Hanneke Cassel: Folk Music Gone Worldwide

Imagine having “scribbles” instead of “dots” for your sheet music. For today’s special guest, Hanneke Cassel, that’s

Hanneke Cassel

Hanneke Cassel

the chosen norm…for the 40-60% she chooses to write at all.

Winning 1st place in the Instrumental category of the 2008 USA Songwriting Contest, this worldwide acclaimed fiddle player hails from Oregon, and began touring after graduating from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Beginning with a strong Texan influence, she discovered her true passion in the Scottish genre after winning a national contest and consequent scholarship to study with Alasdair Fraser and Buddy MacMaster, first for five summers at the Isle of Man, and later in California.

Her music is a refreshing blend of the traditional and the contemporary, with percussive uses of the cello and fiddle, and deliberately raspy tones for dramatic effect.

As she views the creative arts as a spiritual outlet, she also teaches on Fiddle Video, has taught and raised money for Many Hopes in Kenya, and has visited a children’s shelter in Beijing. A second visit to the latter in 2011 inspired the eponymous song of her 2013 album Dot the Dragon’s Eyes, a Chinese expression referring to a tale of how a painter’s dragon comes to life after adding that finishing touch.

We also discussed the heterogeneity of jigs and Scottish music, the importance of oral tradition and the influence of radio in defining folk music, fond memories of the late Buddy MacMaster, and her collaboration with a local pianist Dave Wiesler.

Speaking of local, Hanneke Cassel is coming to the NorthEast this April: next Wednesday, April 8th, at One Longfellow Square, Portland, ME; the following Friday, April 10th, the Me and Thee Coffeehouse, Marblehead, MA; and Friday, April 24th, the Institute of Musical Traditions, Rockville, MD.  Check out her Facebook for more information on these and other events!

The Interview

Hanneke Cassel
(Recorded live 03/31/15; host: Mandorichard), 44:56, 43.1 MB.

The Music

The following music is heard in this episode of The Music Room:

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Date / Notes
  • Hanneke Cassel / The Cypress, Le Jig a Tit-toine / Silver / 2006
  • Hanneke Cassel / Highlander’s Farewell, MacLaine of Loch Buie, Bedding of the Bride, Return to Milltown, Paddy Taylor’s / My Joy / 2001
  • Hanneke Cassel / Jungle Java / For Reasons Unseen / 2009
  • Hanneke Cassel / Dot the Dragon’s Eyes / Dot the Dragon’s Eyes / 2013

Photo provided by hannekecassel.com


Naomi Wachira

wachiraimege1This week on The Music Room, we talk to Naomi Wachira, an up-and-coming musician who had been voted Seattle’s Best Folk Singer by the publication Seattle Weekly. Naomi and had recently released her first full length self-titles album, following up on her 2012 EP African Girl.

Naomi names musicians like Miriam Makeba and Tracy Chapman as two of her musical influences. She also draws inspiration both from her homeland of Kenya and her life as a citizen of the Pacific Northwestern United States, bringing references to biblical figures, Kikuyu lyrics and socially aware, hopeful songwriting along with her style of playing the acoustic guitar to create a sound that is unique and delightful to listen to.

Over the course of the interview, we talk about Naomi’s past and her culture and how it influences her songwriting process, her distinctness as a musical citizen of the world, the joys and trials of attempting to start up a music career, and the lengths she has gone to achieve her dreams.

You can find out more by visiting Naomi’s website, which includes information about upcoming performances and her album.

The Interview

Naomi Wachira (Recorded 3/24/14; original broadcast date: 4/15/14; host: Mandorichard), 29:53, 28.7 MB.

The Musicwachiraimage2

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Label (or source) / Date / Notes
  • Naomi Wachira / You Better / Naomi Wachira / Self / 2014 / Excerpt
  • Naomi Wachira / African Girl / African Girl / Self / 2012
  • Naomi Wachira / I’m Alive / Naomi Wachira / Self / 2014
  • Naomi Wachira / I Know  / Naomi Wachira / Self / 2014