Anna Rheingans is a violinist, multi-instrumentalist, ethnomusicologist and composer from the English Peak District, who has grown up within the folk music traditions of northern England but invested many years immersing herself in the folk music traditions of both Southern France and Scandinavia.
For the past 8 years her main performance platform has been with duo "The Rheingans Sisters" in the UK, Europe and internationally. Since 2012, Anna has spent lots of time in Toulouse, South of France, where she completed a diploma in traditional Occitan music at the Conservatoire de Toulouse (2015). The diploma introduced her to archive research which has been a key influence in her composing and arranging. She has also been involved with several projects based in the Toulouse area, such as the dance music band "Huma La Craba", and "Duo Tricot", of which she is a founding member.
The duo The Rheingans Sisters has provided the opportunity to bring this to a wide audience to some notable acclaim including a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award and several nominations, regular plays on BBC Radio 2 and Radio 3, a production role for a Radio 4 documentary, and coverage in national newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent and The Metro, as well as international magazine Songlines, and the Transglobal World Music Chart (TWMC).
Retrieving hidden treasures from folk music archives has become one of Anna's major interests. She is particularly interested in discovering precious gems of traditional dance music and recovering these for the benefit of contemporary performers and audiences. One of her main sources is the ‘Centre de Documentation’ at COMDT (Archive at the Centre for Traditional Occitan Music and Dance in Toulouse). Another source are the archives in the Norwegian Centre for Traditional Music and Dance in Trondheim, Norway where she spent a year researching in 2016.
"I find the most interesting and inspiring material often in the most unexpected of places, and my passion is to interpret and recreate music based on these treasures. For example, over the last 3 years I have been concentrating on the intensive deconstruction and reconstruction of a three-minute recording of Norwegian fiddler Jørgen Tjønnstaul (1894-1985), of Rauland, which enchanted me and stood out of all the material I had listened to."
Anna plays other instruments including 5-string Banjo, Voice, Tambourin à Cordes and Flabuta (a three holed flute from the Béarn), and loves to combine and explore the ways that traditions compliment each other but also strongly distinguish themselves.
Anna is currently touring the fourth Rheingans Sisters album Receiver, which was released in October 2020 on the label Bendigedig (ARC Music), and preparing for a new project based entirely on her compositions, so watch this space!
Upcoming tours include UK (April, June, August, September, October 2022) and Europe (July, August 2022).