Tania Opland & Mike Freeman (Alaska/UK)
Tour booking now: April-May 2014
"Tania and Mike... are definitely a partnership made in heaven. They are quite simply one of the most original and interesting musical combinations you're ever likely to see! Between them they weave a fascinating musical tapestry." - Chester Folk Festival, Kelsall, Cheshire, UK
Mike's irreverent sense of humor and Tania's stunning vocals provide the springboard for a rollercoaster musical ride.. Strap yourself in and enjoy!
Hamered dulcimer, guitar, violin, cittern, Native American flute, percussion... with an eclectic mix of songs from both sidesof the Atlantic and rhythmic roots from Siberia to Morocco. This Anglo-Alaskan duo have been on the road together since May '95 in a unique collaboration which combines their distinctly separate musical backgrounds, bringing their exuberant music and wild tales to audiences around the world.
They have toured the UK from Shetland to the Channel Islands, Norfolk to Cornwall, Scotland and Wales. Performances in North America have ranged from Maine to the Aleutian Islands, and from British Columbia to Texas.
"A wonderful stage presence. Their repertoire is vast." - Whidbey Island Folk Festival, Washington, USA
These two divide their time between Suquamish, Washington and Inistioge, Ireland, because anyplace else would be too easy to spell. They have recorded eight albums between them (including two collaborations with best-selling author Anne McCaffrey, in Ireland), and make numerous appearances as studio musicians on other recordings in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.
"A remarkably fine duo ... if you get within 100 miles of a gig - don't miss them!"-StortFolk, England
"We were very pleased to welcome Tania Opland & Mike Freeman, who gave us an inspired evening of entertainment, greatly enjoyed by all. Those who haven't seen Tania & Mike live should try & remedy this if they can; they are talented performers across a range of instruments, & Tania has a terrific voice which she uses to full effect in a rich variety of songs." - Mad Nanny Folk Club, Letchworth, England
In addition to their concert performances for adults, Tania and Mike also deliver excellent workshops for schools with a variety of topics designed to complement National Curriculum. Before leaving the UK for Seattle, Mike taught for several years in Norfolk. His teaching experience and the duo's natural exuberance make them ideal for classes of all ages. Before a workshop Tania and Mike will discuss options with the school to maximise educational and entertainment potential. See the education page on their web site for full details. It is also possible to combine a day of workshops with the children and a fundrasing concert in the evening.
"Tania Opland and Mike Freeman provide multinational, multi-instrumental music of a high order. Mike is a percussionist of great diversity... Their lively performance tickled our ears and our minds!" -Huntington Folk Music Society, Long Island, New York, USA
Tania: Tania's voice has been described as "smooth, powerful and tremendously versatile". Originally from Alaska, Tania Opland has travelled extensively in the U.S., Canada, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Britain. She now lives on an Indian reservation in Washington State, her vast repertoire reflecting the diversity of the communities whose music she has shared. She has appeared on radio and television in the U.S., Canada, Russia, Uzbekistan, Scotland, Ireland and England. Her five solo albums have received excellent reviews in acoustic music magazines on both sides of the Atlantic.Tania's early classical training on piano, cello and violin is broadened by experimentation with such exotic instruments as chang, gidjak and doira, giving her a style rich in techniques and traditions. Her unusual blond violin, which she has played since she was nine years old, is a handmade instrument by Eskimo craftsman Frank Hobson. Other instruments include an early handmade Larrivee guitar, Flatiron octave mandolin, hammered dulcimer by Dusty Strings, Kiowa Native American flutes by Allan Guffey, and a tiny ocarina by Clayzeness Whistleworks.
"Very talented musicians with an eclectic selection of tunes and songs... As diverse as Mike and Tania's programme was, it was surpassed by the bewildering array of instruments which they played to deliver it..."-Folk Northwest, England
Mike Freeman's roots are in Eastern Europe. Born and raised in Manchester, England, he spent many years in Norwich working as a designer, cabinet maker and teacher before moving to Kilkenny, Ireland. He has played guitar and percussion with an assortment of bands, accompanied Middle Eastern and African dance troupes, performed at countless festivals throughout Britain, and featured on recordings in the roles of musician, arranger and producer. Mike's main instrument is the Gambian djembe, from which he draws an amazing variety of sounds, but he plays everything from dholak and darabouka to bones, bodhran and congas, and composes tunes on guitar and mandolin.Mike has also built a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic as a dance caller and concert M.C., with a charming, irreverent stage presence.
Take it to the Root
Muisc by Tania Opland. Words by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough from her book 'The Phantom Banjo' - the first book in her Songkiller Saga. (Highly recommended reading for folk fans, because it tells the story of what happens (in America) when the devils decide to get rid of folk music and instead of using a frontal attack they squeeze it out of existence via government legislation. And some of the incidents in the book have really happened to folkies in the USA!)
TANIA OPLAND & MIKE FREEMAN - at Otley Folk Club [U.K.]
From the start the audience was treated to a whirlwind trip round most of the northern hemisphere, starting "Somewhere in America" (-Bogle), ... visiting en route, Norway, Russia and Byelorussia, with a brief aside for an Inupiaq (let's say Eskimo) welcome-dance song. This might not be your usual diet when visiting the local club, but it was far from indigestible, leavened as it was with more usual contemporary and traditional tunes and songs, together with plenty of humour and anecdote.
This was one of those evenings which occasionally comes to the more adventurous folk clubs, where the audience, not having quite known what to expect, finds itself having a really good time, and then wishing that they could instantly import all their friends who are missing out.
So the message is, next time you have the chance to see Tania & Mike, go along. You might not get to sing "Byker Hill", but you won't be disappointed.
A bit more Youtubery - Tania on Ocarinas
Read the latest album review: Sunset's Golk Autumn 2009
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This page was created by Jacey Bedford.