A Letter Home

By Athena Tergis

Nine comments

A Letter Home - Athena Tergis

This is a lovely recording by Athena Tergis. She plays effortlessly and beautifully as if she’s been playing since childhood; but that’s probably because she has been playing since then. She cut her teeth leaning from such great players as Cait Reed and Alasdair Fraser, and became well known as a brilliant local fiddler here in the San Francisco Bay Area. She then moved to Ireland for a while and played with great artists including Harry Bradley and Sharon Shannon. She eventually moved to New York where she met and worked with Mick Maloney and other great East Coast players.

The producer for this recording was John Doyle, (who also plays on it,) and the list of guests includes Liz Carroll, Natalie Haas, Chico Huff, Billy McComiskey, Sharon Shannon and Ben Wittman.

When she was in the process of making this recording she warned me that it might not be traditional enough for me. I’m listening to it as I write this and I’m not sure why she said that. It’s not as “pure drop” as some recordings I have, but it’s certainly traditional enough for me.

Her playing is lovely and her tone is every bit as gorgeous as I’ve always enjoyed. The accompaniment is just what you’d expect with an exceptional and brilliant player like John Doyle in the driver’s seat. There are a couple of tracks so far that head down a similar path as Sean Smith did on his Blue Fiddle recording… but I like that recording. There’s nothing that offends my “traditional” sensitivities, but who am I to be any sort of authority on traditional music in the first place? I only know what I like, and I like this recording very much, and I’ll listen to it many times I’m sure. I have absolutely no objections and only praise.

Fair play to you, Athena… well done!

For those of you in the SF Bay Area, you can sample this CD in full at the new Down Home Music location on 4th Street in Berkeley!

it is lovely playing….before beginning to study irish and scottish fiddling idioms, ms. tergis had years of rigorous classical violin training in the Bay Area, starting classical suzuki-method lessons at about age four. apparently celtic music was a revelation and a joy…..

It seems to have become unashionable to extol the merits of anything here of late, but I am willing to stick my neck out and say that this is one of the best albums I have heard in the past year. Great tune selection, arrangements, accompaniment and of course…………the fiddle playing.

In my opinion this is the best fiddle album ever recorded. Even though it gets a bit too jazzy at times for my taste, Athena’s playing is just too good.

Track 3, last tune mistake……

The last tune on track 3, listed in “iTunes” and above, as “Kiss The Maid Behind The Barrel”, is in fact the Donegal version of “Trim The Velvet”.

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