Jenna Moynihan & Mairi Chaimbeul
Too often artists view tradition as a towering monolith to be either conquered or cowed by, by young Scottish fiddler and experimentalist Jenna Moynihan knows that tradition is meant to be a starting point for great inspiration, not a wall. On her new album, Woven, she darts back and forth like the shuttle in a loom, pulling the many strands of the Scottish fiddle tradition into a colorful tapestry that showcases her virtuosic control of her instrument as much as her deep sense of playfulness. To help her create this work, she’s brought together some of the best young traditional artists in her hometown of Boston, one of today’s hotbeds for new traditional music. The lineup here includes cutting-edge Scottish harpist Mairi Chaimbeul, renowned bluegrass guitarist Courtney Hartman (Della Mae), New England Celtic guitarist Owen Marshall, plus all-star guest fiddlers: Duncan Wickel, Darol Anger, and Alex Hargreaves. It’s easy to tell that the music on her new album stems from what must have been many late-night jam sessions with these friends, but the ease of companionship found on this album belies the complexity of Moynihan’s arrangements. As the harp rolls in counterpoint behind the racing fiddle lines, or as the guitar matches her beat for beat, this is music whose virtuosity lies in Moynihan’s construction of the atmosphere around each tune, and her delivery of each beautiful melody.
Jenna is from Lakewood, New York and is a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music. While studying, she was selected to receive the Fletcher Bright Award & and The American Roots Music – two awards given annually to one outstanding string player. She performs in a duo with Scottish harpist, Mairi Chaimbeul, with Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards, Darol Anger & The Furies, and has performed & collaborated with Old Blind Dogs, Hamish Napier, Bruce Molsky, Matt Glaser, Kimberely Fraser, Phil Cunningham, and as a soloist at Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops.
Màiri Chaimbeul is a Boston-based harp player and composer from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Described by Folk Radio UK as “astonishing”, she is known for her versatile sound, which combines deep roots in Gaelic tradition with a distinctive improvising voice and honed classical technique.
Màiri tours regularly throughout the UK, Europe and in North America. Recent highlights include performances at major festivals and events including the Cambridge Folk Festival (UK), Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, Hillside Festival (Canada), WGBH’s St Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn, Glasgow’s Celtic Connections, and Encuentro Internacional Maestros Del Arpa, Bogota.
Màiri can currently be heard regularly in duo with fiddler Jenna Moynihan, progressive-folk group Aerialists, the Brìghde Chaimbeul Trio, and with legendary violinist Darol Anger & The Furies. She is featured in Series 2 of Julie Fowlis and Muireann NicAmhlaoibh’s BBC Alba/TG4 television show, Port.
Màiri was twice-nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, finalist in the BBC Young Traditional & Jazz Musicians of the Year and twice participated in Savannah Music Festival’s prestigious Acoustic Music Seminar. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, where she attended with full-scholarship, and was awarded the prestigious American Roots Award.