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Katie McNally & Neil Pearlman

7 February 2016
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
United Church of Westford

Katie McNally was first introduced to fiddle music by her classical violin teacher at age 10 and immediately found in the Celtic traditions her musical home. From the earliest, teachers remarked on her natural style that was authentic, yet her own and identifiable. Years of study at fiddle and Celtic music camps from Atlantic Canada to Boston to California followed, feeding the excitement and laying the rich traditional footing from which her own uniquely roots-based modern compositions and playing style would be drawn.

Katie would go on to study Scottish Fiddle for several years with Hanneke Cassel, winning several US National Junior titles and in 2009, the New England Scottish Fiddle Championship. She first appeared at the legendary folk venue, Club Passim at age 13, where in January, 2013, she debuted her first CD, “Flourish,” to a sold out audience. Katie has been a member of the cross genre fiddle super-group, Childsplay, since 2009 and appears on their upcoming CD and concert video release, “As the Crow Flies,” produced by legendary Irish fiddler, Liz Carroll. She performs regularly as a soloist, as part of a duo with guitarist Eric McDonald, and is a member of all-woman trad group, Long Time Courting. In the fall of 2012, she accompanied famed Galician bagpiper Carlos Núñez on his North American tour to promote the release of his Sony Masterworks double album, “Discover.”

Katie tours, teaches, and performs at concert venues, music camps, festivals, and dances throughout the United States. She has played at the Newport Folk Festival, the Barns at Wolf Trap, The Freight and Salvage, Symphony Space, Benaroya Hall, as well as various folk venues throughout North America. She has studied Scottish dance and is a much sought-after musician for Scottish Country dances, balls, and camps for her lively, warm and infectious playing. Katie is a devoted teacher whose teaching style was molded by years of attendance at fiddle camps where learning music is about joy and community and fun! This is her approach whether working with her private students, in workshops, at fiddle camps, in musical outreach programs or at Boston’s Symphony Hall.

Katie attended both The University of Glasgow and The National Piping Centre in Glasgow Scotland where she studied ancient and modern Scottish Literature and Scottish traditional music. Katie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University in 2012 with concentrations in Music, English and Child Development where she earned The Etta and Harry Winokur Award for Outstanding Contribution to Performance.

Pianist and mandolinist Neil Pearlman is rapidly distinguishing himself as a uniquely innovative artist in the contemporary traditional music scene. Called “a tremendous pianist” on BBC Radio Scotland and “a force to be reckoned with” by WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan, Neil is recognized in many Celtic music circles for his unique approach to the piano. Rooted in traditional Cape Breton piano styles, Neil brings in ideas from many other genres and the result is an exciting new sound that remains true to its traditional roots. It was this fresh approach that led legendary Cape Breton fiddler Jerry Holland to say “watching Neil’s hands on the piano was like watching two spiders on crack!”

An accomplished Cape Breton step dancer as well, Neil grew up in the family band Highland Soles, led by father and mother Ed Pearlman and Laura Scott, both influential Scottish music and dance figures in the US. Neil has performed with Natalie MacMaster, Alasdair Fraser, Bruce MacGregor, Natalie Haas, Mike Block, Seamus Connolly, Kimberley Fraser, Maeve Gilchrist, Hanneke Cassel and Mike Vass, opened for Archie Fisher, split a bill with Jerry Holland and worked closely with many others. His career so far has taken him to Scotland, Spain, Mexico, Canada and all across the US.

Neil currently performs with a wide range of musical projects from traditional Scottish fiddle music to contemporary jazz. These include Alba’s Edge (Scottish/Jazz/Latin quartet), Soulsha (Scottish/West African/Funk 8 piece band), The Katie McNally Trio (“The new face of Scottish Fiddle in America” -Living Tradition Magazine), Party of Three (Contradance band) and Neil’s duo with father Ed Pearlman. Check out the “Projects” page here for more information.

collaborative presentation with Young Tradition Vermont

part of the 2015/2016 Westford Music Series

Refreshments following concert. Call 802-879-4028 for more information.

Neil Perlman and Katie McNally

Neil Perlman and Katie McNally