Phil Edmonds Cathy Clasper-TorchPeter BreenMatt NiebelsMichael Fischman

 

 

 

ABOUT THE GNOMES

The Gnomes' performance venues have included:

  • Amazing Things Arts Center, Framingham, MA
  • Apeiron Sustainable Living Festival, Coventry, RI
  • Blackstone River Theatre, Cumberland, RI
  • Blackstone River Theatre Celtic Festival, Cumberland, RI
  • Bright Night Providence, Providence, RI
  • First Night Worcester, Worcester, MA
  • The Grange Hall Coffeehouse, E. Sandwich, MA
  • Lawrence Cultural Alliance, Lawrence, MA
  • The Mediator, Providence, RI
  • The Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA
  • North Kingstown Free Library Summer Series, North Kingstown, RI
  • Pawtucket Arts Festival, Pawtucket, RI
  • Peeptoad Coffeehouse, Foster, RI
  • Providence Parks Summer Concert Series, Providence, RI
  • RISD Museum event, Providence, RI
  • Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI
  • Roots Cafe and Cultural Center, downtown Providence, RI
  • Stone Soup Coffeehouse, Pawtucket, RI
  • Tall Ships Festival, Newport, RI
  • Tiverton Four Corners Center for Arts, Tiverton, RI
  • Weaver Library, East Providence, RI
  • Private parties, weddings, benefits and fundraisers
Cathy Clasper Torch (violin/fiddle, erhu, piano, cello) has been playing, teaching, and performing in RI and New England for over 20 years. She has performed and recorded with many varied groups and musicians, and is on over two dozen recordings.

Cathy's passion for world music began early on, as part of her childhood was spent living in Asia (Burma/Myanmar and Hong Kong). Her violin/fiddle playing is influenced by her love of improvisation and harmony, and informed by jazz, classical and folk genres.

Cathy currently teaches group fiddle lessons to adults at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI. She performs with various bands such as The Gnomes Band, the Atwater-Donnelly Band, Jerimoth Hill, The Red-Tide Ramblers, Trua and the Sam Hill Trio.

"Here Between" is a collection of some of Cathy's favorite hymns, spirituals, and melodies, played on her fiddle, erhu, piano, and cello. A reflective cd, to rekindle the spirit and nourish the soul!

"Here Between" can be purchased at Books on the Square on Angell Street, East Side of Providence, RI, as well as at McCarten Violins in the Hope Artiste Village on Main St., Pawtucket, RI. Cathy's cd can also be bought/downloaded from cdbaby: www.cdbaby.com/cd/cathyclaspertorch. Or you may call or email Cathy directly for cd orders: 401-272-3942, cathfiddle@hotmail.com.

Phil Edmonds, a native of Killaloe, Co. Clare, Ireland, learned to play the tin whistle in a place where he says, "The backyard was the fields." When he was 14 years old, Phil, along with his family, emigrated to America and settled in South Providence, where he still lives. Besides The Gnomes, Phil presently plays whistles and button accordion in several Rhode Island ensembles including the dance band AS220 Criss Cross Orchestra directed by Ghanaian Obuamah Laud Addy, The Providence Wholebellies, Humans of Tulla, and Trua. The world music scene of Providence has had a big influence on Phil's music. Catch him some Friday nights sitting in with Zerui DePina's Cape Verde band at Club Tropical in Central Falls.

Taking Great Care by Phil EdmondsPhil Edmonds' first book, Reconnecting with the Soul of Ireland, is a travelogue of his return to Ireland after 14 years and writing about growing up in County Clare, family history, and about the changes there since emigrating as a youth.

Taking Great Care is a journal of life here in America where nourishing community, spending time in nature and rekindling joy in living has been his journey for decades. This journal features narratives of city life experiences, camping trips and other travels, as well as musical adventures and celebrations within the Providence world music scene.

Phil Edmonds' third book, Pip's Travels - Welcome Home, is culled from his scribbled notes of camping and other adventures. The main themes are the importance of feeling connected to the natural world, and the joy, contentment, and comfort that comes with the awareness that we are part of this cosmic dance of life.

Taking Great Care by Phil EdmondsPhil's latest book is titled, On the Grey Dog in The Sea of Humanity. In January 2012, Phil embarked on a 5,500 mile adventure to New York City, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Maryland, and back to Providence. Traveling by Greyhound buses, Phil writes of the places he visits and the many people he meets along the way -- family members, friends, and strangers -- each with their own unique story to tell: Lowell, who is on his way to Key West because God told him to go there the same God who ordained him preacher; Ray, just out of prison after doing 18 years for dealing cocaine; Prudence, who says she "used to work the streets;" Grandpa Elliott, who has been a street performer in New Orleans for sixty-two years; and many folks betwixt and between. Enjoy these pages traveling with Phil in the sea of humanity.

To children, Edmonds is known as 'The Leprechaun'. To some adults, he is referred to as 'Dr. Phil'. To new acquaintances who ask: "What does Phil do?," the only meaningful reply is "Phil Things." Enjoy traveling with Phil through these pages.

Phil's books may be purchased at any of the locations listed below, at any of the gigs listed on the Shows page, or by contacting Phil directly at philwhistle@verizon.net.

  • Books on the Square Providence, RI
  • Coffee Depot Warren, RI

Peter Breen, an accomplished and versatile bass player and singer , began his musical journey as a Suzuki-method violinist at the age of four. Taking up guitar at age twelve and bass at fifteen, some of his career highlights include working with the Wilson Blue and the Blue Roots Reggae Band, enjoying a four-year residence on the West- Indian island of St. Martin and being a founding member of the Providence-based group, Rory & the Blueshounds. Living in Barrington, RI with his loving wife, Candace, and their two beautiful children, Aiyanna and Pete Junior, Peter Breen is not just a member of The Gnomes but a big fan as well.

Mike Fischman escaped from Long Island, New York, in 1985 to the cultural diversity that is Rhode Island in order to maintain his riparian status. Since then, he has played in bluegrass, old timey, Irish, rock 'n roll, blues, acoustic folk, Dixieland, swing, jazz, country and western (both kinds) and now, for the second time, world folk fusion bands. In his spare time, he teaches guitar, mandolin, three kinds of banjo, and a little bass, and in a pinch, harmonica, and to stay out of trouble, he has been DJ-ing on WRIU's Bluegrass Breakdown for the past 20 years. Aside from that, he does very little, save for his volunteer work in quantum mechanics. Mike can be seen and heard with numerous other bands, including: The Swing-Lane Orchestra (Newport), Red-Tide Ramblers, French Connection, Hope Valley Volunteers, Jimmy-Town Juke, and Folk Support Group.

Matt Niebels is the group's new percussionist as of February 2014. Combining his foundation in jazz and rock drumming, a passion for world music and a degree in classical percussion, somehow Matt has once again found himself playing with a bunch of folkies. It's no happenstance though. Prior to joining the Gnomes, Matt had played with bassist, Peter Breen, in a reggae band; recorded with string player, Mike Fischman, on an original album of JP Jones; and he grew up admiring the music of bandleader, Phil Edmonds. Making the acquaintance of Cathy Clasper-Torch, Matt was won over quickly by her melodic lines and kind spirit.

With a hybrid drum set made up of hand drums combined with a jazz kit and a variety of shakable and bangable things, Matt adds a musical spice rack of flavors to the group as well as a contagious energy and groove.

Over the past 25 years, Matt has played with the following groups: What's Up, Bach, Sunshine Smokey and the Rhythm Juice, the Agents, Spogga, JP Jones, Mr. Chubb, Edge Quartet, Buddy Roach Trio, Whole World Jumpin', Erik Narwhal, Mystic Jammers, Equal Rites, Dynamite Shack and countless jazz combos. Matt stays busy playing and recording as a freelance drummer/percussionist in the Rhode Island area.

Matt teaches music in public schools in Providence, RI and resides in South Kingstown with his beautiful wife and two daughters. During the summer and throughout the school year, Matt directs music camps as well as specialized group and individual music lessons found through www.RIrockcamp.com.

Feel free to contact him directly at matt@rirockcamp.com.

 


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24 Fourth St., Providence, RI 02906 401-272-3942