Canada’s Celtic Party band, Fiddlers 3

Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette News/ Nancy Sheehan

If you go Massachusetts this weekend and aren’t already a fan of Celtic music, prepare for your conversion.

“We have had people who come to our show and they’re, like, ‘I was never a fan of this music until we heard your songs and now I can’t stop listening to your CD,’ “ said Stefan Lozinski, a member of Canada’s Celtic Party band, Fiddlers 3.

Apparently, a similar thing happened to the organizers of the Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival, which will be held Saturday at Indian Ranch on the shores of Webster Lake. Fiddlers 3 will be a headliner at the event. “We had sent a package to them and they liked our music so they called us in May and asked if we would like to come out and perform at their festival,” Lozinski said. They will join about a dozen other acts at the festival and are slated to take the stage at 3:45 p.m.
What is the universal hook? “The thing with Celtic music is it really doesn’t have an age specific kind of sound,” Lozinski said. “Everyone enjoys it because it’s very uplifting. It’s got a good beat to it. You can’t really stop tapping your foot or clapping your hands or kind of reacting to it.”

Fiddlers 3 have developed their unique brand of Celtic over their many stage-hopping seasons.

Lozinski has been touring North America for 14 years with the band. That makes him a consummate veteran at the still tender age of 25. The same can be said of his sibling bandmates, brother Andrian, 23, and sister Elaina, 22. “We don’t promote ourselves necessarily as a family act,” Lozinski said, even though his parents – accordion player Mary Ann and spoons players and percussionist Lorne – also are band members. “We don’t hide it but we consider it to be just the membership of the band. It doesn’t really affect our sound,” he said. Non-Lozinskis Cam Walsh on bass and Tom on drums round out the band.

That the whole family ended up in Fiddlers 3 was a reversal of the usual scenario of stage parents pushing the kids to perform. It was the kids’ careers that took off and, since they were so young, the parents thought it best to go along with them.

It was a fiddle tune over the radio that kicked the whole thing off. Stefan Lozinski, then 11 years old, was riding in the car with his mother when the song came on. “I was in that place where I was thinking of learning a musical instrument,” he said. “I had just heard that one of our relatives bought a violin but didn’t think she was actually going to use it so it was kind of available. That song came on and I thought ‘I could probably do that’ and I wanted to give it a shot. We ended up getting that violin and I started taking lessons.’ ”

Just eight months later he competed in the largest competition in Canada and has been winning awards ever since. “I just kind of threw myself into it,” he said.

A year after Lozinski began competing, his brother and sister joined him on the circuit. They got so many gigs that they ended up going the professional route shortly after. “It gave us the ability to perform for more people and put our spin onto the music and make our mark in the Celtic circles,” he said.

Instead of resting on those precociously well-honed laurels, Fiddlers 3 kept pushing in new directions. Their latest CD, “Volume 3: The Rhythm Chapter,” reveals a band that has come completely into its own. The irresistible songs have a confidence about them and a more aggressive sound than their earlier recordings. The rhythms are more complex while holding onto the hallmarks of their younger years: a driving downbeat with a delightful dose of polka time here and there. Their signature song, “Orange Blossom Special,” is a refreshingly polka-enhanced version of that classic.

“We are Ukrainian,” Lozinski, a second-generation Canadian whose grandparents hail from that former Soviet Union republic, said. “We have a European background so we add a bit of the European influence into our music. It’s Celtic but we also have polkas and all that kind of thing so we sort of stretch the dynamics of the Celtic music a bit.”

That’s partly a result of stretching their minds at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. All three siblings have received music degrees, with honors, from the respected school. Additionally, Stefan and Andrian have earned artists diplomas in performance, which is basically a virtuosic training on the violin or the fiddle, Stefan Lozinski said.

“So we wanted to take the music that we always played and move into tunes that are a little bit more energetic,” he said. “We just wanted to add in that complexity and put our own twist on the music with the skills that we learned and the abilities that we gained from that.”

The result is a CD and a stage show that evince a livelier, a bigger sound than their previous work. “We’ve added more rhythmically complex tunes. We’ve put more energy into it. We’ve started writing a bunch of our own music for this disc. We’ve definitely raised the level of energy and the dynamics for the group,” he said.

Do not expect any dry academic presentations of music theory, however. Fiddlers 3 pours their hearts and souls into those and college-learned time signatures and measure structures. The result is an irresistible Celtic musical fling.

“It has the ability to make you get involved with it,” he said, of the group’s new approach to Celtic. “It brings your spirits up. It makes you happy and gives you the ability to just have a good time.”

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