It's no secret that I'm pretty passionate about exploring Old World styles of music and how they relate to our fiddles. 😊
I've been lucky enough to run across a few musicians who try to keep much of this music alive, by promoting these lesser known traditional styles and making it more accessible to us fiddlers.
I was very impressed with a couple workshops I attended, at this past April's Fiddle Hell, by Beth Bahia Cohen - so, I'll start with her.
Beth Bahia Cohen is an Assistant Professor of Strings at Berklee College of Music. From their website:
Beth Bahia Cohen is a violinist of Syrian Jewish and Russian Jewish heritage. Inspired at a young age by the sounds she heard at family gatherings, she went on to study with master musicians from Hungary, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. She plays the violin, viola, Greek lyras, Turkish bowed tanbur and kabak kemane, Norwegian hardingfele, and Egyptian rababa.
Here's a fabulous recent video program that shows Beth Bahia Cohen talking about & playing some wonderful examples of violin/fiddle music you may not be aware of. (Revels, inc)
• I never asked her what strings she uses on her Violin - can anyone tell from the close-ups of the silks, what they are offhand (I haven't ck'd the string ID chart, yet)?
• Notice how beautifully Beth plays, even though the evidence of arthritis means it's probably pretty painful?
Revels goes on to mention:
Beth is a founding member of the Greek ensemble Ziyiá, a frequent teacher with the Eastern European Folklife Center, and an Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music, where she leads the Berklee Greek Ensemble and the Berklee Global Strings Ensemble.
Here's a great video program from 'Autumn Salon' where Beth plays some Violin and Yayli Tanbur (Turkish bowed long-neck lute) music from areas of Greece, with Vasilis Kostas.
Early cultural styles of music from all over our planet were very unique, with distinct characteristics, because regions were more isolated than today. Trade and immigration helped spread traditions, back then.
Discovery of Worldwide, early fiddle music is exciting!
...sure hope I'm not the only fiddler interested.