzman, T.C.R.G., Appalachian flat-footing with Ira Bernstein, Québécois step dance with Benoit Bourque, and improvisation and composition with Sandy Silva.
In 2001, Nic began an educational relationship with the internationally-renowned company, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. After meeting Footworks’ director, NEA Choreography Fellow Eileen Carson at the Augusta Heritage Center dance camp, Nic was invited to spend nine weeks apprenticing with the company in Annapolis, Maryland. While working with Footworks, Gareiss danced in their evening-length theater show, Incredible Feets as well as two new collaborative works: SoleMates, with StepAfrika and The Crossing, with Grammy-winning recording artist Tim O’Brien.
In 2007, Nic spent a year studying traditional Irish music and dance performance at the Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick, Ireland. There he studied Cape Breton step dance with Mats Melin as well as Irish dance and choreography with Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain, T.C.R.G, A.D.C.R.G. He also studied privately with contemporary dance artist and Irish dancer Colin Dunne and sean-nós dancer Seosamh Ó Néachtain.
Nic has performed with many of the luminaries of traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, and North America, including The Chieftains, Dervish, Gráda, Beoga, Téada, FIDIL, Le Vent du Nord, Genticorum, Dr. Anthony Barrand, Buille, Liz Carroll, Frankie Gavin, Martin Hayes, Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger and Alasdair Fraser. His dancing has been seen on CMT in Uncle Earl's music video, Streak O' Lean, Steak O' Fat, and also on Ireland's RTÉ 2 in the film Unsung, commissioned by the Irish Arts Council, which premiered during the 2008 Dublin Dance Festival. He has performed for the Irish head of state, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen and American Energy Secretary Steven Chu. In 2011, Nic received two commissions from the Cork Opera House to create new solo percussive dance works for Reich’s pieces Six Marimbas and Clapping Music in honor of the composer’s 75th birthday. The commissions were hailed by the Irish Times as “a leftfield tour-de-force with irresistible wow factor.”
Nic continues to study, seeking out new forms of floor-music and shoe rhythms, recently studying flamenco with Felipe de Algeciras in Dublin and American percussive dance with Rhythm in Shoes founder and artistic director Sharon Leahy of Dayton, Ohio.
Nic has taught workshops in percussive dance technique, American clogging, musicality and improvisation internationally. He has had the pleasure of teaching at Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle Camp in northern California, as well as for Scottish Culture & Traditions Organization, The University of Limerick, Michigan State University, Alma College, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Derry, Northern Ireland. Through workshops for both movers and musicians, Nic seeks to remind students of the crucial, intrinsic, and historic place that percussive dance has held in the formation and development of many world music traditions as well as encourage dancers with the innately sonic capabilities of movement.
Nic holds degrees in anthropology and music from Central Michigan University. In 2011, he earned a distinction from the Norwegian University for Science and Technology’s IPEDAM Erasmus Intensive for Ethnochoreologists. Nic completed post-graduate work in 2012, earning a MA in ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick. He continues to tour internationally, working with dance communities and presenting solo percussive dance choreography and dance research.
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