*Music list subject to change

Hanneke Cassel & Mike Block

Hanneke Cassel and Mike Block will be performing at the Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games on July 18th as well as leading workshops on July 17th.

Hanneke Cassel is a 1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, a graduate of the Berklee School of Music, and renowned teacher of Scottish Fiddle. She has appeared at venues around the world.

Mike Block is a member of the Silk Road Ensemble with Yoyo Ma, holds a summer music camp each year, and is the inventor of a strap that enables playing the cello standing up, as well as being an acclaimed performer and teacher.

Hanneke and Mike will give workshops on learning to play by ear, understanding and performing idiomatic bowing and ornamentation, chord progressions, and creating rhythmic accompaniments. These workshops will focus on the fiddle (Hanneke) and cello (Mike) and will be built around the needs of the learners who register for the workshops. Some of the participants in the Cassel/Block workshops will be invited to play a tune or two with Hanneke and Mike at the Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games on July 18, 2015.


Laura MacKenzie

Laura MacKenzie will appear at the Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games and will lead a workshop on the Scottish Whistle on July 17.

Laura currently performs solo and in duos with Gary Rue, Ross Sutter (as Ross & MacKenzie), Dáithí Sproule, and with harpist Andrea Stern (as Willow Brae). Laura also appears with the trio Laura and the Lads, and with the ensemble Northern Gael. In St. Paul and in Northfield (Minnesota) she teaches students of Irish and Scottish music on whistle, flute, Scottish smallpipes and English concertina.

Laura MacKenzie

Daithi Sproule

Dáithí Sproule will appear at the Minnesota Scottish Fair and will lead a workshop in guitar on July 17.

Dáithí, a native of Derry in the North of Ireland, has spent a life-time accompanying traditional musicians and has recorded more that fifty CDs, including several with Laura MacKenzie and Ross Sutter, and nine with Irish band Altan, with whom he tours internationally. He also teaches at the Center for Irish Music in St. Paul.


Northern Gael

Northern Gael is a rare and special trio, bringing the songs, music and traditional dance steps of the Irish and Scottish countrysides to life in concert performances and community programs.

Ross Sutter (voice, guitar, Irish bodhán, button accordion) and Laura MacKenzie (wooden flutes, whistles, concertina, bagpipes, voice) have performed together for many years as Ross & MacKenzie. Joined by fiddler/sean-nós dancer Danielle Enblom, they become Northern Gael, a powerful blast of traditional music and dance.

In concert, Northern Gael weaves together the vibrant traditions of Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. From lovely trio performances of beautiful ballads to vigorous sets of dance tunes, presents a lively, genuine and delightfully well-informed concert program. In addition to concert performances, Northern Gael offers school programs, family programs and community workshops. School and family programs can include the teaching of Irish, Scottish and English traditional song games, as well as the demonstration of a fascinating array of instruments, music and steps. Workshops can include Playing the Irish Bodhrán, Learning Sean-nós (Old-style) Dance Steps, Learning the Tin Whistle, Irish Fiddle, Traditional Songs, and more.

 A lifetime of passion for music and dance has brought each member ~ Ross, Laura and Danielle ~ to an extraordinary level of expertise in their chosen fields. Of note:

 Ross Sutter was honored in 2012 with a Sally Award (Sally Ordway Irvine), awards which “honor individuals and institutions that strengthen and enrich our entire state with their commitment to the arts and arts education.” 

Laura MacKenzie is a former Bush Fellow in Traditional and Ethnic Performing Arts and in 2012 was awarded a prestigious McKnight Performing Artists Fellowship.

Danielle Enblom was recently honored with a major fellowship grant to research and teach traditional dance and dance history in County Cork, Ireland.


North Star Gaelic Singers

Formed by an idea to create a new trio around the unaccompanied singing of Scots Gaelic songs, Laura MacKenzie invited two singers knowledgeable about the language and songs, and the trio became The North Star Gaelic Singers (Katharine Grant, Scott Bartell andLaura MacKenzie). Katharine is singer of unaccompanied folksong, Gaelic songs being central for 20 years, and she has recently discovered the sung version of piobaireachd, the classical music for Highland pipes. Scott has been both a Highland piper and a singer of Gaelic -- a rare combination -- for over 35 years. Laura has more recently been enjoying her heritage by pursuing Scottish music, after several decades of immersion in Irish instrumental music and song.

While Irish music has a strong following around the country, Scots Gaelic song has a smaller audience, being less well known. Gaelic is the native tongue of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, so most of the songs come originally from those parts, sometimes via immigration to Canada or the States. Laura’s recent delving into the Gaelic songs of an immigrant Scot in Duluth, a native Hebridean from the Isle of Lewis, was the impetus for her forming this trio. Laura’s newest repertoire comes from field recordings made in Duluth in 1937, while Scott and Katharine’s songs come from singers in Cape Breton and Scotland. In their concert, you will hear work songs, dance songs, love songs, pipe songs and ballads – a lovely and varied program of solo and ensemble performances.


Gunn Slingers

Total Scottish ceilidh funk in its wildest form. Formed by Scottish Accordionist Neil Gunn, The Gunn Slingers have exploded on to the Minnesota ceilidh scene. They play a mix of traditional Scottish tunes with hard groove and high energy to create a night of dancing and craic you will never forget.