By Michael Balderston
As a nation of immigrants many aspects of the American culture have evolved or been adapted from all different countries. Some may be a bit more obvious, like our affinity for pizza, but others’ integration has been more subtle.
One such example is Scottish music, which has served as a basis for what would become known as American Old Time music. It’s that evolution Elke Baker, Ken Kolodner and his son Brad Kolodner will be highlighting when they perform at this weekend’s Hylton in the Highlands: A Festival of Scotland.
Baker is a Maryland native, and 1995 National Fiddle Champion, and has been playing Scottish music since she discovered it in college. Kolodner got his music career going in medical school, focusing primarily on American Old Time. When the duo first started playing together 20 years ago it was an easy collaboration of the two styles thanks to their shared heritage, and they intend to show that with their ‘Evolving Traditions of Celtic Music’ performance at Hylton in the Highlands.
“What we’re aiming to do with that presentation is show a little bit of the Scottish roots of American music and how the two changed when they jumped over the Atlantic Ocean and spent a little time in the states,” says Baker.
“[American Old Time] tunes often grow out of various Celtic traditions,” says Kolodner, “Scottish, Irish music, English music and then combining them with African rhythms and banjo.”
Both Baker and Kolodner help to spread their music as teachers. Baker serves as the music director for the Potomac Valley Scottish Fiddle Club in Washington D.C. Kolodner, meanwhile, teaches around 90 students in both the fiddle and the hammered dulcimer in the Baltimore area. You can get a free lesson from Baker at Hylton in the Highlands, as she will also be leading a fiddle workshop.
“This is the kind of music that makes you feel like dancing,” says Baker, “makes you want to tap your toes and brings a lot of joy to people. It’s a great opportunity to hear it and find out a little more about it.”
Get that chance yourself by attending the Hylton in the Highlands this Saturday, January 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for kids. Family four packs can be bought for $40. Find out more here.
Hylton in the Highlands: A Festival of Scotland
Jan. 24, 2015
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
10960 George Mason Circle