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Antrim Fiddler to Play in Library of Congress Series and at Kennedy Center

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Cape Breton Fiddler Brendan Carey Block of Antrim will kick off the American Folklife Center’s 2009 Homegrown Concert Series with a performance of traditional music at the Library of Congress at noon May 28. At 6 p.m. on the same day, he’ll follow that up with a concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. The events are sponsored by the American Folklife Center and the Music Division at the Library of Congress, in cooperation with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

“I’m very excited. It’s not quite real yet,” says Block, who was invited to appear about a month ago.

The 24-year-old Block, who will perform with his father, bassist Rich Block, and guitarist and vocalist Flynn Cohen, is a fixture in New England’s traditional music scene. He’s been playing fiddle since the age of 10, and spent eight summers during his youth on Cape Breton, immersing himself in the fiddle music, dancing and culture of the island. A three-time New England Scottish Fiddle Championship winner, in 2000-2001 he took the U.S. National Junior Scottish Fiddle Championship as well.

Block has long with associated with the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, having earned, from 1999 to 2003, three Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grants to study with master musicians. In 2008 he was awarded a fourth apprenticeship grant, this time to serve as a master artist mentoring a younger fiddler. These days, he is on the faculty to the New Hampshire School of Scottish Arts and performs throughout New Hampshire and New England, playing both traditional Cape Breton fare and also, with his group Annalivia, music from a variety of traditions blended with contemporary sensibilities. And, like many traditional musicians, he has a day job, one that involves another love of his: restoring cars. He works at a BMW restoration shop in Dublin, N.H.

In an essay recommending Block for the Folklife Center concert series, Lynn Graton, traditional arts coordinator for the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, wrote: “Happily Cape Breton music is alive and well on Cape Breton. Master fiddlers, both young and old perform for community dances on Cape Breton and tour within Canada and internationally. The magnetic appeal of the music is inspiring fiddlers beyond the shores of the island and Brendan Carey Block has emerged as one of the most promising young Cape Breton fiddlers in the United States today.”

The noon concert will be held in the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium, located on the Ground Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. The performance is free, but tickets are required. Visit or call 202-397-7328. The 6 p.m. concert, at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, is also free. No tickets are necessary.



 Last updated: May 26, 2009

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