by Peter Aaron
Cellist Abby Newton has done much to re-introduce the instrument into traditional American folk and Celtic music. With Hudson Valley musicians Jay Ungar, Lyn Hardy, and John Cohen she formed the Putnam String County Band, which toured extensively and performed at major folk festivals; for a time she also served as editor of folk bible Sing Out!. Each summer Newton holds a series of special, immersive cello retreats for experienced and new students in Shokan.
Here, she performs some blazing sea chanteys with the group Ferintosh:
Each retreat is limited to eight students and promises “a cello-immersion experience,
with plenty of opportunities to hone skills playing by ear,…individual lessons, slow jams, a community ceilidh evening, home-cooked meals, and outdoor activities in the spectacular Catskill Mountains of New York.” The first session (June 27-30) is sold out, but openings remain for the second (July 25-28). A fiddle/cello weekend (August 1-4) features a weekend of jamming and master classes taught by Ferintosh fiddler Rosie Newton.
For more information, visit Abbynewton.com/retreat.