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iFiddle November 2016

fiddle-hellFiddle Hell

Fiddle Hell was held last week in Westford MA. I put together an issue for November to highlight some of the things that were happening there. It certainly was something that I’m looking forward to next year. Check out this free issue this month.

Fiddle Hell Massachusetts is a yearly gathering of fiddlers to meet, jam, learn, and have fun. It’s both friendly and diverse, crossing all ages and including many traditional fiddle styles. Typically, there are about 1/4 beginners, 1/2 intermediates, and 1/4 advanced players, with many workshop and jam session choices at each level.  Roughly 1/5 of the attendees are kids, and there are some sessions just for them.

The invention of the late, great fiddler Dale Hopkins from Missouri, Fiddle Hell occurs periodically in fun locations worldwide. Prior Fiddle Hells have occurred in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany. Dale used the term “Fiddle Hell” to refer to the unique sound of many fiddlers playing a tune together. While Dale’s two Fiddle Hell gatherings involved performances for the public as well as some informal sharing of tunes and techniques, Dave Reiner extended the concept to make Fiddle Hell Massachusetts more of a fiddle camp for all ages, with scheduled workshops and jam sessions led by a wonderful group of experienced and supportive instructors.

Last year (2015), we had 350+ musicians, mostly fiddlers, at the eleventh Massachusetts Fiddle Hell. They came from as far away as Edinburgh (Scotland), Nottingham (England), Québec City (Canada), California, Alabama, and Florida, and from as near as Westford itself.

Also this month the amazing Irish fiddler, Tom Morley is bringing us more classic Irish fiddle with the Irish air with a reprise from an earlier lesson, The Old Copperplate. This is a great tune and Tom does a great job teaching it.  Tom’s teaching style is absolutely incredible

Mithril duo
Mithril duo

As an Irish fiddler, Tom has made multiple trips to Ireland to perform and research traditional Irish music (studying with and playing alongside legendary fiddlers including Manus McGuire, Maurice Lennon, Liz Carroll, Kevin Burke, Frankie Gavin, and Gerry O’Connor). He teaches privately and at fiddle workshops and has taught Irish fiddling at the O’Connor String Camp in Charleston, SCOR Adult String Camps in Atlanta, and for the Boston area annual 3-day workshop event known as the Fiddle Hell Gathering. In 2013 he took his adult fiddle group, the Irish Trad Explorers, on a tour across Ireland, where they performed in community centers, churches, and pubs, often alongside top Irish musicians. He is a regular contributor to iFiddle digital magazine and is the author of two well-received fiddle books: the tutorial Learn to Play Irish Trad Fiddle (reviewed in Fiddler magazine, Irish Music magazine and the American String Teachers Assoc. Journal) and Fiddle Club Favorites, a collection of fun tunes for beginning players.

Go to Tom’s site at Learn Irish Trad Fiddle

Check out Tom’s video lessons here: Tom Morely Learn Irish Trad Fiddle


Mitch Reed is a Traditional Music Instructor. Besides offering private lessons and online fiddle breakdowns he has taught at Fiddle Camps hosted by Jay Ungar, Mark O’Connor, and Louisiana Folk Roots. In addition I have worked with the Smithsonian Institution Office of Folklife Programs in Louisiana schools as well as International conferences since 1989. This month he’s going to share some from one of his mentors, Wade Fruge’.

He currently play with BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet and live in Scott, LA with my wife and daughters where he offers lessons in The Front Room, the working music and art studio. It is here that Mitch proudly passes on the unwritten tradition of Cajun fiddling and storytelling. Go to Mitch Reed Music Lessons for more on Mitch

Mike Spears
I'm the author, editor and publisher of iFiddle Magazine and the owner of the site, I'm a fiddler, a teacher and general all around good guy wanting to help out the vast fiddling community.