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Laurie Niles

Celtic Fiddle Music on the Porch, in Maine

July 19, 2013 at 1:21 AM

Here I am on the other side of the United States, having driven all the way from Southern California to Maine, and guess what I heard after breakfast this morning?

A fiddle!

Indeed, I expected to be the only guest toting a violin at the marvelous little Bed and Breakfast where I'm staying (Snow Squall Inn) in Wiscasset, Maine. It has only seven rooms, after all!

Snow Squall Inn

But actually, Zoe Emrick, age 8, arrived before me, also with her violin. This morning, she was practicing Celtic fiddle music, right outside!

Zoe Emrick

I couldn't help but think that this was fate, so I struck up a conversation with her mom, who told me that they'd traveled from Texas to Maine so that Zoe could participate in the fiddle lessons, step dancing and more. She's planning to participate in a fiddle workshop as well as some Celtic Dancing, which she is also studying.

How did she get so involved, so young, in Celtic fiddle and dance? Her mother said that when Zoe was four, the family went to the North Texas Irish Festival.

"We left with a child who was in love," she said -- in love with all things Celtic!

Zoe said that she always wanted to play Celtic fiddle music, she wasn't really interested in learning classical, so they went on a search for a Celtic fiddle teacher. They were helped by the Traditional Irish Music Education Society, or "TIMES" of Richardson, TX, which has been setting up Irish music schools in Dallas, Houston and Austin, said director Ken Fleming. The group also has connections in Oklahoma City, he said. If people are looking for Celtic fiddle instruction, another source Fleming recommended was, a community for Irish tradition music.

As for Zoe, after much searching, she found Michelle Feldman at the North Texas School of Irish Music.

Maybe tomorrow she can teach me a few Celtic tunes after breakfast!

From Albert Wrigglesworth
Posted on July 19, 2013 at 4:47 AM
Yes, good ol' Great site, great music. Have been a member for a couple of years now since I found it by accident. There is a large membership population there, and it is free.

So nice to wake up in the morning to hear someone playing the "fiddle" I guess, especially when you don't expect it. 2 thumbs up for Zoe for making your day.


From David Sanderson
Posted on July 19, 2013 at 1:28 PM
Well, if you're in Wiscasset you should drop down to Freeport and stop in at Frost Gulley Violin, on Route 1. Kevin McElroy, the owner, is a serious Irish musician, and usually has a batch of interesting instruments for sale, including Maine-made violins; makes a few himself, too.

Then there's the Saltwater Celtic Festival at Thomas Point July 20-21 ( ).

And check the Web for the Maine Fiddle Camp, too.

Lots of music around, Classical too.

From Randy Walton
Posted on July 19, 2013 at 5:30 PM
Cool story! I like meeting other musicians, especially if they're a violinist (or fiddler). She may teach you a tune, but I'll bet she will also benefit greatly from this chance encounter.

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on July 19, 2013 at 8:08 PM
Cute! :)
From Steve Wyrick
Posted on July 20, 2013 at 2:42 AM
I'm sure I'm much too picky about this but as a Scottish fiddler and dancer, one of my pet peeves is when someone talks about "Celtic" music or "Celtic" dance when they really mean Irish! [There ARE 7 Celtic nations in all...]

Agree with the recommendation for Frost Gully Violins. We visited the area a few years ago and I was amazed to find a shop with such a great inventory of instruments there. I wasn't really in the market for anything but ended up buying a very nice transitional bow (a Dodd copy) there that has proved ideal for Scottish music!

From Laurie Niles
Posted on July 20, 2013 at 2:51 AM
Zoe taught me to play a few Celtic tunes out on the porch this morning: Galway Belle and Kerry's Polka. Fun to chill and play by ear!
From Tara Dutcher
Posted on July 21, 2013 at 2:36 PM
Zoe is adorable! Another great resource for traditional Irish music is The best way to learn trad music is just as you did today, from another musician. It really doesn't translate to the page with very much authenticity at all. Happily, there are an endless supply of fantastically talented musicians keeping the music alive.

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