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Irish music & the fiddle: “You want to dance and move around.”

At first glance, the fiddle looks a lot like a violin. The biggest difference is the piece that holds the strings together. 

"The bridge itself can be a little bit flatter, so you can play multiple strings at once, and that allows for the typical fiddle sound of lots of music being played at one time, rather than just one note at a time," Cara Lockard said. Lockard is a violinist and instructor in Cedar Falls. 

This unique shape of the bridge also gives musicians more freedom while they play.

"If you want to throw in an extra note in there that goes along with the one you’re already playing, great, it sounds really fun that way," Lockard said.

The fiddle is a staple in Irish music.

"It’s usually a little bit faster, it’s more upbeat," she said. "You want to dance and move around when you’re playing it."

Lockard is performing at Irish Fest for the first time. She was invited by festival organizers last year to add local talent to the entertainment lineup. 

"I’m very excited. There’s usually a very large crowd," she said. 

Lockard will take the stage with two popular Irish bands.

"Gosh, Gaelic Storm and The Elders – they’re kind of a big deal and so it’s very exciting and very much of an honor to be a part of all that," she said. 

Lockard said she has been playing Irish fiddle music since she was a young girl. 

"My great-grandfather was a violin maker," she said. "And, it’s just something that’s been passed down in my family – a love for the violin."

Now, Lockard is passing down her love for the violin and fiddle to her students.  

"I love seeing children just gain a love of music and how it affects them in all aspects of their lives," she said. 

For more information on Iowa Irish fest, you can visit their website


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