Six of the best … Fraser Fifield plays Celtic Connections with new international band

By Rob Adams at

Multi-instrumentalist Fraser Fifield unveils a new sextet in a Celtic Connections concert at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Tuesday January 22.

LoLanders features Edinburgh-based Fifield, who specialises in the low whistle as well as playing saxophone and bagpipes, with his long-time duo partner, guitarist Graeme Stephen, and Glasgow’s own tablas master Hardeep Deerhe alongside three Dutch musicians – violist Oene van Geel, bass guitarist Mark Haanstra and percussionist Udo Demandt.

Fraser Fifield

Right note: LoLanders features Edinburgh-based Fifield

The group is the latest instalment of the Going Dutch project, which is continuing to promote jazz musicians from the Netherlands across the UK and Ireland during 2019 and is following up LoLanders’ debut with tours of the Netherlands and the UK for the band later this year.

Fifield became friends with LoLanders’ violist, Oene van Geel when the two met on the first international edition of Take Five, an initiative set up by London jazz promoters Serious to give composer-performers aged twenty-five to thirty-five an opportunity to take time out to develop their craft, build their careers and get their music out into the world.

Fraser Fifield

Going Dutch: The band is the latest offering of a project promoting jazz from the Netherlands

“We got on really well from the start and understood each other musically,” says Fifield, who has played with the Grit Orchestra, Capercaillie, Indian percussionist Zakir Hussain, and chamber group the Red Note Ensemble and who will also be appearing at Celtic Connections with Outlander star Gillebride MacMillan.

“Shortly after Take Five Oene was presented with the Boy Edgar Award, which is quite a significant honour in the Netherlands, and he asked me over to Amsterdam to play on some concerts to mark the presentation with his group the Nordanians. That was great fun and we’ve kept in touch ever since.”

When Going Dutch, which has so far promoted mostly one-way trips to the UK, began looking for groups that included musicians from both sides of the North Sea and had the potential to work in both the Netherlands and over here, Fifield contacted van Geel and they successfully pitched the idea for LoLanders.

Fraser Fifield

Reel deal: LoLanders’ violist Oene van Geel

“We actually chose the musicians for their personalities rather than based on what instruments they play,” says Fifield. “So we could have ended up with quite an odd line-up. But as it is we have the three main elements of music – melody, harmony and rhythm – quite well covered and they’re all among the top players in their respective countries.

“We won’t know what the group is going to sound like until we get together properly a few days beforehand but Oene and I picked musicians we know we can work with, so we’re pretty sure we’ll create an interesting sound.”

* For tickets to see Fraser Fifield and his band LoLanders click here.