Fiddler Ashley MacIsaac Highlights 2009 Crossroads Ceili


By: Kevin Ransom

Detroit-area fiddler Mick Gavin has been organizing the annual Crossroads Ceili shows at The Ark for “about 12 or 13 years now,” he says. But this year, the concerts will showcase a Celtic-music figure who is probably the best-known guest artist the Ceili has ever booked.

That would be Ashley MacIsaac, who started out as a child-prodigy fiddler from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, playing that region’s style of traditional Celtic music — before crossing over into rowdy, exuberant Celtic rock in the mid-90s, when he was just in his late teens. That’s when he began doing flashy, flamboyant live shows — for which he donned wild costumes and often ran out into the crowd, screaming at the audience as he played fiery fiddle runs.

He also caused a stir during that era when he wore a kilt onstage, and would often kick up his leg while playing. He even “flashed” the camera — and therefore the TV audience — in such fashion on Conan O’Brien’s show, raising his profile, and perhaps his notoriety, even more. On later albums, he alternated modern-rock and punk sounds with his trad-Celt roots.


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