bright young folk

Men on the Fiddle with Rua Macmillan & Sam Sweeney

Posted by Christopher Friedenthal on 02 October 2011

In a one-off event, dubbed Men on the Fiddle, Cecil Sharp House presents a night with two of the UK’s brightest fiddle players - Rua Macmillan from Scotland and Sam Sweeney form England.

Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama alumni Rua Macmillan is quickly making a name for himself in the world of Scottish traditional music. He was awarded the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2009.

For Sam Sweeney, the gig has an additional significance. Says Sam, “I am incredibly excited about the gig as it is my first solo gig in nearly ten years. I did a few quite big solo gigs (Trowbridge and Chippenham festivals to name a couple) at the age of eleven as a result of winning some competitions. When I met Hannah James, Kerfuffle formed pretty much instantly and I stopped doing anything on my own, so when I was asked to play a solo gig at such a prestigious venue, I jumped at the chance, and then got quite nervous!

“Playing on your own is a very odd experience, especially on the fiddle, because you can’t accompany yourself and you have nobody else to interact with. We haven’t got chord buttons or lots of keys we can use to accompany a tune, so making a solo fiddle interesting for 45 minutes is going to be a real challenge.

“Having said that, I have really enjoyed working towards to the gig because it has challenged me to use my brain and get back into the habit of thinking about what I am playing and trying to ’bounce’ ideas off myself. It has also been great to create some solo repertoire and work out sets of tunes in my head that are cohesive pieces of music that stand up well without needing someone to accompany me.

“Most of the sets I play on the night will be new to me, and to the audience, but I will be playing the odd thing from the new Hannah James & Sam Sweeney album, and perhaps some other things people may be familiar with. I am really looking forward to the whole evening and I hope the audience enjoy listening to me as much as I have enjoyed practicing!”

Men on the Fiddle with Rua Macmillan & Sam Sweeney is at 7.30pm on Thursday 6 October at Cecil Sharp House in London,