Tim Calabro | First Light Studios
Cantrip performs on stage at Chandler during the New World Festival.Tim Calabro | First Light Studios

Cantrip performs on stage at Chandler during the New World Festival.


New World Festival fans will welcome the return of Cantrip, featuring Dan Houghton (bagpipes, flute, whistles, guitar, bouzouki, vocals), Jon Bews (fiddle and vocals), and Eric McDonald (guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, vocals). Cantrip is an Old Scots word meaning a charm, magic spell or piece of mischief and it aptly describes the unexpected twists and turns in the band’s musical arrangements, as well as the compelling potency of their musicianship. 

Originally formed as a quartet, Cantrip sprung from a local session in Edinburgh nearly twenty years ago. Their driving music immediately caught the attention of lovers of traditional music, and they were quickly signed to the Foot Stompin’ label. With their first album “Silver” (2001) in hand, Cantrip made its way across the water to the United States, where they were enthusiastically received. After years of significant touring, the band parted ways with Foot Stompin’ and began producing albums on their own. Two albums later – “Boneshaker” (2005) and “Piping the Fish” (2008) – Cantrip had cemented its presence in the world of traditional music. The band took a hiatus while children were born and old continents were left for new ones, and has recently emerged with a redefined sound. Trimming itself to a trio, the band tightened its arrangements while expanding its influence. New inspirations began creeping into the sound, complementing its traditional foundation. This more mature sound debuted on their recent release “The Crossing” (2016) and has been catching the ear of listeners and concert goers all over again. Now, in recognition of 20 years of performing the band is returning to its roots and revisiting “Silver”, with a live re-release slated for Autumn 2018 that looks to be as exciting and full of energy as ever.

“Their music comes from wild landscapes and wild places of the spirit.” — The Orcadian