"Particularly impressive."
— The Boston Globe

Photo By SubbusClicks

Bio


“One of the brightest young fiddlers around today.”        — Brian O’Donovan, host of WGBH radio’s “A Celtic Sojourn”
“Particularly impressive”        — The Boston Globe
“Superb, inspiring, and unforgettable! Her magic is such that she sweeps audiences along with the sounds she and her instrument make.”        — Willie Ruff, Director of the Ellington Jazz Series, Yale University
“Mari Black is an extraordinary musician; her sound is musical enthusiasm personified.”        — Dr. John Turner, 10-time U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion
“Mari Black is the first fiddler who inspired me to want to learn how to dance. Her skill and infectious joy in fiddling is beyond words.”        — Rich Warren, host of WFMT radio’s “Folkstage”

Photo By Jason Jong
Mari performs her trademark novelty fiddling

Called “one of the brightest fiddlers around today” (Brian O’Donovan, WGBH radio’s A Celtic Sojourn), multistyle violinist and champion fiddler MARI BLACK delights audiences around the world with her energetic playing, sparkling stage presence, and dazzlingly virtuosic fiddling. Mari's dynamic performances are infused with her sense playfulness and deep love of the history behind the music, as she weaves together driving dance tunes with beloved stories that bring the music to life. Walk into any of her shows, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to see people out of their seats and dancing in the aisles!

Photo By Derick Maxwell
Mari holds the champion’s quaich, moments after winning the 2014 Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Championship

Raised on a rich blend of traditional musical styles, Mari burst onto the international stage when she became Scotland’s Glenfiddich Fiddle Champion, 2-time U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, and 2-time Canadian Maritime Fiddle Champion, all within a three-year period. Ever since, she has been spreading her love for dance-based music, performing as a featured artist at performing arts centers, Celtic festivals, Scottish Highland Games, celebrated folk venues, world music concert series, and acclaimed classical venues including Carnegie Hall. Favorite appearances include performing at the seaside Shalin Liu Performing Arts Center in Massachusetts, headlining at the North Texas Irish Festival, joining in with four legendary jazz drummers for “The Whole Drum Truth” at the Yale School of Music’s Ellington Fellowship concert series, and representing the U.S. at the “Festival of Champions” celebration concert at Blair Castle in Scotland. Mari can even be heard (and seen!) in the award-winning video game BioShock: Burial at Sea. She has appeared with such diverse artists as Irish fiddle master Liz Carroll, Americana master Mark O’Connor, and jazzman Willie Ruff, and has been named Canadian Novelty Fiddle Champion, 1st Prize Winner at the American Protégé International String Competition, and 2-time laureate at the American String Teachers’ Association Alternative Styles Awards. Mari has been featured on the BBC Radio Scotland’s “Take the Floor”, Fox and CBS morning news, and NPR’s “Here and Now,” and her debut album “Flight” has been featured on folk, Celtic, world music radio shows across the country. An enthusiastic collector of passport stamps, she has played concerts in Brazil, Scotland, Canada, China, Korea, Zimbabwe, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, and France...and she can’t wait for the next stop! Currently touring nationally with her trio, Mari's favorite thing to do is sweep audiences away on a spirited musical adventure featuring dance music from around the globe: Celtic, American, and Canadian fiddling, jazz, tango, klezmer, folk, original works, and more!

Photo By Jason Jong
Mari in concert with her band

Mari’s passion for dance-driven music extends far beyond the concert stage, as reflected in her work as a teacher, composer, dancer, competition judge, and musical ambassador committed to connecting people through music. Having earned her Doctorate in Education from Columbia University and a Masters in Performance from the Yale School of Music, Mari is a master teacher who is dedicated to helping students of all ages and levels explore the joy of making music. She teaches regularly at prestigious camps and workshops around the country, including appearances at the Swannanoa Gathering, the Acadia Trad School, the Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling, the Mark O’Connor fiddle camp, the Tanglewood Festival, the Yale School of Music, and more. Several of her students are now becoming champion fiddlers in their own right, winning top awards at the U.S. Scottish Nationals and other competitions. Mari’s ear-catching compositions draw on a broad range of stylistic influences, and have won several awards, including a Gold Medal from the MASC International Songwriting Competition. Some of her personal favorite compositions are featured on her debut album, “Flight”, released in 2014.

Mari is currently touring around the world with her bands, the World Fiddle Ensemble and her Celtic Band. In between shows, she still finds time to engage in collaborative projects with fellow artists, and host a series of YouTube videos called "Mari's Tune of the Month", where she teaches some of her favorite fiddle tunes. Click on these links and more to explore her many musical projects!

(Concert presenters and media folks, please visit the EPK page for a press version of this bio and other print-ready publicity materials)

Mari’s “Passion in 90 Seconds” video


Hear from some event organizers:

“My patrons are still talking about her turn on the stage of The Coffee Gallery Backstage. Great to have on my stage...perfect in every way. Hurry back!”        —Bob Stane, booking manager for The Coffee Gallery Backstage, Los Angeles, CA
“My great revelation of 2014″        — Randy Labbe, Director of the Saltwater Celtic Festival
“I felt lucky to be watching her performance.”        —Scott Richardson, Music Director of the Punkinfiddle Festival, Wells ME
“She knocked our socks off!”        —Jan Tappan, Director of the L.A. Scottish Fiddlers
“Mari’s remarkable musical talent plus her ability to engage the audience made for a wonderful evening of fun and entertainment. She infused the performance with quietly beautiful thoughts about reaching out to others. The night was heartwarming and richly enjoyable.”        —Win Cox, Co-founder of Women's Empowerment International
“I don’t know any musician who has crossed as many boundaries as Mari has — from folk to jazz to classical to world music. Actually, for Mari Black, there are no boundaries.”        —Tim McLaughlin, concert presenter

Hear what audience members have to say:

“I was captivated immediately and could have listened to you play for hours more.”        —Donna, New Brunswick, Canada
“Amazing! You make it so I can’t help but dance along to the music!”        —Ella, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
“What a treat to see you for the first time at Longfellow Square in Portland, Me last evening! You made the Saltwater Celtic Fest really happen for me.”        —Betsy, Portland, ME
“She gave a formidable performance, incorporating a warm stage presence with sound technique and an interesting interpretation.”        —Ronnie, Pitlochry, Scotland
“Saw you at the festival yesterday…you were amazing! We really enjoyed it. Thanks for coming to Austin!”        —Tressa, Austin, TX
“Thank for the joy and energy you bring to your performances! I always feel that I have experienced something unique after seeing you.”        —Lyn, Farmington, ME
“I love your music, and the life you infuse into your playing! You were the most amazing, fun emcee, and I hope you will play that show again, and tell us your stories and what you’re thinking. It was great. Your playing was beyond the moon.”        —Sarah, Salem, MA
“We loved your energy and rapport with the audience, and of course your incredible playing. Just delightful!”        —Jen, Ellsworth, ME
“Thanks for such a unique and memorable performance! Perfect timing, expression, musicality, and emotion. The soul of the violin was with you!”        —Salvi, San Pedro de Alcantara, Spain