Fiddler Supergroup Childsplay Perform Now thru 12/8 in Boston Area
Fiddle supergroup Childsplay, a who's who of fiddlers, fiddles and fiddlemakers, has released As the Crow Flies, their sixth album in 26 years of performances throughout North America and Europe. In addition, the group has released a concert DVD Live from the Zeiterion Theatre. Both the CD and concert DVD are being released in advance of the group's upcoming Northeast tour dates.
Childsplay is the creation of Bob Childs, a fiddler who has been making violins for more than 30 years. Childsplay features an incredibly talented group of fiddlers, including the all-Ireland fiddle champion Sheila Falls, National Scottish Fiddle champion Hanneke Cassel, Boston Symphony Violinist Bonnie Bewick and folk superstar Sam Amidon. Every member of the Childsplay string section plays a violin or viola hand crafted by Childs in his Cambridge, Massachusetts workshop.
Childs was first introduced to violinmaking by Ivie Mann in Maine. After six years of apprenticeships with Mittenwald-trained violinmakers Anton Smith and Michael Weller, Childs set up his own shop in Cambridge, Mass. Today, Childs continues to produce instruments with a deep, sweet and dark sound whose quality has captured the interest of leading string performers throughout the United States and beyond. As a fiddler himself, Childs was immersed in the Maine fiddle tradition for many years before becoming heavily influenced by Irish music.
In addition to the string section, Childsplay features all-star instrumentalists including Irish flute player Shannon Heaton; bass player Ralph Gordon of Trapezoid; Mark Roberts, who has toured with Don Henley and The Red Clay Ramblers; and Keith Murphy, of Nightingale. While past recordings have featured renowned singers such as Aoife O'Donovan, Laurie Lewis and Mollie O'Brien, As the Crow Flies introduces listeners to the powerful, yet gentle and evocative singing of Lissa Schneckenburger, who has also made her mark in the music world with her own world-class fiddling.
The album demonstrates an innovate range of styles and influences: from blues tinge heard in The Dear Companion to the pop influences in Leave No Millionaire Behind and the rocking Appalachian feel of Don't You Get Weary to the Celtic tones of Katrina, Lianne MacLean's Revenge/The Catchy Bug and many others. Speed and rhythm go from waltzes to step dances. And the title track, As the Crow Flies, along with The Hawk and Crow tell a story of love through the sounds of various birds in a way that puts the innovation and imagination of Childsplay's performances on full display.