A few months ago Fire & Grace was invited to Hastings, New Zealand to perform and do workshops at Irongate School. One of the big important things we wanted to try and accomplish was working with the Maori and Samoan students and their cultures and find ways to connect them to ones that we study and perform. It was an absolutely mind-blowing experience. To hear these kids sing, play, and talk about their songs, what they are about, try to learn bits of their language, and perform these songs on the violin and with my colleague Bill on Guitar. It was nothing short of Magical. I would love to also give a shoutout to Raewyn Newcomb who has become a dear friend, and really understands and loves to help create the opportunity for these partnerships, and building a worldwide cultural community. I feel so honoured and thrilled to be part of this community, and look forward to connecting with these students, and budding young musicians soon again. Music brings us together, and music holds so much beauty and joy and friendship within itself - when we have the opportunity to share it together, it changes us forever.
I'm looking forward to sharing some more projects with you all shortly... it's been an incredibly busy start to the new year, and I cannot believe how much time flies... The photo above was taken at the very beginning of January, when I was lucky enough to spend a week in Big Sur with my friends William Coulter, and Ashley Broder in making a new album we are going to call Partita Americana. We have a short tour coming up in May and June, and are making sure the album will be ready when we hit the stage for those shows!!!
Next week, on February 21st, I will be performing the North American premiere of my new Cantata, The Angel Speaks, a stages piece for two singers, a small chamber ensemble made up of Tafelmusik Orchestra Musicians, and dance. I will also be performing, and on the same program, Tyler Gledhill and I will resurrect our piece; Inception, that we created together. This performance is made possible by the Ontario Arts Council, and Opera Atelier.
I look forward to writing more as these exciting projects see the light of day, and come to be. Thank you for riding this wave with me, I am forever grateful.
I’m so excited to share this project with you all....
For the past three years, we (Edwin Huizinga and William Coulter) have been performing concerts around the world as Fire & Grace. One of our most exciting arrangements is The Liquid Gold Suite - a fusion of Baroque and Irish dance music. In 2017, we toured Ireland with a filmmaking team and captured over 100 hours of footage of music, art & culture throughout County Kerry. As we head into post-production, our dream is to create a breathtaking visual story of our journey for all to experience.
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This past year I began the journey of making a film with my dear friend William. We started performing together almost four years ago. Our curiosities include discovering the connections of baroque and folk music, the dance elements between them, and the magic it creates. Diving into the culture and traditions of the folk music that we love, exploring new ways of sharing this music with the world, this is what we hope to do with this film. Our latest adventure took us to Ireland, a place where traditional music comes from the mist that hovers above the ocean, the dew that sticks to the trees in the forest, and the dreams that dance around the stone walls of the castles. We literally drove through a hurricane to make a film of our journey. We brought a team with us from California, a couple of dear friends. When we arrived in Ireland we also met Jim, and crew to remember. A hero among men Jim is, I would say. His words will flow with me into this new year. I will share just a few of them with you. He would turn his head towards you, smile, and say: "Everything is possible, all of the time" Well Jim, we did manage to shoot over 100 hours of footage all over county Kerry, and play seven shows in two weeks.... what were we thinking!!! A lot of very short nights, but late night planning and early morning drives 'drove' us to make something really really beautiful. I'm so excited to share this with you. We will be launching a campaign soon to raise the money to finish it, because as you can imagine, this project is an expensive one. I really hope it will encourage and touch people young and old, for years to come. Stay in touch. Be true to yourself.
A long time ago it took weeks, or months to travel to Ireland, today I hopped on a plane and arrived in about five and a half hours. What a world we live in!!! The country here is soaked with the old world. Gorgeous buildings, cobblestone streets, pubs that poured their first pints four or five hundred years ago. It is truly a magnificent feeling. I arrived in Dingle this afternoon after traveling from the Dublin airport, getting picked up by Eilis Kennedy, we made our way across the country. The roads were narrow, the fog was thick, and you couldn't see ten feet in front of you on the mountain pass. What a drive! We also encountered an Irish traffic jam, of some cows going back to their stall after a day out in the fields. William Coulter and I rehearsed for a few hours with Eilis to prepare for a run of a few shows in a row now, starting tomorrow in Dingle at St. James Church, a series that William's brother Steve founded years and years ago. We also went for a gorgeous walk along the pier, and even caught some live music, which was drifting out of all the pubs. Live music in all the pubs!!! We walked into one of them, and Bill turned to me and said, "that's one of my favourite guitar players in the world" And then the fiddle player looked up from playing a tune and said. "I know you! You're Fire & Grace!" Well, Ireland, I'm already falling in love, and I've only been here for one day. The weather was PERFECT. it was rainy, cloudy, wet, dreary, and gorgeous. Honestly though, it feels so wonderful walking back to our lodging with the wind and rain and Irish air whipping around our faces, after a pint of Guinness. Ready for a few shows in a new country I've never been, with lots of new experiences to be had....
Thanks for listening,
I am back in Toronto for a while now playing some great concerts with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, however I wanted to share some stories about the journey of ACRONYM. We just spent a few days together at Avaloch Music Institute in New Hampshire, and learned some really great new repertoire - among my favourite - is a Sonata by Biber called Jocunda, a very strange and wonderful piece that highlights the variety and improvisational aspects of Biber and the music of his time so well! I am also delighted to inform you that we went into the studio the following week, in New York at Oktaven Audio and made another record. It is so incredible to make such great music with friends and colleagues that you share so much love of the music with. It feels incredible to be in the studio and have everyone in the ensemble, and in the booth, just routing for the group, our concepts, our ideas, our sound.
The four fiddlers in ACRONYM are Beth, Adriane, Johanna and myself, and we all met at Marilyn McDonald's studio in Oberlin, Ohio, almost 15 years ago. I will share a photo of the four of us below, because we have such a great time together, and Jeff Weeks, a photographer that joined us for a few hours at Avaloch this summer captured it quite beautifully.
This weekend we are all meeting up in Clinton, New York for a concert at Hamilton College, performing with our dear friend Jesse Blumberg and playing a program of all Rosenmüller. It's is going to be a fun show - if you're in the area, drop by and come listen!!!
Driving down Highway One to Big Sur is one of the most special things for me. The feeling, the memories, the draw that I have, the spot this place has in my heart. It feels like home. I'm writing as I listen to the waves crashing, and I watch the birds soaring not above me, but below me, and today, there is not one single cloud in the sky. As I drive down the highway however, the feeling is different this time, there are so few cars, and the energy is vibrant. Pulling into the Ranger Station in Big Sur, the last possible stop before Highway One is completely closed, there is a buzz of confused tourists turning around, that have not heard the news, locals rushing to a parking spot with groceries in hand and getting ready for the hike to their home, or ride, or wheelbarrow on the other side of the huge gap, which used to be a bridge. William and I get out our instruments and play some tunes as we wait for someone to come pickup all of our stuff for Fiddle Camp. Yes, road closures and all, fiddle camp is ON! I start hiking through the redwoods, down the hill, by the river, back up the hill, passing others along the way, every one stops to say hello. We are on an island now, lets say hello, ask a question, share a moment. Getting to the other side of the closure other cars are lined up along the Highway. As a local, you have a car on either one side of the bridge or the other, and the rest you have to figure out with friends, neighbors, family, and of course the best of all - the community itself. Last night about 15 incredible musicians, teachers, players, pickers, fiddlers, banjo players, sat around and we began to discuss the goings on of camp. The kids arrive today. There is so much love here for sharing. So much talk about flow, about plugging in to the needs and desires of the kids - of sharing your passion. I'm going to be teaching a bulgarian tune, an improve class, a fiddle class, there will be soooo many things everyone can learn - and I'm going to try and go to everyone else's classes too. Banjo, Ukulele, Mandolin, you name it... Last night it was impossible to go to sleep, people were jamming, and discussing ideas for the week. This morning at breakfast we decided that there must be a yoga class every morning at 7 am, obviously!!! playing whatever instrument you do all day, everyone has to stretch! That while drinking raw goats milk, fresh strawberries, and the most insane ginger scones of my life was a pretty cool start to the day.
it's time to meet all the kids, and continue being part of exciting the energy around us, contributing to the madness, and joining in the fun :)
BIG SUR FIDDLE CAMP REGISTRATION OPEN NOW - click here for more details
Big Sur has been a big part of my life for over a decade, and this summer I have been invited to teach at the Big Sur Fiddle Camp!!! A legendary camp, on one of the most gorgeous magical properties in Big Sur, we get together for a week and learn, jam, eat, and play music together. I'm so honoured and excited to invite you all to come work with an incredible team of teachers. More details at firstname.lastname@example.org
on tour. kickin it. playin.