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Episode 48: Mikael Marin

The middle voice of Väsen, Mikael Marin brings a breadth of influences and musical influences to bear in his countermelodies and textures on the 5-string viola. In this wide ranging conversation he discusses the history of "second voice" playing in Swedish music, his own development as a classical and traditional musician and how a being passionate about your own specific culture and tradition can be common ground for connecting to traditional artists and cultures around the world. Music:...


Bonus Episode: 2018 Retrospective

Neil looks back on some of the great music created in the TradCafe episodes that came out in 2018 while looking forward to the next year of episodes. This episode features Allison DeGroot (Ep. 44), Don Roy (Ep. 34), Soo Yeon Lyuh (Ep. 45), Kevin Henderson (Ep. 37), Hadith Bani-Adam (Ep. 26), Brittany Haas (Ep. 41), Andrea Beaton (Ep. 36) and a short preview of the music from Mikael Marin's upcoming episode. For more information on each of these, head to and look them up in the...


Episode 47: Steve Baughman (live)

Orkney tuning, clawhammer guitar, zen banjo and everything in between. Steve Baughman is a master musician, entertainer and creative personality who is one of the most engaging performers you'll ever meet. In this episode, taped live at the Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, Steve tells Neil about exploring his love of music while travelling the world as the son of American expats and how all that time alone with his instrument has led him to develop his unique and beautiful musical style and...


Episode 46: Olov Johansson

Olov Johansson is perhaps the best known Nyckelharpa player in the world today. As one third of the Swedish power-trio Väsen he has toured the world as an ambassador for Nordic folk music for several decades now. He sat down with Neil to share his journey exploring traditional melodies and fresh collaborations all while building a unique and influential musical identity. Olov's website: Väsen:


Episode 45: Soo Yeon Lyuh

A pioneering artist on the South Korean Haegeum, Soo Yeon Lyuh has been bringing improvisation back to a traditional instrument which hasn't done it in generations. Neil chats with her about her journey starting in Western Classical music, transitioning to the traditional music of her home and then bringing that tradition into the Western world collaborating with the Kronos quartet and teaching/studying improvisation at Mills College in Oakland, CA. More on Soo Yeon:


Episode 44: Allison de Groot (Live)

In this episode, recorded in front of a live audience at the Sierra Fiddle Camp, clawhammer banjoist Allison de Groot shares her story of delving deep into the Appalachian Banjo tradition while growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She talks about working with luminaries like Bruce Molsky and Tatiana Hargreaves and talks about her work researching the playing of great woman banjo players from the past. The opening tune "Wabash Blues" is from the playing of Virginian banjo player Hobart Smith...


Episode 43: Ward MacDonald

A major figure in the traditional music scene of Prince Edward Island, Ward MacDonald sat down with Neil in the midst of preparing for his CD release at the Festival of Small Halls. Their conversation is wide ranging, darting between Ward's personal musical journey and the wider role of traditional arts in the modern world. Closing waltz in this episode: "Sweet Dreams Eloise" by Ward MacDonald for his baby daughter.


Episode 42: Olav Mjelva

A great player of the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle and the standard fiddle styles of his native Røros, Norway, Olav Mjelva is the third and final member of Nordic Fiddlers Bloc to be featured on the show and the third member of Sver (out of five). He takes Neil along for his journey through Norwegian traditional music from picking up the fiddle by the chance of a random childhood choice to mastering the regional style of his home town and writing some of the best new Scandinavian tunes being...


Episode 41: Brittany Haas

A legend of American fiddling already at a young age, Brittany Haas chats with Neil about her musical journey, from touring with Darol Anger at the age of 13 to breaking new ground in the neo-Bluegrass band Crooked Still to playing regularly with Chris Thile on his NPR show "Live From Here" (formerly Prairie Home Companion). This episode also features Brittany's answers to listener questions submitted through Patreon. Music: opening tune is Calum Finlay and closing tune is Booth Shot...


Episode 40: Anders Hall

The Swedish third of the Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, Anders Hall sits down with Neil to talk about getting all of his gigs as a result of late night parties, living on the farm where his family has lived as far back as anyone can trace, and the intricacies and history of the Polska. Music in this episode: Troll Kärrings Låten, march from right where Anders' family farm is located, and Polska after Jonny Schönning. More info at


Season 4 Teaser

A preview of some of the upcoming episodes for the second half of Season 4 while we take this week off! Hear some of the music that will be featured in the next few episodes and sneak peek of who is coming up..


Episode 39: Laurel Martin

A great teacher and performer of Irish fiddle in the Boston area, Laurel Martin talks about her journey from taking up the instrument for the first time in her 20's and studying with the great Seamus Connolly under a master/apprentice grant to becoming a teacher herself, and taking on the "master" role in passing on and sustaining the tradition.


Episode 38b: Doug Protsik (part 2)

In the second part of the Doug Protsik episode, Neil and Doug discuss the power of music to transcend cultural and political differences as Doug shares his experiences playing traditional music in central Asia, eastern Europe, the middle east and Africa. Doug also shares the story of Maine Fiddle Camp and what he has done to build it into a powerhouse of traditional arts in Maine. Music in this episode: Opening is "Ida (sweet as apple cider)" Closing is "The Tajik Two-Step" [by Doug...


Episode 38a: Doug Protsik (part 1)

The first in a two part episode featuring Doug Protsik, director of Maine Fiddle Camp and passionate supporter of the traditions of Maine and surrounding regions. In this episode Doug shares his early journey with music from quitting the piano as a child to rediscovering it while living in a $500 log cabin in Maine, and talks about the intertwined histories of American folk music, Jazz, fiddling and foxtrots.


Episode 37: Kevin Henderson

Shetland fiddling wizard Kevin Henderson talks about growing up in the Shetland Islands, where Scottish and Scandinavian culture collide and many fiddle tunes are written by the mysterious and magical Trows. Kevin opens up about the experience of making music and touring with Boys of the Lough, Fiddlers' Bid, Nordic Fiddlers Bloc and Session A9 and discusses the challenges and rewards of balancing new musical projects with fatherhood.


Episode 36: Andrea Beaton

Fiddler, pianist and tune writer Andrea Beaton caught up with Neil just before playing a dance at the Canadian American Club in Watertown, MA. She talks about growing up in Cape Breton as the child of Kinnon and Betty Lou Beaton, two giants of traditional music on the island and how her relationship with music changed from being embarrassed to be associated with the fiddle to recording her own albums and writing some of the most popular contemporary tunes.


Episode 35: Hanz Araki

Hanz Araki is a long established Irish flute player and singer from the Pacific Northwest now based in Maine; but he is also a master of the Japanese Shakuhachi flute. He shares his wide-ranging musical journey from moving to Japan and practicing Shakuhachi 6 hrs a day with his father to touring 200 days a year across Canada playing the Irish flute.


Episode 34: Don Roy

Franco-American fiddler Don Roy has been a central figure in Maine fiddling for decades. He joins Neil for the first episode of Season 4 to talk about learning music from his uncle (and Maine fiddling legend) Lucien Mathieu, the connections between Maine French fiddling and traditional music from New Brunswick and Cape Breton and his own creative work writing new tunes and leading the massive fiddle group Fiddlicious.


Episode 33: Kevin Doyle

Irish-American dancer Kevin Doyle joins Neil this episode to share his story of growing up in a strong Irish community in Providence, RI, learning to dance from his mother who emigrated from Ireland. He also tells Neil about the connections between American tap dance and Irish step dance and talks about what it was like to get the phone call saying that he was being named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Episode 32: Corey DiMario

Bassist of Crooked Still and CEO of Concert Window, Corey DiMario joins Neil to share his journey from completely dropping music after his sophomore year at Eastman School of Music to rediscovering his passion through the traditional music scene in Boston, going back to music school and founding one of the most distinctive bands in American folk music.