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Mandolin Mondays #327 w/ Special Guest Claudine Langille

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This week on Mandolin Mondays, we have Vermont-based Celtic mandolinist Claudine Langille with us to play a fun set of Irish tunes, "The Fairy Queen," "Red-Haired Molly," and "Hardiman the Fiddler" all performed on her 1914 Gibson A4 mandolin.

Claudine first picked up a mandolin in 1976 when a traveling musician from Scotland put one in her hands, saying “Try this-it’s way easier than guitar.” She lived in the mountains of Southwest Virginia for a couple years, hitting all the Old Time Fiddler’s Conventions, then moved back to Boston, where she fell in love with Irish music at the Plough and Stars. She joined a band of Galway lads, called Seantalam, and lived in Galway for a year, learning tunes from local heroes like
DeDanann and the Lewis family, mostly on tenor banjo tuned GDAE. Claudine is largely self taught, learning tunes by ear (at a time when there was no Amazing Slow Downer!). Claudine was playing at The Station in Carrboro, NC, with a band from Ireland when she met Triona NiDhomhnaill of the Bothy Band. They became instant friends, and when Triona formed the band Touchstone, thinking of blending the essences of both American Old Time and Irish music, Claudine was in. They recorded two albums, The New Land and Jealousy, featuring Claudine on mandolin and tenor banjo, both records became Indie award winners. Touchstone was based in Chapel Hill, NC, and toured 1980-1985.When they split up, Claudine moved to VT, not expecting to stay very long, and is still there, playing and recording with Celtic band Gypsy Reel.

Of note is Claudine’s Nova Scotia connection. Her Dad was born in Martin’s River, and she started spending summers there from age 5, making the long trip from their home in Newington, CT, to Cozy Cove. Her Cape Breton friend, Otis Tomas, put together a project called The Fiddletree (2010), featuring instruments he built from a nearby maple tree, and Claudine played and was given the lovely bowl back mandolin from the Tree. The group of players from the US, Canada, Ireland and Scotland recorded two cds of Otis Tomas’ original tunes, The Fiddletree and The Unfathomable Menagerie, performing at Celtic Colours (Cape Breton) and Celtic Connections (Glasgow). Currently, Claudine continues to play with Gypsy Reel, and with friends in North Carolina, Connecticut, and Nova Scotia. She teaches at Connecticut Academy of Irish Music and privately.

Claudine has joined the 2022 staff of Mando Camp North, with classes in Celtic Style Mandolin. That is coming up April 22-24, and there may still be spots available. Coming up May 1 at 4pm is a virtual benefit concert for Julee Glaub Weems,
with a stellar list of performers, aiming to raise money for Julee’s medical procedures. Claudine contributed a video to this effort. Claudine will be in NC for the month of May, and plans to do a workshop at North Carolina School of Traditional Music in Durham. In June, she will be paying with Gypsy Reel in Vermont. She hopes to spend July and August in Nova Scotia.

Here's some more info from Claudine about the tunes and mandolin in this video, "This is 'The Fairy Queen' (waltz by Turlough O’Carolan), "Red haired Molly' or Mary, or Moll Roe or Maire Rua (trad slip jig), and 'Hardiman the Fiddler' (trad slip jig). I heard the waltz played by Laoise Kelly and Michelle O’Brien, and heard the slip jigs paired by DeDanann in the 1970s. The mandolin here is my 1914 Gibson A4, originally purchased from Fred Oster at Vintage Instruments in Philadelphia while touring with Touchstone in 1981. (Recently rehabbed by Cat Fox in South Hero, VT- crack in neck repaired, binding repaired, new frets and nut) I use Thomastik Medium strings and a DAVA Control pick."

Be sure to connect with Claudine at the following links below for more information about her music:

And as always, tune in next week for more Mandolin Mondays! Until then...

Happy Picking!

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  1. grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
    Claudine Langille must be on the phone with my daughter all the time. Because my daughter - when trying out my Strad-O-Lin - allways plays in the "AC/DC" position (way back there, close to the bridge).

    I must admit, nice music pieces (I found out years ago that I rather like Turlough O Carolan), nicely played on a nice mandolin. What´s not to like.
  2. Todd Bowman's Avatar
    Wonderful, Claudine! Very peaceful tunes for a not-so-peaceful time! Thank you for sharing!
  3. bbcee's Avatar
    I really like that first piece, and I love the tone you're getting out of that A4! Playing back from the soundhole must really make it jump out in a session.

    Before I even knew what a mandolin really was, I came across one of Otis Tomas' mandolins in a bookstore in eastern Long Island. It was pure poetry in the hand, and I corresponded with him briefly as I was getting into guitar making. Thank you for the reminder. That bowlback must be something special.
  4. EvanElk's Avatar
    Great tunes, well played!