A Letter Home is an album that ranges across the intersections of Irish and Scottish music with an instrumental voice and style informed by the fiddler's American experiences. "I called this album A Letter Home because it's really like a set of landmarks, it's my favorite pieces of music over the last ten years," says fiddler and composer Athena Tergis. "I've been playing with other musicians my whole life, bands and recordings and other projects, but this is the first time I've made an album of my own."
Kicking off with a set of reels including "Johnny McGreevy's", "Owney Davey's", "O'Callaghan's" and "Margaree Reel", Tergis shows her gift for phrasing which underscores the emotional essence of the tunes. The album moves quickly into a lively set of barn dances and a Scottish strathspey. The collection winds through fourteen tracks of jigs, reels, highlands, set dance tunes and flings with origins in Galway, Cork, Antrim, and Donegal to those from the Scottish Highlands, the Irish community of Chicago and the heart of Cape Breton. A Letter Home concludes with the haunting slow air, "Bi Falbh O'n Uinneig" [Be Gone From The Window], a tune which Tergis learned from her childhood mentor and teacher, Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser.
Tergis enlisted guitarist John Doyle, former member of Irish supergroup Solas, who has worked with Alison Brown, Michael Black, Liz Carroll, Susan McKeown and Cathie Ryan among others, to produce the project. "He has a fresh approach, but he's very true to the tradition," she says, "and that was very important to me for this record." She has an A-list roster of supporting players as well, including Sharon Shannon and Billy McComiskey on accordions, cellist Natalie Haas, Ben Wittman on percussion, and fiddler Liz Carroll. "Just some of my favorite musicians", Tergis reflects happily, "an all star cast, I'd say."
Produced by John Doyle (ex-Solas).
Featuring Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Natalie Haas, Chico Huff, Billy McComiskey, Sharon Shannon and Ben Wittman