Cady Finlayson & Vita Tanga

Cady Finlayson is a spirited Irish fiddler, with a global twist. And while she’s best known for her Irish music expertise, Finlayson’s latest release, Electric Green, her collaboration with French guitarist Vita Tanga, is sure to expand her audience well beyond traditional Celtic boundaries. Finlayson and Tanga met during a tour honoring the music of John Denver. The downtime between touring dates led to musical experimentation and an electric guitar and fiddle performance in Finlayson’s New York City home. “It was at this total dive bar, and I wasn’t sure how the traditional Irish music would go over with that crowd,” Finlayson recalls. “So, just for fun, we decided to add some electric guitar sounds to the mix -- crybaby pedal and all. We recorded it and listened to it later, and it sounded really cool!”

Sometimes it only takes a few unexpected ingredients to attract people to an initially unfamiliar style of music.

How do you describe your music to people?
Cady: Spirited Irish fiddle with a Global Twist.  Irish tunes with American folk and world music influences. And then of course there's Vita and his wah pedal joining all that.

Vita: the same 12 notes that the others play, but played by us.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
Cady: I fell in love with Irish fiddle music right away, the way some people fall in love at first sight. I was a musician already, out of music school, freelancing in NYC, and the first time I heard it, I knew that's what I'd be doing. Irish music spoke to me right away.

Vita: Music was a big part of my family's life, so it was quite natural to play it. I've always loved it when someone would strum, bang or sing and immediately there's that magic filling the air: music!

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Cady: I just love to play more than anything else in the world. To play with great musicians, to bring that excitement and energy to a live show. It doesn't get any better than that!

Vita: To travel the world, admire it and interact with its people.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Cady: Figuring out the best use of your time/energy/money.

Vita: Staying focused!

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Cady: I always wanted to be in the performing arts, that was a given. Although I did take a career survey that suggested I go into  PEST CONTROL!

Vita: I thought I'd be free of rigid structures and enjoy the world thanks to a guitar. My quote at that time was, "A good day doesn't start with an alarm clock".

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
Cady: We live in a city with people from all over the world and you can hear an African drum circle or a fantastic piccolo solo on the same night, and sometimes the same street. Plus we have all these edgy city sounds going all the time - car horns, subway, alarms - somehow it seeps into the music.

Vita: After Asia, Europe and Africa, I'm lucky to now stay in America, where all the music from those continents converges. I consider the USA to be the "Country of Music", especially the uplifting community of NYC, which definitely wants you to "Be who you are".

What other artists out there do you love?
Cady: Yousoou N'Dour, Joan Baez, Steve Earle, Tracy ChapmanBrahms, Dolly Parton and two favorite fiddle players, John Carty and Martin Hayes.

Vita: All the good artists out there that play what I love, seriously!
Carlos Jobim, Mirwais, Nora Jones, Frederic Chopin,
On the guitar: Paco de Lucia, Jeff Beck, Van Halen and the West African Musicians.

What does your future hold?
Cady: I see a big multi-media show with a huge percussion section, lots of travel to cool places, a music video and definitely a Christmas Cd because I've always wanted one.

Vita: Hopefully a common realization that in its infinite diversity, the world and its sound are just one. But yes, travel, music and video are included.