A night of fiddling Sabir style

During the long winter months, I sometimes wonder what I was thinking when I decided to move back to Regina six years’ ago. A small prairie city, Regina is decidedly flat, usually windy and, as we have just experienced, winters can be brutal.

Last night I was reminded of one of the reasons why I call Regina home – I attended a wonderful concert by the Sabir Sisters at The Exchange, a funky local venue where many a good concert is held. Besides an incredibly vibrant and active music scene, there is a special openness and warmth to prairie people. We take time for each other and pay attention to the things that matter in life … like friends, music and hugs.

Shamma, the eldest of the four performing sisters, is my fiddle teacher and a delightful friend. We were all eager to hear Shamma perform alongside her sisters and to meet them. Since the fall, Shamma has been living in BC and we fiddling people have missed her terribly.

Thankfully, she has made trips back here where we cram in lessons and always, always have a wonderful visit. Shamma has been an inspiration for our Sunday afternoon fiddle group and has kept us supplied with new tunes and imbued us with her infectious enthusiasm for fiddle and for life.

Last night, we arrived at the concert early, knowing that The Exchange would be jam packed with a boisterous audience. We were treated to a rousing show opening by several of Shamma’s talented young fiddle students, including two of my good friends’ teenage daughters, Brigid and Sarah. It was special to see them perform with such skill and confidence alongside their friends.

When the Sabir Sisters took the stage, we lost ourselves in several hours of amazing Celtic fiddle music. There is something infectious about their playing. From the first note on, it was all we could do not to get up and dance.

From jigs, reels, schottishes and waltzes to the haunting Neil Gow’s Lament for the Death of his Second Wife, it was a remarkable performance.These sisters possess incredible talent – they all have voices that can interpret Celtic songs with passion and style.

Besides the fiddle, each sister can play a variety of instruments. Shamma, for instance, played fiddle, mandolin and cello last night, while Roxanna accompanied on the piano for several sets. Laila gave us a taste of her incredible step dancing.

And throughout the concert, it was obvious from the sisters’ banter and light-hearted teasing, that there is much camaraderie and affection between them. At the same time, each sister has a distinctive style and it was a joy to see how perfectly they blend together. Guitarist Jaime White, with his easy-going manner added his style to the evening. Thankfully, Ray Bell was able to lend his guitars when Jaime’s failed to arrive in time for the concert.

It was a great homecoming for Shamma. From the crowd’s enthusiasm, it was obvious that we all have tremendous admiration and love for this special woman who has shared her talents and has opened her beautiful and generous heart to us.

10 thoughts on “A night of fiddling Sabir style

  1. I love the way you open up your life on your blog K, and truly smudge in different topics. This must have been a great show and your enthusiasm and joy, leap from your words.thanks for another great read!S

  2. Now you know why you belong there. You had a great time! I hope your wind dies down and the sun shines for those seedlings!

  3. Oh how I wish I could have been at that concert – I love Celtic music. Heading to Asheville (great town in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina) next week, and am grasping in my hot little hand, a concert ticket for an orchestra seat to see and hear your great Canadian musician, Loreena McKennitt! I love reading your blog – you have a great way with words and share so much wonderful information on things you are passionate about. That is how life should be. Mary – ACROSS THE PONDBy the way, I haven’t bought a “concert” ticket in about 40 years – other than our seasonal classical/orchestral/Broadway – so this will be a special evening for me.

  4. Woo Hoo~~ i’m glad you got the CD. I hope you like it, or at least some of it. i look forward to what you’ll send me! And thanks for adding me to your site!! Cheers.Laura

  5. Asheville is only about two hours away from me, Kate. Sadly, I haven’t even been there! We just moved to NC 18 months ago and it’s been slow getting around to get to know the state.I haven’t bought a concert ticket for myself since I was in my 20’s, either! I’ve been to concerts with Gina when she was young – to see “New Kids on the Block” LOL!Thanks for your comment on my blog, Kate. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed with the type of bloggers I am in touch with, though. I feel somewhat inferior to those with the superior writing talent, knowledge of history, and the information they offer. Many of them are teachers and have resources to expound on… But chug along with my little tidbits and limited knowledge anyway.I hope you have a grand time in Asheville! Let’s hear about it!

  6. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time! Thanks for blogging about it, I enjoyed reading it. What would we do without music? Can’t imagine a world without it. Music = emotion.

  7. My grandfather was a great fiddler. I liked the slow melodious tunes he played. Great hobby!

  8. This sounds like a wonderful night out, I love Celtic music and the sound of the fiddle. Have you ever been to Ireland and been drawn into a pub by the sound of the fiddles? You find there is an ongoing – well, what? It isn’t a concert or a performance, people are playing for their own pleasure, a fiddler leaves, a drummer appears with a bodhran, somebody gets up and step dances, another fiddler or piper joins in – it’s all impromptu and great to be part of even as just an onlooker. I’m hoping to experience it again later this summer.

  9. Hey Sissie – eagerly awaiting a new entry, something to while away the time while we in Calgary await 30 cm of snow!!! You jealous??? Good thing we didn’t put out the many plant pots your little niece made her parents prepare since her visit with you!!!

  10. It does sound like a delightful place to live…and really, isn’t that why we live somewhere…because of the people? I guess what I mean is enjoy living somewhere…lol! Because after I said that, while I like very much where I live…it is an area that struggles greatly for an identity…and doesn’t really have much of one at this point. Here, you’d have to go north or south for most things…(except fast food…lol)!Anyway, it sounds like such a wonderful concert…and what a great group you have to hang with!Enjoyed reading about it very much…almost like being there…almost! Lol! Thanks, Kate!

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