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String Sisters, comprised of six of the world’s top fiddlers and a peerless quartet of piano, guitar, bass and drums, will be launching their long-awaited second album ‘Between Wind and Water’ at Letterkenny Tradweek.
String Sisters blends Nordic and Celtic traditions into a glorious riot of all-encompassing sound. With band members from Shetland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland and the United States, this is a internationally-appealing combo with an incredible pedigree.
The band was founded at Celtic Connections in 2001 by Shetland fiddler Catriona Macdonald. Catriona is currently a Senior Lecturer on the BMus Folk Degree at Newcastle University, a leading fiddle music composer and an enthusiastic proponent of the Shetland fiddle tradition.
On hardanger fiddle we have Annbjørg Lien, one of Norway’s most eminent fiddlers. She has collaborated with musicians from all over the globe and is a key player on the world music stage. This September Annbjørg was awarded the prestigious Anders Jahre Cultural Prize for her outstanding contribution to folk music.
From the United States String Sisters’ Liz Carroll and Liz Knowles both come from the Irish tradition. Liz Carroll is a legendary fiddler who has been junior and senior All-Ireland Fiddle Champion. In 2010 she was the first Irish-American musician to be nominated for a Grammy and in 2011 she was the first US-born composer honoured with the Cumadóir TG4, Ireland’s most significant traditional music prize. Meanwhile Liz Knowles has her own distinctive sound. Combining Irish fiddle with the tonal richness of classical violin, she is in demand globally as a virtuosic live performer and versatile recording artist. Her credits range from fiddler for Riverdance to soloist on the soundtrack for the film Michael Collins.
Also on fiddle we have two musicians who are also accomplished singers. Emma Härdelin from Sweden who comes from a family of nationally-acclaimed musicians and lends her hauntingly beautiful voice to folk-rock band Garmarna, traditional trio Triakel and String Sisters. Joining Emma on two duets on the new album is Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh from Ireland. One of the most important carriers of the Donegal fiddle style, Mairéad performs all over the world with her band Altan, and in February this year was honoured with the Gradam Ceoil, one of the most prestigious prizes in Irish traditional music.
The band is completed by Dave Milligan on piano, Tore Bruvoll on guitar, Conrad Molleson on bass and James Mackintosh on drums.
The new album, ‘Between Wind and Water’, features new compositions by Catriona Macdonald, Annbjørg Lien, Liz Carroll, Liz Knowles, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Dave Milligan and Tore Bruvoll plus traditional tunes and songs from Shetland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United States.