//Ad libs: The cello can bellow

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The cello can bellow

The cello may be mellow, but you would not believe how much Natalie Haas can make it jump and jive. One of two young musician sisters from Menlo Park, Natalie has led a fast-paced touring life since graduating from Juilliard last year. She lives in New York City now but will be back in the Bay Area for a gig in Saratoga on March 26.

While classically trained, Natalie is on a mission to show that the cello can take off as a rhythmic fixture in Scottish dance music. She’s sold me. When she pairs up with Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, the two are on fire, trading harmonies and melodies, flying far above us mortals. (Listen to a sample below.)

interviewed Natalie and her sister, Brittany, a fiddler with a love for “old-time” folk tunes, a few years back for The Almanac and enjoyed seeing the two of them play together. You’d never know a Southern Appalachian folk song or a Norwegian hat dance could have such infectious energy. I would have danced along, but I didn’t have a hat.

Brittany is now a freshman at Princeton studying ecology and evolutionary biology, but still making time for fiddling gigs -- and learning how to play the Indian tabla drum, her mother, Barbara, tells me: “She’s kind of like a kid in a candy store sampling everything.”

Natalie’s gig is at 7:30 p.m. this Sunday at the Carriage House Theatre at the Montalvo Arts Center.
Event info is here.

Media in this post:

Listen to Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas playing an excerpt from “St. Kilda Wedding/Brose and Butter” from their CD “Fire and Grace.” (.mp3 file, 33 sec.)