The Charlotte Folk Society will present Celtic musicians Jamie Laval and Ashley Broder in their debut Charlotte performance on Friday, January 11, 2008 at 7:30 PM. The hour-long concert will take place in the Bryant Recital Hall of the Sloan-Morgan Building, 1220 Elizabeth Avenue, on the CPCC Central Campus in Charlotte. A refreshment break follows the concert and precedes a song circle and slow and fast jam sessions; beginners and listeners are welcomed. CFS Gatherings are free and family-friendly; donations are greatly appreciated. Free parking is available in the Staff and Theatre Parking Deck, accessed from 4th Street, between Charlottetown Avenue (formerly Independence Boulevard) and Kings Drive. Please note: Elizabeth Avenue between Kings Drive and Charlottetown Avenue is now closed for a project expected to be completed in October. For more information, call Wanda Hubicki at 704-563-7080 or visit www.folksociety.org.
Combining the talents of champion Scottish fiddler Jamie Laval with those of champion mandolinist Ashley Broder created a magical partnership that provides audiences with intimate yet powerful and innovative performances of Irish, Scottish, Bretagne, Cape Breton, and Quebecois music. Jamie Laval says that listeners should expect "very old Irish and Scottish melodies played in a fresh setting, arranged in a different manner . . . the very old done new and the new done old. Our new compositions are written to sound like bagpipe pieces on steroids. It's old sounds with a modern sensibility." They blend music from the Celtic diaspora with other forms of folk and Americana music, delivering technically challenging pieces with lighthearted playfulness. Laval and Broder met in 2005 at the National Old Time Fiddle contest in Weiser, Idaho, and spent the next six months forging a new duo style. The pair now resides in Asheville and tour together full-time throughout the United States and Scotland. Last summer they both served on the staff of the Swannanoa Gathering's Fiddle Week.
Ashley Broder hails from Camarillo, California. Inspired by an elementary school music demonstration, she became a violin and mandolin player before the age of ten. During her early teens, she competed in local, state, and national fiddle and mandolin competitions, winning the Western Open Master Picker Championship in 2003 and 2004. At fifteen, she was performing with a country rock band as well as a bluegrass/jazz/blues trio. Broder also worked as a studio musician. Following high school, she went on to major in music at Moorpark College in California, where she studied cello and violin, as well as teaching violin and mandolin. She has been an instructor at the Mandolin Symposium in Santa Cruz, California, and collaborated in 2004 with world-renowned acoustic musician Mike Marshall in the creation of his Mandolin Method books. Marshall describes her as, "a rising star in the world of traditional and alternative music." Laval, comments on his partner's performance style: "There is an effortlessness about Ashley's playing. Whether it be a virtuoso mandolin solo break, a languorous cello line, a fancifully crafted original compositions, or a clear-toned tune from her fiddle, her music spins out like a sinuous ribbon of pure fun." (Visit www.ashleybroder.com)
Jamie Laval is considered one of the premier Celtic fiddlers on the international scene today. His passionate performances run the gamut from tender and melancholy to wildly jubilant. Winner of the 2002 U. S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship, Jamie has been heralded in Scotland as "a new star for the Old World" by Fiddle On Magazine and "the next Alasdair Fraser" by the Scotland Press and Post. Before joining with Broder, he performed as both a solo fiddler and professional symphony violinist. His major performances include the Northwest Folklife Festival's Fiddler Showcase in Seattle, the Scots Fiddle Festival in Edinburgh, and a private appearance for Her Majesty, the Queen of England.
Jamie Laval's interest in music was also sparked in his youth. Growing up in Washington state, he mowed lawns and delivered newspapers to enable him to purchase his first musical instrument, a clarinet. He tried guitar and French horn before the violin caught and kept his attention. He buckled down at age sixteen, practicing four to six hours daily to "make up for lost time." He left home the last year of high school to attend the Victoria Conservatory of Music in British Columbia, Canada. After his student years, he traveled extensively, immersing himself in a range of musical styles, including classical, jazz, and folk. The rhythm, bagpipes, and forlorn emotion of traditional Celtic music appeal to Laval: "The music of a historically downtrodden and struggling people projects a bleak sound into the music. It is inherently melancholy, even with a fast tempo. It's as if they were dancing in spite of their pain." (Visit www.jamielaval.com)
Laval and Broder's first recording together, Zephyr in the Confetti Factory, has earned unstinting praise. "There are many good players in the world who can play jigs, reels, and strathspeys, but few who can take those themes and develop them, bringing in ideas that are not the least bit traditional. Zephyr in the Confetti Factory occasionally even brings Bach and Grapelli to mind for its breadth of musical ideas and technical brilliance. It's a masterpiece." (David Perasso, Victory Music Review) Sample their roots-based progressive, acoustic Celtic string music at the top of this page.
Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are made possible, in part, through a Cultural Project Grant from the Arts & Science Council and the Grassroots Program of the North Carolina Arts Council.