Accompanying Folk Music on cello: advanced tips and chops

Day 5 Sunday 18|02


Toby Kuhn

Born into a multilingual artistic family, Toby was bathed in classical music throughout his childhood. He picked up the cello at 7 and completed 20 years of study, which culminated in a Bachelor’s degree in both Cello and Music Theory from McGill University.

Feeling somewhat unsatisfied by all that his education had left out, he proceeded to travel the roads of Europe, busking and discovering a new world of improvised music, freely exploring all the possibilities and techniques the cello has to offer, without limitations and with a deeper connection to the people and places he encountered along the way.

Soon he established himself in Ljubljana where he met and worked with musicians of all kinds. He developed a fascination for the folk music(s) of the Balkans and their intense, raw emotion. Through regular participation and mentoring in Ethno histEria and the attendant Floating Castle festival, he has come to live and work in the wider European folk scene, playing Old-Timey Americana one night and Balkan-Ethno-Jazz the next, while making time for British folk songs, French dances and heart-wrenching Anatolian ballads.

Spawned in classical music and left to dry on the streets of Europe, seasoned with the spice of Jazz, Folk and Funk, Toby decants an exploration of his instrument through wide-ranging improvisation, bringing his musical musings to the stage in an effort to intoxicate his audience with the soft beauty of the cello and his love of the ephemeral. His current projects are Wild Strings Trio, a duo with Hannah James, Old Salt, Bipolar Bows and other occasional projects.

photo © Filip Verpoest