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Photos by Kelly Sullivan.
Photos by Michael Slobodian.
Laura plays in a powerful, percussive style, with tight control and beautiful tone but bursting with energy and passion, turning reels into romps and slow airs into soul-searches.
A rare level of grace, vivacity, and emotional depth.
The Boston Herald (live review)
[Laura Risk] has that absolutely uncanny knack, not of knowing how much to put into a tune, but rather how little. She wrings every drop of passion, heartache or melancholy from most every note she plays... Just magic.
Green Man Review
[Laura Risk's] inflections of pitch, explosive ornamentation, firm phrasing and robust tone charged her playing with both nuance and muscle.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (live review)
A virtuoso fiddler. Her fluency in fiddle styles from Cape Breton to Appalachia is remarkable.
The Boston Globe
It was thrilling to hear [Risk's] expressive treatment of reels, jigs and country dances. She led off the second act of the program with a Scottish tune that had the elegance of a sonata, as if Mozart had come from the Isle of Skye.
The St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
Laura Risk plays her fiddle with passion and finesse...Capturing a glimpse of emotions seldom expressed on any instrument, Risk bows the strings with a delicate grace, yet draws unbridled passion from them... Startlingly beautiful and deftly executed. [Her fiddling] gives spark, vitality, and grace to these unforgettable tunes.
A formidable player with a clear stylistic vision.
The East Bay Express (California)
Brilliant... Risk's fiddle dances through the music like a live thing, and you can't help but wonder if her nimble fingers have ever missed a note. Her playing is emotional, sincere, gorgeous.
A great album... Teaming up with some of Quebec's finest, [Laura Risk] has produced an album of Scottish music that has a decidedly different feel to it. A very individual fiddler, she wrings every last drop of emotion from the tunes.
A benchmark... This album has established Montreal - and Quebec - as the new leading edge of acoustic Celtic music.
'Atlantic Ceilidh', CIUT (Toronto)
A fine CD with a wide mix of tunes, all played with a delicious touch, reflecting hours of experimentation and judgment. "The Sound of War from the Glen" is an aching slow air from the Simon Fraser Collection, a tune to build a career on. Scottish reels like the "Nine Pint Coggie" and "My Kindly Sweetheart" swing like the clappers and have a modern syncopated style related to that of many young fiddlers in the USA and in these Islands. Strongly recommended.
Fiddle On! (UK)
Incredible... Laura's music is truly from the heart, with a passion too deep for words.
'FolkScene', KPFK (Los Angeles)
2000 Miles finds [Risk's] crack fiddling backed by four capable friends from the Québécois folk and jazz scenes. It's a collection of mostly traditional Scottish tunes set in simple, complementary arrangements with combinations of guitar, piano, bass, and percussion that emphasize the often complex melodies while not slighting the fact that most of them were meant for dancing. The 18th-century reel "The Miser" is full of big, playful, percussive strokes, while the strathspey "Mr. Martin's Compliments to Keith Norman MacDonald" steps along with all the delightful dignity its name implies. There are also some lovely slow tunes, like the aching "The Bonnie House of Airly," where Risk's quietly intricate bowing taps a deep well of emotion.
Made in Quebec, 2000 Miles is an excellent, imaginative new album of Scottish music... Verve and lyricism are both abundantly evident.
'The Planet', ABC Radio National (Australia)
Top 10 CDs of 1999... At once pastoral and sweeping.
The Boston Globe
The first notes sound classical, with lush and proper piano chords meeting the high sweet arc of a violin. As the rhythmic pulse thickens, you're sure it's traditional music, some dark, ancient Celtic air. Then, Laura Risk's fiddle pushes the melody's pedal to the floor, and you don't care what it is. It's just beautiful... Celtic Dialogue is a gently daring new CD of Scottish traditional music... It sounds unlike any music you've heard before, because it is: Most of its eighteen selections have not been performed for more than 200 years. Yet they seem almost to have been composed with the 24-year-old Risk's gifts in mind.
The Boston Globe
These are soul-stirring tunes. Jacqueline Schwab's genius at the piano is known to me-delicate, bare, and utterly expressive. But Laura Risk's fiddle is a revelation and achingly beautiful.
Ken Burns, Grammy-winning filmmaker
Beautifully performed... Fiddler Laura Risk and pianist Jacqueline Schwab give a refined chamber music treatment to some exquisite 18th-century melodies.
The Washington Post
Gorgeous... Celtic Dialogue helps unearth a forgotten era in Scottish fiddle music. This CD is always expressive, freshly contemplative, hauntingly emotional.
The Boston Herald
The tunes have a dreamlike quality that charmed me -- and haunted me long after the disc was over.