The Australian Celtic Festival is now over for another year, the program jam packed full of amazing music, dancing and so many Celtic Performers. The opening ceremony on Thursday included performances from Pipe Bands and the Glen Innes Public School Choir, with the Mayor of Glen Innes on hand greeting festival guests. We follow up our interviews with the Roving Crows and Cape Byron Celtic Dance in our blog series about the Festival performers with the family band String Loaded.
String Loaded are a Celtic fiddle band made up of Sisters, Gabi and Livvy, playing the fiddle supported by mum and dad on guitar and bodhran. The family have travelled all around the world performing at Celtic festivals. String Loaded have been extremely successful at the Australian Celtic Music Awards, winning Celtic Instrumental of the Year, Celtic Group of the Year, Celtic Album of the Year and Celtic Artist of the Year. Today we speak to Jen, Mum of String Loaded, to tell us all about the band and why they love performing at festivals.
What inspired you to start String Loaded?
My grandmother was very Scottish and so I had grown up with many Scottish traditions and of course Scottish music in my life. After the girls had been learning the classical violin for a number of years it was a natural transition to start playing Scottish and Irish fiddle tunes as well. Of course the fiddle tunes were lots of fun to play so I decided to learn to play the bodhran and then Ray couldn’t help but join in on guitar.
How do you cope performing together as a band and living together as a family?
We actually get on really well while we are performing and on the road at Festivals. We only ever get cranky with each other when we are rehearsing and trying to juggle work, school and band rehearsals. Music is our therapy time.
Do you attend the Australian Celtic Festival every year?
Yes we have been attending the Australian Celtic Festival for many years. It was actually the very first Celtic Festival that we took the girls to when they were very young. Livvy was so young she fell asleep after performing while a bagpipe band marched right past her.
What do you enjoy the most when performing at festivals?
Interacting with the audience. The people at the Australian Celtic Festival are all here because they love the music so they are always enthusiastic participants with us and our music.
How did you choose the tartan that is incorporated in your outfits?
When we first started we needed a uniform fast for our first gig and the only place we could find tartan kilts in our town was the Op-shops. The Op-shops only had red tartan so that had to do. I am a big believer in wearing a cultural uniform for our band as we play cultural music so when we knew the band would continue I ordered proper billy kilts for the girls from Edinburgh. The music we play is really happy and uplifting so the red tartans definitely fits with that as well.
What do you think is the best part of Scottish culture?
The music and the dancing is definitely our favourite part of Scottish Culture. We don’t mind haggis either!!
If you missed String Loaded performing at the Australian Celtic Festival this year check out what the band are up to over on their Facebook Page and go and find them wherever they are as this fiddle family are not to be missed.
Don’t worry the interviews with Australian Celtic Festival’s performers aren’t over yet, so keep an eye out on the blog as the Emmanuel Highlanders are up next.