Fiddler Hanneke Cassel has been a big Celtic star for decades and comes to the pod to try and teach me the difference between Irish and Scottish music. Just kidding all you Hanneke-heads! But seriously, she helps me keep some things straight. She’s been fusing all different styles of music for a long time and her latest album Infinite Brightness weaves her signature flowing Celtic style along with traces of Americana, old-time (but she tells me she’s not an old-time or a bluegrass player), a hint of classical, and maybe even Texas Swing, which was how she first started on the fiddle. Well, she actually started playing classical and found it hard to read music, but eventually discovered a fiddling competition and fell in love with the instrument.
In our conversation, Hanneke reflects back on her youthful playing and how she decided to go to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Once there and along with Laura Cortese and Lissa Schneckenburger, she was at the forefront of a fiddle revolution that continues to this day in New England. She talks about her teachers who connected her to the music she loves most, the importance of encouragement from her peers and the inspiration for her to do the same for the next generation. Also, there are lots of Matt Smith references in this episode, so if you are not familiar: Matt Smith runs the historic Club Passim in Harvard Square, Cambridge and is the center point for many touring and New England folk musicians. There is no one like Hanneke! Her new album is a delight and I’m so happy to have her on the pod!
Photo Credit: Kelly Lorenz