The Celtic Fiddle Festival


Celtic Fiddle Festival is a group of Celtic fiddlers active since 1993. Representing the three main branches of Celtic culture, the members were Johnny Cunningham (late of Silly Wizard) of Scotland, Kevin Burke (best known for the Bothy Band) of Ireland, and Christian LeMaitre (member of Kornog) of Britanny. Since Cunningham's death in 2003, the group has continued to perform, replacing him with Andre Brunet (formerly of La Bottine Souriante) from Quebec.

Cunningham and Burke were both resident in the US and decided they wanted to tour together. It was suggested that a show with just 2 fiddlers, one Scottish, one Irish might not be appealing to many but if another element could be added it might be of interest. Because of their love for Breton music Kevin and Johnny decided to contact their good friend, Christian Lemaitre, from Brittany. Christian agreed and the Celtic Fiddle Festival was born.

It was initially conceived as a "one-off" tour - an interesting way to showcase the 3 differing styles while at the same time demonstrating the deep historic connections - but the response from audiences was so positive that a CD was released from that initial tour and, 20 yrs later, the group is still playing and recording. Cunningham, Burke, and LeMaitre were accompanied by guitarist John McGann on that first tour and the first CD, The Celtic Fiddle Festival, was released on Green Linnet Records. The sixth CD by the Celtic Fiddle Festival, Live in Brittany, was recorded in Jan 2013 and is scheduled for release in April on the Loftus Music label.

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