BRAHM Hosts Mountain Home Music’s 2015 Celtic Concert on Saturday, March 21

Published Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Jamie, Tara, Evan composite

Celtic music fans, it’s time to break out those kilts and tartans. Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music will usher in spring this Saturday night, March 21, with a special Celtic Concert – The Scots-Irish Bluegrass Forefathers – at the Blowing Rock History & Art Museum.

Featuring U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, Jamie Laval and His Merry Band of Scottish Players, this concert will be hosted by the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Laval, who once made a private appearance for Her Majesty the Queen of England, creates rapt audiences with his passionate performances of traditional music of Scotland, Ireland, Brittany and Quebec, blending an ancient art form with stunning virtuosity and contemporary flair that resonates with families, youth, seniors, and devotees of ethnic, jazz, and classical music. During this concert, Jamie will weave stories of the Scots-Irish who settled here in the High Country and how their music influenced old-time and bluegrass music in Appalachia.

Joining Laval will be Tara Cunningham, a powerful young fiddler from Scotland, and Evan Kinney, heir to the acclaimed family of Appalachian Old Time musicians from Georgia and winner of numerous fiddler conventions throughout the Southeast. Together, this trio combines toe-tapping Celtic melodies, amusing and informative stories, foot percussion, and an innovative arrangement style to create a beautiful atmosphere of the Scottish Highlands that follows the Scots-Irish immigration to North Carolina.

Special guest, Watagua County’s Maura Shawn Scanlin will open the concert with a tune she wrote in honor of Mountain Home Music founder Joe Shannon. In 2013, Maura Shawn was crowned champion at the Glenfiddich Fiddle Competition, considered to be the most prestigious competition in traditional Scottish music.

“Though St. Paddy’s Day with its Irish music is the most nationally celebrated event of our Appalachian Celtic connection, it was really the music and culture brought to the High Country by the Ulster/Scots that has had the most influence on our local musical traditions” say JSMHM director Rodney Sutton. “JSMHM’s first concert of 2015 will shine a light on both the similarities and differences of these distinct styles of Celtic music and Jamie Laval is the perfect performer to share this story,” Sutton added.

What sets Laval’s music in a class by itself is the nuance, virtuosity, and musical craftsmanship he brings to an ancient art form. Simple Celtic folk melodies are transformed into epic tonal narratives that take the listener on an emotional journey from quiet melancholy to wild jubilation.

The making of his trademark style began at the Victoria Conservatory of Music where he studied classical violin. He performed actively throughout the Pacific Northwest as a professional symphony musician, recording studio artist, improvising violinist, and contra dance fiddler. Eventually his passion for the haunting sounds of rural Irish and Scottish folk music usurped all other preoccupations, and he has devoted himself exclusively to Celtic music ever since. In 2002 Jamie won the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship and subsequently embarked on a full time touring career that today includes 100 engagements per year throughout the U.S. and Scotland.

Laval now lives in Asheville, North Carolina and takes a keen interest in the musical and historical ties that connect his Appalachian home with the dispersion of Celtic peoples from their original homeland. For five years he served on the faculty of The Swannanoa Gathering, the celebrated summer institute for traditional arts and music.

Laval has recorded three solo albums to date. Murmurs and Drones, his most recent, won the popular vote for “Best World Traditional Album” in the 2012 Independent Music Awards. Laval has also collaborated on numerous television, film, and CD recordings, including Dave Matthews’ Some Devil, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wild America, and WB-TV series Everwood.

Recent live performances include the Bijou Theatre (Knoxville), Wintergrass Festival (Tacoma), the Freight & Salvage (Berkeley), Swallow Hill Productions (Denver), Club Passim (Boston), The Fringe Festival (Edinburgh), the NBC Today Show, The West Coast Live radio show, and a private appearance for Her Majesty
the Queen.

Please note that this special performance at The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum is being billed as a “Get to Know Us” JSMHM concert.

The date is this coming Saturday, March 21st. Doors open at 7 p.m., the concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or on-line at www.mountainhomemusic.com. Ticket prices are half off (no advanced purchase discount) – Adults $10, Students $5 and children under 6 free. BRAHM is located at 159 Chestnut Street, Blowing Rock.

This program is funded in part by the Watagua County Arts Council and Grassroots funds from the North Carolina Arts Council.

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