Gig review: Scots Fiddle Festival Outreach Project, Edinburgh

Queen's Hall. Picture: TSPL
Queen's Hall. Picture: TSPL
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THE Saturday night concert in the weekend-long Scots Fiddle Festival, Fiddle 2013, was headlined by Finnish group Frigg with their distinctive brand of “Nordgrass” – Nordic folk and American bluegrass laced with traditional Scots and Irish music.

Queen’s Hall

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With four fiddlers in front and a super-tight back row of guitar, double bass and mandolin/cittern, the septet swayed and stomped their way through a heady mix of tunes. Contributions from the group included Economy Class, complete with rock’n’roll turbulence, by bassist Antti Jarvela, and guitarist Tuomas Logren’s tribute to Finnish saunas, Pail Polska.

Dances such as polkas, schottisches and waltzes provide the structure for the tunes with frenzied fiddles and turbo-charged back-beat to create Frigg’s slick trademark sound.

In the first half of the concert fiddler Troy MacGillivray played lively sets of jigs, clogs and reels with Allan Dewar vamping brilliantly on the keyboard – the duo jetted in from Nova Scotia just for the weekend. MacGillivray is a sensational fiddler who excels in the Scottish tradition. Highlights included jigs by Wilfred Gillis, Scott Skinners’ The Hurricane and, taking to the keyboard, MacGillivray played his beautiful version of Niel Gow’s Lament for the death of his second wife.

The concert began with rousing tunes from eight talented young fiddlers on the 2013 Scots Fiddle Festival Outreach Project, including Danish Hut, which they have also recorded.