Na Fidléirí, (“the fiddlers”) was founded and is directed by Mary Taylor. It has been frequently called the nation’s finest, most unique Celtic fiddling ensemble for young fiddlers. Na Fidléirí is made up of 20 to 25 auditioned fiddlers between the ages of 10 and 18, plus pennywhistle, bodhran and guitar. Na Fidléirí performs repertoire from the Celtic tradition, specially arranged for them by Mary Taylor. Members are taught the technique and style of Celtic fiddling, while simultaneously being grounded in a classical technical foundation.
The group’s members are diverse and reside throughout the Charleston-metro area. The ensemble has a performing repertoire of more than 50 tunes, primarily Irish in origin, performed entirely from memory with traditional accompaniment. Na Fidléirí has performed throughout Charleston and the Southeast. It toured Ireland to critical acclaim with it sister ensemble the Taylor Festival Choir in the summer of 2013.
Na Fidléirí has been featured in numerous regional festivals, including the Swannanoa Gathering, the Augusta Irish Festival, the Savannah Irish Festival, the South Carolina State Fair, and the International Festival at Francis Marion College. It has been featured as the headliner with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration in a performance that was described as “a most delightful evening of first-rate entertainment full of Celtic pathos and toe-tapping Irish energy” (Charleston Post and Courier). A regular performer at the Charleston Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Na Fidléirí has been the opening act for well-known artists such as Celtic Rhythms from County Clare, Ireland and Irish Tenor John MacNally. In keeping with the group’s civic-minded mission of giving back to the community, Na Fidléirí performs outreach concerts at area schools.
Na Fidléirí holds auditions every year in the last week of August. For more information and to find out how you can join the ensemble, please contact us here.
Fantastic Irish Folk Fiddlers
by Laura Hogarth Tutt — GreaterCharleston.com
“YOUNG AND IRISH at heart you certainly didn’t have to be Irish to enjoy Na Fidleiri Saturday, May 30 during Piccolo Spoleto at Circular Congregational Church in downtown Charleston. The hour and one half show featured sixteen fiddlers, plus a whistler, guest percussionist, Danny Mallon, guest guitarist, Chris Teves, and guest cello, Wade Davis. They kept the audience’s toes tapping and heads nodding to the driving beat of traditional Irish tunes from Lannigan’s Ball, to Lafferty’s Reel, and the classic Danny Boy sung by soloist Kiri Taylor. The group has performed extensively throughout the Southeast and toured in Ireland in 2007. The members range in age 9 to 18 and attend a number of Charleston area grade and high schools. Most are classically trained and learn the Irish folk tradition when they join the group, mainly by playing by ear without sheet music, although it is available to them. Try outs are held each year in August. This year auditions will be held 10 a.m. Aug. 22 at the College of Charleston, Simons Center for the Arts. Na Fidleiri, founded in 2000 by Mary Scott Taylor, a first-generation Irishwoman whose parents instilled in her the love of Celtic music, is part of The Taylor Music Group, founded by her husband Robert Taylor, which supports activities that incorporate art music and folk music in performance and education through guest professional performances and the Festival Choir.”
by Jimmy Buttimer — Chairman, Savannah Irish Festival
“THE CITY of Charleston hoards an embarrassment of riches in its cultural realm but none rarer than the incomparable Mary Taylor. We were fortunate to host her amazing troupe of young fiddlers, Na Fidleiri, at our Irish Festival this past weekend.
The first thought that came to mind as I witnessed their performance was of the hundreds of hours required to produce such discipline and excellence. Yet the discipline was obviously not of the grim and joyless variety, as the musicians performed with a vitality and virtuosity that stunned the audience members and brought them to their feet repeatedly.
Nowhere have I beheld the mastery of difficult skills at such young ages. To use an old 19th century phrase: The effect was sublime. Mary Taylor has lit the fire of creation of great art.
I thank the young performers, their parents and all who have encouraged them to strive for demanding artistic heights. But most of all. I thank Mary Taylor for her vision and will and the extension of both through these marvelous musicians. Na Fidleiri will always be welcome at our festival.”