McKasson, McDonald, & McLane
Ryan McKasson has gained a reputation as a performer, composer, collaborator, and teacher. In 1996 he was the youngest to win the National Scottish Fiddle Championship. In 1997 he was awarded a Merit Scholarship for Viola Performance from the University of Southern California where he studied with Donald McInnes.
Ryan has also been a member of a baroque/celtic/fusion combo, Ensemble Galilei. He helped co-write and co-produce First Person: Seeing America with them, a collaboration between Ensemble Galilei and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This multi-disciplinary project includes photographs from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, poetry and prose about America, and the music of Ensemble Galilei. He also recorded with Ensemble Galilei on A Change of Worlds (2012), and Surrounded by Angels: A Christmas Celebration With Ensemble Galilei (2013).
Ryan has recorded with Hanneke Cassel on her albums Silver, For Reasons Unseen, and Dot The Dragon’s Eye, and also with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas on their album Highlander’s Farewell.
Ryan has also taught at fiddle camps around the US and New Zealand, most notably: Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddling School, Southern Hemisphere International School of Scottish Fiddle, Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, and Swannanoa Gathering.
Eric McDonald has been a professional performer and instructor of traditional and acoustic music for a decade.
The early part of his career was spent cutting his teeth as a mandolinist in the rich local folk and roots music scene in Boston MA. Most of his time was given to Passim, a non-profit arts organization in Cambridge with an enriching and formative community surrounding it. Later Eric attended Berklee College of Music where he studied under world renowned mandolinist & guitarist John McGann, as well as gaining a practical knowledge of music in many styles. His education continued post Berklee and he soon found a gateway into the realm of traditional music through playing for contra dances, a native form of New England folk dance derived primarily from a combination of English, Scottish, Irish and Acadian traditions. Following the path set before him, Eric’s quick ear and tasteful approach drew the interest of many around him and he found himself quickly in demand as a DADGAD guitar accompanist for musicians playing traditional music, finding a particular niche in the Scottish & Cape Breton realm.
In 2014 Eric re-located to Portland, ME and began a new chapter. Now well established he maintains an active touring schedule, supplemented by recording sessions and a variety of teaching endeavors. In addition to Eric’s current projects some of his touring credits include celtic supergroup The Outside Track, hodge podge folk band The Dave Rowe Trio, up and coming Scottish fiddler Katie McNally, New England contra dance band Matching Orange, folk-pop outfit Pesky J. Nixon and renowned Cape Breton fiddlers Andrea Beaton & Wendy MacIsaac.
Jeremiah was raised in a family with deep ties to both its Scottish heritage and its New Hampshire roots. Traditional New England music and dance were a part of his parents and grandparents generations.
After an early formation in classical piano, Jeremiah spent his teenage years playing blues and jazz. Following undergraduate studies with jazz legend Gary Peacock, he studied Indonesian Gamelan, West African drumming, and the music of minimalist composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass. It wasn’t until his mid twenties that Jeremiah began to immerse himself in the world of traditional Celtic and French music, studying accordion with Jimmy Keene and Frederic Paris. He then spent several decades traveling in Europe, doing field research that laid the groundwork for a Master’s degree he received many years later from the New England Conservatory.
In the early 1990s Jeremiah formed two bands: The Clayfoot Strutters and Nightingale. Both bands had strong traditional New England roots and had a deep and lasting impact on the traditional dance scene in New England. In 2003 he formed Le Bon Vent, a sextet specializing in Breton and French music, and as an outgrowth of this ensemble, has formed several duos with individual members including James Falzone, Ruthie Dornfed and Cristi Catt. Since the early 1990s, Jeremiah has recorded over a dozen CDs with Nightingale, the Clayfoot Strutters, Bob & the Trubadors, Le Bon Vent, with Ruthie Dornfeld. His second solo recording, Smile When You’re Ready, was nominated by National Public Radio in their “favorite picks”, and his fifth release, Hummingbird, with Ruthie Dornfeld, received the French music magazine “Trad Mag” Bravo award, as did his CD Goodnight Marc Chagall with Le Bon Vent.
In 2005 Jeremiah started the Floating Bridge Music School, which is devoted to teaching traditional music from the British Isles, Northern Europe, and North America.