Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fiddler steps out to play own tunes

The Basque Irish Connection (Photo credit:'s been seen on stage performing solo with Riverdance and now Ireland's Niamh Ni Charra is coming to London.

The multiple award winning fiddler and concertina player who toured for eight years with Riverdance, performing in more than 2,500 shows, will be at Aeolian Hall Thursday playing her own music backed by Cathall King on flute and Matt Griffin on guitar.

Ni Charra was in London in April when she rejoined the famed dancers for a farewell Riverdance tour.

This time she'll be performing songs from her own songbook, including her highly acclaimed, award winning CDs, On Da Thaobh (From Both Sides) (2007), Sugach Samh (Happy Out) (2010) and 2011's The Basque Irish Connection, recorded in collaboration with Basque musician Ibon Koteron. She is working on her fourth album, due for release in March 2013.

Ni Charra's musical journey began at the age of four and saw her performing at festivals and with some of the world's Irish traditional folk musicians, including the Chieftans before she became a teenager.

"I basically was raised in pubs learning tunes from old men," said Ni Charra in a recent interview.

Ni Charra is equally talented on the fiddle and concertina (an accordian-like instrument).

As an adult, Ni Charra went to college and studied electronic engineering, was hired by an Irish software company and was often sent to Boston on business, where she started meeting Irish musicians and started playing again.

"In the end, I followed my heart, resigned from my job, and returned home and to the music," said Ni Charra.

Interestingly, it was while she was in Boston performing at various bars with other musicians that she was spotted by Riverdance recruiters and when she finished a course in music management and sound she joined them and toured the world as a solo performer for eight years.

"You know, it's funny, but if I hadn't taken that engineering job, I probably never would have ended up in Riverdance," said Ni Charra.

It was the Riverdance experience that helped Ni Charra hone her skills.

"There's the technical aspect of having to play the same speed every night for the dancers, then there was also the stage craft for me as well," Ni Charra said.

Fiddler steps out to play own tunes | Music | Entertainment | London Free Press:

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