BREWER – Kevin Henderson and Neil Pearlman in concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday,  Sept. 9 with a workshop in Shetland Tunes a 1 p.m. Both events will be at the Next Generation Theatre 39 Center Street. 

For information and tickets:

Henderson is a fiddler who draws on the rich fiddle music tradition of his native Shetland and his experience with leading bands including Boys of the Lough, Fiddlers Bid, Session A9 and Nordic Fiddlers Bloc to create an expressive and adventurously individual musical style.

Brought up in the Shetland schooling system, whose concentration on fiddle music and encouragement to participate still inspire him, Kevin benefited in his teens from the teaching of the legendary Willie Hunter. Lessons with Hunter could comprise chatting over coffee and biscuits and even extend to being taught survival skills, as well as learning both the essentials and the finer points of playing Shetland reels, and every Saturday Kevin came away motivated to emulate his mentor.

With school friends Chris Stout, Andrew Gifford and Maurice Henderson, Kevin formed Fiddlers Bid, a band that – almost thirty years, innumerable gigs and four enthusiastically received albums on – continues to represent the finest of Shetland fiddling allied with harmonic invention, creative subtlety and enthusiastic vigour.  

It was Kevin’s clear understanding of and feeling for the Shetland tradition that led to him being invited, in 2001, to join the long-established Irish-Scottish band Boys of the Lough, along with Mattias Perez, who featured on Kevin’s first solo album, Fin Da Laand Ageen, in 2011, and American pianist Neil Pearlman feature more spontaneous interpretations of original compositions and traditional tunes.

When not touring, performing and recording Kevin enjoys passing on his fiddle skills through fiddle camps, including those organised by Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, Danish fiddler Harald Haugaard and California-based Scottish fiddle master Alasdair Fraser, and one-to-one sessions. 

Wherever he travels, Kevin remains very much a Shetlander, staying connected to the islands through playing an instrument made by Shetland’s leading luthier, Ewen Thomson.alongside the Irish national treasure Cathal McConnell, an experience that has enriched his musical appreciation and love for a strong melody.

Since moving to Norway, while maintaining links with the Boys, the Bid and Session A9, one of Scotland’s finest fiddle ensembles, Kevin has put his heart and soul into Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, a meeting of three very distinctive musical styles where simplicity and directness are key. Their blend of Norwegian, Swedish and Shetland accents and their command of varying tones and voicings have led to ecstatic receptions on both sides of the North Sea and across the Atlantic.

Multi-instrumentalist, step dancer and host of the TradCafe podcast, Neil Pearlman is a vital and distinctive voice in contemporary traditional music. Described as “a tremendous pianist” on BBC Radio Scotland and “a force to be reckoned with” by WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan, Neil is best known for his groundbreaking approach to the piano in Celtic music. Motivated by a deep musical curiosity and a love of collaboration, his playing is continually evolving and spontaneous without losing its roots in the traditional piano styles of Atlantic Canada, New England and Scotland. He has appeared at major festivals across North America and Europe including the Newport Folk Festival, Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Celtic Colours in Cape Breton, the Orkney Folk Festival, and has recorded, performed or otherwise collaborated with such artists as Natalie MacMaster, Darol Anger, Seamus Egan, Alasdair Fraser and many more. 

Growing up in a musical family, Neil was immersed in Scottish and Cape Breton music and dance from the start. He began dancing at the age of 3 and the piano followed soon after. Joining his parents and siblings on stage as the family band Highland Soles, Neil learned the art of performance early at festivals and concert halls across New England. At the age of 11, he appeared several times as a dancer in Natalie MacMaster’s high-powered show alongside his mother Laura Scott and a few years later released his first album with his father, fiddler Ed Pearlman. Already at that age he was exploring a passion for other styles of music, especially a lifelong love of jazz that has always played a role in his creative voice. 

Today Neil’s musical projects run the gamut from deeply traditional to refreshingly contemporary. His podcast TradCafe is a series of conversations and collaborations with traditional musicians from around the world. In 2021 TradCafe launched a video series featuring one-off musical collaborations between Neil and artists such as Troy MacGillivray, Jenna Moynihan, Begona Riobo, Anxo Pintos, Yann Falquet and Alasdair White. His 2020 release Burden Lake with acclaimed Shetland fiddler Kevin Henderson received 5 stars from The Scotsman. He tours regularly with Kevin Henderson, Katie McNally, The Pine Tree Flyers, and as a solo pianist, while playing more irregularly with a wide variety of side projects featuring top Celtic, Americana and Jazz musicians.