Halali is a trio of spectacular fiddlers, the lovely and talented Hanneke Cassel, Laura Cortese and Lissa Schneckenburger, and the equally lovely and talented Flynn Cohen on guitar. Laura is a terrific vocalist and stepdancer, and displays both talents here, while Hanneke is an accomplished pianist, which she demonstrates on a few of the tracks. Their repertoire is a smattering of Scots, Cape Breton and French Canadian as well as Irish, with contemporary compositions as well as traditional tunes. Their abilities extend to the lyrical side, too: Lissa wrote "1159" and Laura came up with the words for "Escape from Alvie," which is set to a traditional Scottish tune.
Based mainly in Boston (Lissa relocated to New York City in the summer of 2004), Halali’s members all have such successful solo careers and numerous other musical partnerships, they don’t get to play that much together anymore. But when they do, they put on an excellent show, as this CD (their first as a group) hints at — minus their engaging stage patter.
The first track on the CD is more or less their signature set, and they use it to open most of their performances. It serves as a great introduction to their style and approach to their music, with changes in tempo and mood, and the use of fiddle as a rhythm, not just a melody instrument.
"Escape from Alvie" is a show-stopper, not only for Laura’s gorgeous vocals but the inventive arrangement, with a piercingly beautiful solo by Lissa.
You can learn more about the group, and hear some of their recordings at their Web site, http://www.halalifiddle.com.
These guys are pretty much why I play the fiddle
Saw them in concert at the Celtic Fling, and they looked like they were having so much fun! Definitely more fun than I was having with the violin. So I dropped lessons and found a fiddle teacher. I don’t think my old violin teacher ever really forgave me, particularly since we’d started dating!