Fiddler Casey Driessen will stop by WTJU Thursday afternoon, April 29, at 4 (eastern) to go track by track through his new release, Otherlands:One during Folk & Beyond (heard Thursday afternoons from 4-7 est at 91.1 FM, streaming at wtju.net, or by asking your smart speaker to “Play WTJU”).
Described by musician Zac Brown as “a mad scientist with a five-string fiddle,” Grammy-nominated Driessen has made a career of experimenting. He credits much of the approach and attitude that led to Otherlands to his experiences with musicians such as singer and multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien, with whom he first explored the musical traditions of Ireland and Scotland, and banjo player and vocalist Abigail Washburn on their first tours of China and Tibet. Driessen’s work with Béla Fleck on Throw Down Your Heart (an exploration of the banjo’s roots in Africa) is particularly influential. As a special guest on the record and accompanying US tours, it was Casey’s first time collaborating with African musicians.
Casey Driessen has performed in 22 countries on four continents, including a one-person live looping show called The Singularity, and has released three solo records. His life made a shift in June 2015, when Driessen and his family settled in Valencia, Spain, where he spent the next four years as Director of the Contemporary Performance master’s program at Berklee College of Music’s first international campus.
In September 2019, the family traveled the world to explore, connect and create Otherlands. “The idea was family, music and a life dream—so we tried it.”
Otherlands: A Global Music Exploration is a travelogue of on-location recordings, short films and essays that documents the collaborations of American fiddler and educator Casey Driessen in Spain, Ireland, Scotland, India, Japan and Finland.
Produced, performed, recorded and filmed by Driessen, the 25-episode video series is paired with Otherlands:ONE (April 23, Red Shoe Records), a 13-song recording of collaborations and stories from each encounter.
The plan for Otherlands was deceptively simple: Find masters of regional music, and then listen, learn and play. Casey found the musicians were just as open and curious. “The collaborations were challenging and inspiring—beautiful, unexpected ideas happen when people of diverse backgrounds come together. And like me, they were willing to open themselves to what a chance meeting might bring.”