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Fiddle Week at Swannanoa

Item posted: Tuesday 2nd August , 2005

I celebrated the end of Swannanoa gathering with a visit to the Cherokee Casino and gambled big style -with my new fiddling friend and Scottish music convert - Bob. Then we drove around the Blue Ridge parkway through the misty mountains. I found out that this area is subtropical - ~I thought so. The fiddle week was wonderful and different to the Celtic week. It kicked off with John Daly, Calum Mackinnon and myself playing lots of slow airs and Tom Anderson Tunes. Wow John Daly is a real Tom Anderson officianado . We had a great time sitting on the grass in the moonlight with crowds gathering, people occasionally joining in or taping or videoing us all to the soundtrack of very noisy sicadas and the smell of barbeque and beer. There were a lot of swing, old time and blue grass as well as Irish and guitar and contemporary folk classes. Loads to take in and lots to Jam with. On Tuesday I played a set with fantastic guitarist Robin Bullock and we went down really well. Pity I had sold out of cds during Celtic week. There were amazing performances from Bobby Hicks and Buddy Spiker as well as John Daly and Maeve Donnelly. I joined Calum Mackinnon for a harmony on his beautiful rendition of Lament for the death of Archie Beaton. Great tunes with the old time boys - James Leva and Raiff Stephanini. My fiddle varnish started melting during the week with the heat and I developed a bad rash on my neck which is how I met Bob Christmas, the swing playing doctor who I managed to convert to Scottish. Jerry Holland reckons that my fiddle and his are related - they are both Austrian and old and look identical. On the last day Calum and his class came into mine and performed a new tune that Calum had written the night before -