My husband had reason to be in Washington, D.C., today (Sunday) and he spent
some time at the festival on the Mall. Here are some highlights:
"Saw Ralph Blizard (pronounced blizzard), fine old time fiddler, and Green
Grass Cloggers, who say they invented the use of clogging steps in square
formation in 1978, I think, and it has spread widely since then.
Got a pastie dinner and McEwans, and saw Johnny Cunningham of Battlefield
a solo appearance. His stories were almost as good as his fiddling (Granny
teaching him to swim by putting him chest down on a piano bench and playing
a strathspey recording to give him the rhythm for the breast stroke; he
began the next set of tunes with the particular strathspey that his
grandmother always put on--he has never forgotten it), which however sounded
Irish in tempo and attitude.
Then the Alisdair Fraser performance, his last of the folk festival. He
played some traditional tunes
alone, then other traditional tunes with a young cellist Natalie Haas from
Also, the Shetland Island fiddle group, "Fiddlers' Bid," were superb on
stage. Their technical precision, artistry, and wild enthusiasm left the
crowded tents or dance floor in an uproar every time.
When I started to leave just after closing time today, I heard live fiddle
music, but couldn't see a band. I finally found them sitting on beer kegs
behind the food tent -- entertaining the festival staff.
We were jamming until 2:45 am Saturday night, and we were among the last few
to leave the rooftop party as the sun started to lighten the sky this
They're through at the Folklife Festival (flying out later today), but they
have a track on the Fest's "Scotland the Real" CD, which includes talented
Fiona Ritchie's choices of Scottish bands.