Kate Fritz

Bio / Description: 

Kate Fritz is a multi-instrumentalist (fiddle, banjo, guitar) currently living in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Her music draws direct inspiration from living Scottish, Irish, Cape Breton, and American old time music traditions.

She grew up in the roots music scene of the Bay Area under the auspices of the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers Club, directed by master fiddler Alasdair Fraser. As a teenager Kate went to Alasdair’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle school, where she was taught by Liz Carroll, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Martin Hayes, Steve Baughman and many others who continue to be great influences on her style. Kate got a degree from NYU’s Gallatin School in China studies, environmental policy and political philosophy. She lived cumulatively for two years in Asia, mostly in Kunming “city of eternal spring” in China’s sublime Yunnan Province. She travels annually as resident fiddler for the Gesundheit Institute’s humanitarian clown trip to Moscow and St Petersburg, Russia.

Upon moving to Champaign-Urbana, the Champaign County News Gazette dubbed Kate a “local fiddling sensation”, a moniker which has stuck like gum to the underside of a picnic table. In 2012 Kate gave performances at Mocktober Fest and Mercury Portal in Tucson, AZ, the Postock music festival in Wisconsin, and opened for super-star fiddle player April Verch at the CU Folk and Roots Festival.

In addition to playing solo, Kate plays regularly with the Yellow Jacket String Band. The group features Claire Johnson (5-string fiddle, vocals), Tom Turino (guitar, steel guitar, banjo, vocals, yodel) and Kate. YJSB started out playing for Midwest regional contra dances, and has recently broadened its repertoire for club shows that include Kate singing and playing finger style guitar in addition to playing 4 and 5 string fiddles and claw hammer banjo. YJSB made a debut Midwest contra tour in fall 2012 that included appearances in Urbana, Chicago, Indianapolis, Bloomington IN, and Cincinnati.
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