In May 2013, the first Sliabh Luachra fiddle workshop was held in Naarden, The Netherlands. For this event we invited Matt Cranitch, author of the much acclaimed fiddle book ‘The Irish Fiddle Book’, to provide the classes. Matt Cranitch is not only a terrific fiddle player, but also a very gifted teacher and expert on the fiddle playing of his region, often named ‘Sliabh Luachra’.
Sliabh Luachra is a geographical area, situated on the border of counties Kerry and Cork, where the music is distinctly different from the music in other regions of Ireland. Although you will find reels, hornpipes and jigs being played in any part of Ireland, you will find the playing of slides and polkas to be very much centered in the Sliabh Luachra area.
Over the course of two days, the workshop participants got tuition in various aspects of fiddle playing. For each specific tune type – whether it be polkas, slides, jigs, reels, etc – a lot of attention was given to how they are rhythmically different from the others. Using different example tunes, these ideas were further developed, showing how to articulate the rhythm and introducing variations in the playing.
Key to this workshop was not to spend two days learning tune after tune, but to really dive into the details of each different tune type and the techniques needed for Irish fiddle playing.
Due to the extremely positive feedback, this workshop will be organized again in 2014.