Released in 1998, the Sampler was our first recording. It contains a sampling of "studio live" performances of tunes and songs learned from friends, favorite bands, ancient books -- or composed for us fresh by Kathryn. Some of these selections have been family favorites for years; others were written just a few weeks before this performance. Our arrangements are an almost organic joint effort, resulting from a sometimes painful, usually magical evolution. We hope the joy of performing together comes across in this recording.
We have made this collection in response to many requests, as a way of documenting and sharing our love for the music of our ancestors. Of course, we are a family first and a performance group second, and we know that this recording is not what you'd call a highly polished, studio-produced, mixed and fixed production. We intended instead to include the spontaneity of a live performance, and so we recorded the music in one evening, straight through, very much like a live gig. With luck (and kindness on your part) what the collection might miss in perfection it will make up for in honesty. We're currently re-recording some of our favorite tunes from the "Sampler" for our next album to be released 2001.
Folk music, and Celtic folk music especially, is part of the air we breathe in our family. This is a direct gift from Kira, mother and wife of the band members, who was a musical soul and left this music to her family upon her untimely death in July 1997. Her voice and her Celtic harp are greatly missed in the FiddleSticks ensemble but her life and presence are missed in our family a thousand times more. This recording is, of course, dedicated to her memory (as also any future recording will certainly be); it is her vision and her momentum that we are following, as best we can. The last track in the collection is a direct tribute to her musical spirit; it features Kira singing her "Chanukah Song" and pair of Jewish lullabies in a performance recorded in Maryland in 1995. Kira's life was a blessing and a miracle, and an example to us and to all who knew her.