Pas de cinq
pas de cinq
Darol Anger, Brittany Haas, Natalie Haas,
Amy Hakanson and Nic Gareiss
Freestyle fiddler, composer, producer and educator, Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres, some of which he helped to invent. Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, Anger has helped drive the evolution of the contemporary string band through his involvement with numerous pathbreaking ensembles such as his Republic Of Strings, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the David Grisman Quintet, The Montreux Band, his Duo with Mike Marshall, his current touring group Mr Sun, and others. He has performed and taught all over the world with musicians such as Dr. Billy Taylor, Bela Fleck, Bill Evans, Edgar Meyer, Bill Frisell, Tony Rice, Tim O’Brien, The Anonymous 4, Marin Alsop and the Cabrillo Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, Bruce Molsky, Mark O’Connor, and Stephane Grappelli.
Today Darol can still be heard on NPR’s “Car Talk” theme, along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. Alumni of his touring band The Republic Of Strings include Brittany Haas, Rushad Eggleston, Jeremy Kittel, Sara Watkins, Tristan Clarridge, Mike Block, Scott Law, Gabriel Witcher, Joy Adams, Maeve Gilchrist, Scott Nygaard, Scott Law, and Joe K Walsh. Darol was also the violinist on the phenomenally popular Sim City computer games. In addition to performing all over the world, he has recorded and produced many important recordings for Windham Hill, Compass records, Six Degrees Records and his own label since 1977. He is a MacDowell and UCross Fellow, and has received numerous composers’ residencies and grants. He has been a featured soloist on dozens of recordings and motion picture soundtracks. He recently received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association.
A Professor Emeritus at the prestigious Berklee School of music, he now runs an ambitious online fiddle school at ArtistWorks.com. He is interested in 5-string violin technology, and has built 2.
Brittany Haas is widely regarded as one of the most influential fiddlers of her generation. Born in Northern California, Brittany grew up honing her craft at string camps nationwide, and developed her unique style of fiddling at the influence of her mentors, Bruce Molsky and Darol Anger. A prodigious youth, Haas began touring with Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings at the age of fourteen. At seventeen, she released her debut, self-titled solo album (produced by Anger). Haas continued to tour and record while simultaneously earning a degree in Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University (where she also minored in Music Performance). It was during her time at Princeton that Brittany was asked to join the seminal “chamber-grass” band Crooked Still, with whom she has made four recordings and toured the world. Haas has always been a much sought-after collaborator and session musician. She has performed on Late Night With David Letterman and Saturday Night Live as part of Steve Martin’s bluegrass band, and features on Martin’s Grammy-winning album “The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo.” Over the years, she has performed with Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Tony Trischka, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Waybacks, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas (her cellist sister), and more.
Now residing in Nashville, TN, Brittany is currently involved in many exciting projects. In January of 2020, her quartet Hawktail released their follow-up album to 2018’s “Unless.” They continue to tour around the country with their original material. In 2015, Haas began touring with the Dave Rawlings Machine (featuring Gillian Welch) and can be found on their latest releases “Nashville Obsolete” and “Poor David’s Almanack.” In the fall of 2016, Haas began performing as part of the house band for Live From Here (formerly known as ‘A Prairie Home Companion’) hosted by Chris Thile. Brittany also continues to collaborate with her cellist sister Natalie Haas, Quebecois guitarist Yann Falquet, master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, Swedish fiddler Lena Jonsson, and percussive dancer Nic Gareiss. In addition to her work as a performer, Haas is an instructor at various string and fiddle camps across the globe, sharing her knowledge and passion in hopes of inspiring the next generation of fiddle players.
Natalie is one of the most sought after cellists playing traditional music today. She and Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser have toured as a duo for over twenty years, wowing audiences at festivals and concerts worldwide with their unique sound. Their first album together, Fire & Grace, was awarded Best Album of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards 2004. Natalie has also toured with Mark O’Connor as a member of his Appalachia Waltz Trio. She and O’Connor premiered his double concerto for violin and cello, ¨For The Heroes¨, with the Grand Rapids, East Texas, and San Diego Symphonies. As a studio musician, Natalie has been a guest artist on over 100 albums, including those of Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, Irish greats Altan, Solas, and Liz Carroll, and Americana icon Dirk Powell.
A graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with cellist Fred Sherry, Natalie discovered the cello at age nine. In addition to having extensive classical music training, she is accomplished in a broad array of fiddle genres. Her music journey found purpose when she fell in love with Celtic music at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School at age 11. Inspired and encouraged by director Fraser, she began to investigate the cello’s potential for rhythmic accompaniment to fiddle tunes, and to this day, the two continue to resurrect and reinvent the cello’s historic role in Scottish music. Natalie’s skills as an educator make her one of the most in demand teachers at fiddle camps across the globe. She also teaches privately and in a workshop setting, and holds an associate professorship at the Berklee College of Music.
Amy Hakanson was first introduced to Swedish folk music and the nyckelharpa in 2008, when Väsen first performed at the Wintergrass Bluegrass Festival in Seattle. Her interest in Scandinavian music continued to grow, and in 2014 she purchased her first nyckelharpa. Later that same year, Amy was accepted to the Eric Sahlström Institute in Tobo, Sweden, where she studied traditional Swedish nyckelharpa with Olov Johansson (Väsen, riksspelman), and others.
In addition to the nyckelharpa, Amy plays the fiddle, Hardingfele, banjo, guitar, and is trained in classical violin. She has a bachelor’s degree in ethnomusicology from Portland State University and grew up immersed in American roots music, playing bluegrass fiddle with her family band. She is interested in exploring ways to incorporate her varied musical background, education, and interests with traditional Scandinavian folk music.
Amy performs regularly with her Nordic fusion band Varelse in addition to playing solo for Scandinavian events, teaching workshops, writing and performing string arrangements for studio recordings, and gigging with local bands in Portland.
One of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch,” Nic Gareiss (he/they) is swiftly becoming recognized as a singular voice in traditional dance. Informed by 25 years of ethnographic study and performance, Gareiss’ work draws from many percussive dance practices to weave together a technique facilitating his love of improvisation; clog, flatfoot, and step dance vocabulary; and musical collaboration. He has concertized in sixteen countries with many of the luminaries of traditional music and dance including Alasdair Fraser, Natalie Haas, Bruce Molsky, The Chieftains, Colin Dunne, Darol Anger, The Gloaming, Ira Bernstein, Liz Carroll, Phil Wiggins, and Sandy Silva. Gareiss has performed at London’s Barbican Centre, the Irish National Concert Hall, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Kennedy Center. In addition to his two solo shows The Art of Treepling and Solo Square Dance, Nic collaborates in duo projects with Allison de Groot, Caleb Teicher, Cleek Schrey, Jake Blount, Laurel Premo, Maeve Gilchrist, Simon Chrisman, Ultan O’Brien, and as a member of the quartet This is How We Fly.
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all photos copyright Maria Camillo