The collaboration of fiddler Alasdair Fraser and pianist Paul Machlis is one of pure beauty and passion. —Michael Moll, Folkworld CD Reviews
Mairi Campbell & Dave Francis are the multi-talented Scottish duo known as The Cast, whose albums The Winnowing and Colours of Lichen have attracted generous critical acclaim. Their inventive use of vocal and instrumental harmonies brings a fresh approach to the most venerable traditional material.
In 1999 The Cast performed their classic rendition of Auld Lang Syne, as heard on their debut album, The Winnowing, on the U.S. television special Kennedy Center Honors. The program honored fellow Scot Sean Connery. Mairi Campbell was also featured singing Stevie Wonder's "We Are The World" in the show's finale. Among the many prestigious guests attending this annual holiday event were The President and Mrs. Clinton.
Mairi Campbell was born in Edinburgh and after studying at the Guildhall School of Music in London her interest in Celtic music brought her back to Scotland. She and Dave formed a duo in 1991, and in this context she performs her own songs alongside traditional material. She has played viola with the innovative Kreisler String Orchestra in London and has spent some time in Cape Breton studying the music and dance of the island.
Dave Francis learned his music playing for dancing in the village halls of North East Scotland. After completing a tour of the United States, he relocated to Edinburgh and teamed up with Mairi. In April 1996 Dave became Director of the Edinburgh Folk Festival and in September 1997 he was appointed by the Scottish Arts Council as Traditional Music Coordinator. Dave has long had an interest in traditional dance and theatre and his play The Lang Reel was well received in 1987. The other main strand of The Cast's work has been in teaching and encouraging Scottish traditional dance styles.