Sarah Blair | Flower of the Red Mill

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United States - Vermont

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Folk: Irish Traditional World: Celtic Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Flower of the Red Mill

by Sarah Blair

Vermont-based fiddler Sarah Blair's solo recording of traditional Irish dance tunes and slow airs, with guests on flute, concertina, uilleann pipes, harp, and guitar.
Genre: Folk: Irish Traditional
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Crooked Road to Dublin/The Crib of Perches
3:01 album only
2. Hurray for the Gallant Tipperary Boys/The Cumainn na mBan is Dea
4:22 album only
3. Lament for the Yew Trees
3:14 album only
4. Hardiman the Fiddler/Ride a Mile/A Fig for a Kiss
3:16 album only
5. The Copperplate/The Old Bush/The Spike Island Lasses
4:40 album only
6. Droimeann Donn Dilis
1:28 album only
7. An Paistin Fionn (The Fairhaired Child)
3:07 album only
8. The Kilcloon/Jimmy on the Liner/The Flower of the Red Mill
5:09 album only
9. The Virginia/Brendan McMahon's/The Milliner's Daughter
5:18 album only
10. The Hope Jig/The Wandering Minstrel/John Mahoney' #2
5:22 album only
11. The Spailpin's Lament (An Spailpin Fanach)
1:25 album only
12. The Gospel of Mother/Ducks on the Millpond
5:00 album only
13. The Geese in the Bog/Elizabeth Kelly's
4:49 album only
14. The Ebb Tide/The Ace and Deuce of Pipering
4:54 album only
15. Were You at the Rock? (An Raibh Tu ar an gCarraig?)
2:05 album only
16. The Stone in the Field/Thaddy Casey's
3:00 album only


Album Notes
"Sarah Blair is simply a great fiddler. Her combination of grit and control makes for music with drive, lift, and a compelling earthiness." -- Fiddler Magazine.

Sarah Blair began playing Irish fiddle in Providence, Rhode Island's thriving traditional Irish music scene. She honed her playing as a sought-after session leader in Boston and in the world of American contra dancing. With her band The Sevens and with other ensembles, Sarah has played at festivals, concerts, and dance weeks from Alaska to Quebec to Florida. Her most unusual gig was filling in for fiddler Liz Carroll for a portion of The Eagles' singer Don Henley's 2000 tour. In 2001, the Sevens were featured on NPR in an interview with Noah Adams. She is included in "Handy with the Stick: Fiddler Magazine's Best of Irish fiddling," a forthcoming book profiling top Irish fiddlers by Brendan Taaffe.

Sarah's debut solo fiddle recording, "Flower of the Red Mill," features duets and trios with some of her closest musical cronies: Paul Groff on concertina and guitar, Ben Power on flute, Benedict Koehler on uilleann pipes, Hilari Farrington on harp, and Colin McCaffrey on guitar. She plays tunes with special associations for her -- tunes learned from recordings of heroes such as Andy McGann and Matt Cranitch, from influential friends such as Jimmy Devine and David "Papper" Papazian, and tunes that call to mind particularly memorable sessions of music. There are three original tunes on the recording: Sarah composed "The Hope Jig" while awaiting the arrival from India of her younger son, Adam. Paul Groff composed "Jimmy on the Liner" in honor of his friend, flute and whistle player Jimmy Hogan. Sarah is particularly happy to have been able to include "Lament for the Yew Trees," an air composed by piper Chris Langan (RIP) that she learned from David Papazian. This beautiful air has not been recorded until now and should become part of the repertoire of slow airs.

Sarah spends much of her time teaching fiddle at home in Montpelier, Vermont, and at workshops and camps. Teaching is a tremendous privilege for her, as she tries to bring her students to an understanding not simply of the sound, style, and techniques of traditional Irish fiddle playing -- although that is of course a huge undertaking -- but also the context of the music: the background of players and tunes, repertoire, important recordings, dancing and singing.

Sarah plays in The Sevens with flute and banjo player Mark Roberts, guitarist and singer Flynn Cohen, percussionist Mark "Pokey" Hellenberg,and bassist Stuart Kenney. The Sevens frequently play for contra dancing at dance weekends and festivals such as Falcon Ridge, The Champlain Valley Festival, and Lake Eden Arts Festival. In February 2007, they released their second CD, "Valiant." The Sevens may be found online at



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