Since 1990, the six-piece troupe FIDDLER'S GREEN have been acting out the paradise of the Irish seafarer, the nirvana of mirth and the El Dorado of stout lovers. For the band's name is synonymous with a realm shrouded in legend where there is everlasting happiness, never-ending supply of grog, a continuing sound of fiddles and infinite endurance of those willing to party hard.
In 2011 AD, these six folk rockers release WALL OF FOLK that gives Irish set dancing a makeover and teaches the odd punk rocker a lesson in proper dancefloor mayhem.
Even though the basics of their speedy folk tunes haven't essentially changed over the years and they could easily lure away the children from the boogieman himself, their eleventh offshoot offers quite a few novelties. First, there are two celebrities who make a contribution on Fields Of Green / Nie zu spät – In Extremo's Das letzte Einhorn (Michael Robert Rhein) and his bagpipe master Flex der Biegsame (Marco Ernst-Felix Zorzytzky). Following a joint tour and numerous boozy nights, the idea to join forces in order to lift this anthem to the Folk Olympus was born.
Another novelty in the FIDDLER's hemisphere is the heavy use of the banjo, the strings of which are not only allowed to vibrate more frequently, but which is also assigned a major role - every now and then accompanied by raging guitar riffs to create some kind of harmony of strings. With Albi and Pat using the full potential of their voices to add the necessary vocal power - supported by one or another of the FIDDLERS - even the effort to double voices in the recording studio was taken to add yet more to the choral strength of WALL OF FOLK.
"Of course our songs need a certain spiciness, a level of speed and a positive attitude", the band says about the ingredients of a trademark track of the band. "There also need to be purely instrumental parts and there should be something for the audience to participate as well." The latter is especially important to the folks, because in the first place FIDDLER'S GREEN is a live band who is keen on unleashing their energy from stages all over the world. Everybody who ever experienced this crazy six-piece band on large and small stages, in spacious and murky venues and at festivals from medieval to metal, will have difficulties reading for excessively nodding approval at this point.
But FIDDLER'S GREEN is not just about energy – Irish elemental powers are unleashed here, the spirit Rock'n Roll is summoned and a tongue-in-cheek revolution is proclaimed. Rumour has it that the energy released during a FIDDLER's show by means of hopping, moshing, screaming, running, singing and dancing is equivalent to the impact of a comet the size of Ireland – roughly, of course.
And the boys jump from one style on to another, add a few metal parts, smooth reggae tunes, a bit of a punk attitude and of course a major part of folk with decidedly Irish origin.
The major portion of the setlist consists of their own songs, but FIDDLER'S GREEN also love to shake up the odd traditionals of the green island, turn seafarers' tunes into buccaneers' chants, traditional pub folk into a rocking raid and total harmony into a raving moshpit.
But what are the origins of this energy, you might ask with some justification, with the only answer given being "Roots Bloody Roots". And indeed you might nickname FIDDLER'S GREEN the metalheads of Irish Folk – but minus the anger and plus a lot more sense of humour!
On WALL OF FOLK, they succeed more than ever before to capture their stage energy on a sound carrier, so as to let the real thing sound from your speakers at home. And it does not make a difference if they deliver their very special interpretation of Ewan MacColls traditional song Dirty Old Town, which was brought to fame mainly by the Pogues, or if they bow to their dedicated following in appreciation in Greens and Fellows - which also quite suitable for flag waving, where Flex from In Extremo again supports the band on the bagpipe. The title track Wall Of Folk is a stampede in terms of power and movement. Its continually rising force and rhythm give it all the potential needed to make large gatherings of people ecstatic. Tightly knit harmonies create a density of the moment filled with anticipation and overtone fiddle harmonics rain from spheric heights. In a nutshell: the album comprises a series of powerful highlights that are aimed at making people move their bodies, but with some of them also with a romantic and sensitive edge. To describe this, FIDDLER'S GREEN have coined their own term "Speedfolk".