Andrew & Noah VanNorstrand are two of the most energetic and creative new faces on the acoustic music scene today. Often appearing with their mother, Kim, as the Great Bear Trio, these teenaged brothers have become known for their stunning performances in concert halls, on dance floors and at festivals across the country. Andrew, seventeen, and Noah, fifteen, both began taking fiddle lessons at age eight from the late Norma 'Granny' Sweet. After several years they started picking up other instruments as well. Andrew is now an accomplished accompanist on guitar, bouzouki and bass while Noah has become proficient at African drumming and the Australian didgeridoo. Both boys are talented composers and arrangers, drawing on the fiddling traditions of Ireland, Scandinavia and Appalachia as their primary influences. However, a wide variety of other, more modern musical elements can also be heard in their playing, including jazz, rock and world-beat percussion. The result is a fascinating and highly unique sound that's both striking and subtle. Andrew and Noah recently appeared on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion as finalists in the nationwide 'Talent from Twelve to Twenty' competition. The boys have put out two recordings, one with mother Kim on piano, self-titled The Great Bear Trio (GBR CD001) and a brand new project entitled Driftage (GBR CD002), a phenomenal recording that has been featured on NPR's Open Mic online music program and The Thistle and Shamrock with Fiona Ritchie. These recordings, comprised of many original pieces and ground-breaking arrangements, demonstrate not only what these talented teens are capable of, but also what we can look forward to in years to come. 'Their [Andrew & Noah's] eclectic, multi-tracked arrangements show both considerable technical ability and an ear for orchestration.' ~ Tom Nelligan, Dirty Linen Magazine 'This astonishing album [Driftage, GBR CD002] demonstrates a depth of musical understanding seldom found in musicians double or triple their ages.' ~ Rob Weir, SingOut! Magazine 'When it comes to just about every form of acoustic folk music imaginable, it's hard to identify anybody better at playing this great stuff than New York State's own Andrew & Noah VanNorstrand. These two brothers are fun, talented, and, above all great showmen!' Bill Knowlton, 'Bluegrass Ramble,' WCNY-FM: Syracuse/Utica/Watertown NY 'Surprising, refreshing, original yet traditional - if you didn't know their ages, you'd think the VanNorstrand brothers had been recording and touring for decades. If I were a recording company, I'd grab them up as quickly as possible!' ~Julie Lyonn Lieberman, author, improvising violinist/singer 'Your CD [Driftage, GBR CD002] is still my absolute favorite this year - love every note, every tune!' ~Liz Carroll, Irish Fiddle Extrodinaire 'The VanNorstrands plant their feet firmly in the musical traditions of North America, Ireland, and Scandinavia, but their musical imaginations soar, creating melodies and harmonies that are lyrical, exciting, and original. This is music that really makes me sit up and take notice -- and smile.' ~Susan Conger, fiddler, composer, and teacher 'The VanNorstrand's latest CD is remarkable ... so young, so talented, and they're two of the nicest kids. They are not shy in interviews and always willing to perform live ... we've had some great times on the air!' ~Big Mike Fiss, Morning DJ Sunny 102 Radio.
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