I have been wanting to talk to Scotland-born fiddler and current New Yorker Hannah Read on the pod for longer than Basic Folk has existed. I met her at the very fun camp Miles of Music in New Hampshire. We laughed our faces off all week and I was truly blown out of the water by her fiddling and singing. She’s just released a new duo album with the Scottish banjo player Michael Starkey, so it seemed like a good time to get Han on.
She grew up in Edinburgh as well as on the Isle of Eigg, a remote island off the western coast of Scotland, and she talks about how living simply as a younger person has impacted her adulthood. Growing up, there was a lot of music in the house: in terms of both listening and playing. Her mum played cello, sister played fiddle, and there was also a community of musicians on the island playing who she connected very deeply with. She started playing traditional Scottish music at the age of six and cites her biggest influences as the musicians surrounding the trad scene there. She made her way to America to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston and eventually moved to Brooklyn.
Her new album, Cross the Rolling Water, is filled with old-time fiddle and banjo duets with the Edinburgh-based Starkey. The two met at an Appalachian old-time session in Edinburgh in late 2019. She talks about their musical relationship as well as how Michael only has a flip phone, which is always hilarious to hear about from someone who’s on top of technology. Hannah’s hilarious, kind and has an infectious energy that carries from her personality to her music. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Krysta Brayer
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