Canadian Shane Cook rates at the top of the short list of the finest fiddlers in the world today” says the Canadian Fiddlers’ Hall of Fame.
Shane has distinguished himself as a leading exponent of the Canadian old-time fiddle tradition as well as a multi-instrumentalist who holds a deep mastery of musical styles ranging from Irish and Scottish to French-Canadian, Texan, and Bluegrass. After a concert at The Opera House in Boston, the Boston Herald proclaimed “Shane Cook’s Celtic fiddling was enough to break hearts.”
In 2006, Shane retired from competitive fiddling as one of Canada’s most highly awarded fiddlers. He is a three-time Canadian Open National Champion, a three-time Canadian Grand Masters Champion, a Grand North American Champion, and is the only foreign fiddler to win the US Grand National Championship, a feat he accomplished at just 17 years of age.
Shane’s most recent recognition came in 2012 when he received a CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award as well as a Young Tradition Bearer Award, granted by the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival for his dedication and contribution to traditional and roots music in Canada.
When Shane was approached about coming to Exeter, he said that he had never performed here before, and would be delighted to come. In the first meeting to discuss Shane coming to Exeter, a wonderful human interest story came to light. Shane enquired if Fagan knew of Gerry Smith, a former champion fiddler living in Exeter. Shane talked glowingly of Gerry’s accomplishments, and told the story that as a young boy, Shane’s father purchased Shane’s first full sized violin from Gerry, and a lifelong friendship developed. Gerry had already been approached to perform in the Festival, and upon hearing this, Shane ecstatically enquired of the possibility of the two friends team up to perform together!!! So Gerry is appearing as a Special Guest of Shane and his troupe in the Festival. Sponsored by Crabby Joe’s Restaurant, this featured performance this coming July promises to be one of great musicianship and respect for one champion to another.
Robert Skelton, the celebrated Professor Emeritus of Violin at Western University, and a friend of Fagan’s, indicated many times that Shane could perform technical concepts on the violin that no other student that he had in 50 years of teaching could accomplish. A performance not to be missed.