The fiddle and the feet…

April Verch gives multi-tasking a whole new meaning, says Shelley Marsden

Internationally renowned Canadian fiddler, step dancer and singer-songwriter April Verch is heading to UK shores this October with her band, including a showcase at WOMEX 13, as she releases her ninth album Bright Like Gold.

Verch sounds like a woman that is seriously comfortable in her own skin. It’s her second decade touring across the world, so perhaps it’s no surprise. Bright Like Gold, which moves from jazz to swing to folk, captures a lady who is in full command of her talents, and has grown up from being a prodigy to an artist that is lasting the distance with plenty of grace and grit.

The April Verch Band, which is rounded out by bassist and clawhammer banjo player Cody Walters and guitarist Hayes Griffin is full of energy, virtuosity and tradition. An average concert usually involves a grand finale which sees Verch fiddling and step dancing simultaneously, often with two completely different but equally complex rhythmic patterns. It can’t be a sight to forget quickly.

She started out as a great talent, with lots of championship titles to her name; she even represented Canada’s fiddling tradition by performing in the Opening Ceremonies at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. There’s plenty more to be impressed about; the sheer range of material Verch, Walters and Griffin inhabit on the new album, for example.

Verch is fluent in the folk traditions of both her homeland and America (the latter she came across later), so it’s natural that the album contains sprightly new versions of old fiddle tunes like those in the Canadian medley Dusty Miller, Fiddle Fingers and Grizzly Bear and the Appalachian medley Edward in the Treetop, Yellow Jacket and Quit That Tickling Me.

For the full article buy this week’s Irish World newspaper (issue 24 August 2013).

The tour begins at The Sage in Gateshead on October 4 and includes a show on October 16 at London’s Canada Water Library.



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