Fiddler Katherine Moller is looking forward to playing outdoor concerts and music festivals around the Canadian Maritimes, particularly the New Brunswick Highland Games in Fredericton this coming weekend.
Moller said she loves playing Highland Games events because everyone’s there to enjoy life. “I enjoy playing to all ages and I like it when people bring their kids to the concerts and they’re dancing around. Playing outdoors is one of my favourite things.”
Now 35, Moller first played at the New Brunswick Games in 2002. Since then, she has performed and run workshops for many years at the New Brunswick event as well as at other festivals.
It was while attending the Antigonish Highland Games in Nova Scotia years earlier that she was inspired by seeing renowned fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Ashley MacIsaac play for the first time. “I was in high school then and I started playing fiddle more seriously after that.” Her music studies took her to the Gaelic College in St. Anne’s, Cape Breton, to McGill University in Montreal and to Ireland.
Moller has favourite tunes she shares with her Highland Games audiences, including her original tune, Belfast, and several sets of faster tunes. The writing process varies for the fiddler. “I work best when I can focus on the music and not have to think about the day-to-day aspects of life,” she said. “…sometimes I simply noodle and wait for a tune to come to me, and other days I set out with a challenge, such as — today I am going to write a slip jig in the key of G Major. I love the darker sound of minor keys, especially E minor.”
Moller performs as a solo artist and as a member of Celtic band, Different Folk. She teaches school string programs, private lessons and runs a group called the Fredericton Fiddle Orchestra that performs at seniors’ residences. Her greatest reward is performing. “Connecting with the crowd as well as with my fellow musicians and sharing the act of music-making with them is the most meaningful part of my work.”