A Viola da Gamba Adventure

Gerald Trimble

bass viola da gamba, viola d'amore, quinton de viole,
pardessus de viole, 5-string fretted bass violin, vocals
River Guerguerian, percussion
Eliot Wadopian, double bass
Webster Williams, bass viola da gamba
Juan Camillo Reyes, palmas






"There's a rich territory in which Early Music meets World Music and certainly sounds extremely effective on viola da gamba...Trimble's approach is instinctive..."
Songlines [July 2015]
“The performances are quite unusual. They turn the viola da gamba into a folk instrument, though the arrangements have a good deal of subtlety disguised by the slides and relaxed sound of almost everything. One never knows what is going to happen next but it all sounds quite relaxed and natural. It is an unusual project carried out in style.”
D Moore, American Record Guide [July/August 2015]
“Gerald Trimble is a modern musician who likes to play old music on old instruments in a new way… Listening to Trimble and his ensemble play on their CD, I hear catchy, lilting music that invites contemporary toes to tap and today’s couch potatoes to get up and dance… Trimble learned a great deal about Turkish folk music and developed a love for it. I think Fanfare readers will love it too. The Turkish pieces Trimble plays on this disc...are positively enchanting. MSR’s rendition of the sounds of these unusual instruments is clear and well balanced. I found this disc to be fascinating and will be playing it for guests at my next party. I think readers will want to own it so they can do the same.”
Maria Nockin, Fanfare [July/August 2015]
“Gerald Trimble is a fine player—every bar of every piece on this record testifies to a talent of broad proportions and a keen intellect seeking to explore the nooks and crannies of traditions common to his chosen instrument’s origins, and those alien to it… Technically he is superb, and this recording captures all the nuances of the ensemble used.”
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [June 2015]
“Trimble’s free and natural style brings its own authenticity to these old tunes. Whilst Trimble crosses many boundaries, his natural and fine musicianship manages to bring performances that are often quite intoxicating. The recording is fairly close but provides much fine detail. There are useful notes and full instrumental details... I do hope that this new release will gain an equally enthusiastic response from music lovers across the spectrum.”
Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer [May 2015]
“Traditude isn't just about adding electronics to folk music. It's about having the courage to do things that others might call weird: combining traditions, using unconventional instruments, playing in unusual ways. A good example is the latest CD from Gerald Trimble, Uncharted. ...Trimble's fluid playing, his facility with Eastern and Western modes, and his mastery of the gamba, which can sound like a cello or a classical guitar in his hands, add up to a tremendously varied set that nevertheless hangs together beautifully.”
Steven Winick, Huffington Post [March 2015]
“a showcase for Trimble and an opportunity to hear a multiplicity of instruments and musical styles and traditions”
Mark Estren, InfoDad [March 2015]
Gerald Trimble, viola da gamba innovator, is the primary exponent of a new style of playing an ancient instrument. His visionary and virtuosic playing combines Celtic, Eastern and Early Music influences with modern techniques and improvisational skills that span several centuries – from Baroque to jazz – seamlessly uniting the entire continuum.

With roots in late 15th century Moorish Spain, the viola da gamba was played throughout Europe until the later 18th century. Since the end of the 19th century, it has enjoyed a revival which continues to grow in popularity. Nevertheless, the viola da gamba remains, despite some experimentation and a handful of modern compositions, a predominately historical instrument for performing period music from written sources.

Trimble’s playing, while historically informed and respectful of traditions, surpasses the known boundaries of the instrument, connecting the cultures which produced it, and transcending the ages which developed it. Unlike the majority of conservatory players today, his style reflects the folk, improvisational and Eastern foundations of the viola da gamba – integral parts of its lineage. Additionally, Trimble expresses a more complete and updated technical potential by adapting bowed and plucked technical skills from Indian music, jazz and contemporary genres, and also incorporates non-standard tunings of his own devising (known historically as playing “lyra way”). In so doing, he re-defines the instrument as one for our time, creating the foundation for a new tradition: the viola da gamba as a world instrument.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Gerald Trimble was born November 20, 1957. His early musical experience began with guitar and singing. After years of travel and performing in England and Ireland, he forged a reputation as a leading player of the cittern in Celtic music, releasing three records which are now considered classics. He studied jazz theory with the late John Elliott, Indian classical theory and technique with sitarist Acharya Roop Verma (a disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan), and Indian vocal technique with Pandit Pran Nath, Hema Sharma and Nirmal Singh. Under the tutelage of Bora Özkök, he began years of travel and study in Turkey and became proficient on numerous Eastern lutes, including the saz, lavta, tar and setar. His introduction to bowed instruments began with the kemanche, a skin-covered gourd-shaped spike fiddle. Its upright playing position and underhand bow grip (the earliest known method which transferred to viols from its Eastern origins) both prepared him technically as a viola da gamba player, and provided a different learning background. Gerald Trimble’s musical exploration and innovation lead the listener to realms which can only be described as ... uncharted.

Gerald Trimble
6-string bass viola da gamba | anonymous (England, c.1680-1700)
6-string bass viola da gamba | Hans Christof Fleischer (Hamburg, 168?)
6-string bass viola da gamba | Pieter Rombouts (Amsterdam, 1708) (Private collection)
5-string bass violin | Barak Norman (London, c.1714)
6-string pardessus de viole | Michel Colichon (Paris, 1685)
quinton de viole | Nicholas Chappuy (Paris, c.1745)
viola d’amore 7/7 | Louis Guersan (Paris, 1762)
Instrument restoration and repair by John Pringle (Efland, North Carolina)
Strings by Damian Dlugolecki (Portland, Oregon)
Bows by Ralph Ashmead (Tuolumne, California)
Bow maintenance by Kim Krutz, KC Strings (Kansas City, Missouri)

Webster Williams
6-string bass viola da gamba | Barak Norman (London, 1722; alternate date c.1690 suggested by
William Monical)

Eliot Wadopian
Double bass | Abraham Prescott (Deerfield, New Hampshire, c.1820)

River Guerguerian
Middle Eastern frame drums, Doumbeks and riq tambourines; African djembes and rattles;
Brazilian pandeiro drum and caxixi shakers; Peruvian cajon; Indian kanjira drum; Persian daf
drum; Latin American congas, bongos and auxiliary percussion; Chinese gongs; Turkish cymbals
Frame Drums provided by Cooperman Drums
bass viola da gamba, viola d’amore, quinton de viole

Parson’s Farewell
bass viola da gamba

Greensleeves to a Ground
bass viola da gamba

Dokumaci Kizlar Yalelli
bass viola da gamba, pardessus de viole, quinton de viole, vocals

The Lunatic Lover or The Young Man’s Call to the Grim King of the Ghosts for a Cure
bass viola da gamba, quinton de viole, vocals

The Duke of Norfolk or St. Paul’s Steeple
bass viola da gamba, pardessus de viole, vocals

Antalyanin Mor Üzümü
bass viola da gamba, quinton de viole, vocals

bass viola da gamba, vocals

The Black Nag
bass viola da gamba, quinton de viole

MacKenzie’s Farewell
5-string fretted bass violin

Crockery Ware | John Come Kiss Me Now
bass viola da gamba, vocals

The Moor’s Revenge: Part 1 - Laylat Al-Qadr | Part 2 - Jig from Abdelazar
bass viola da gamba, quinton de viole, vocals

Hijaz Taksim
bass viola da gamba, vocals

La Chercheuse d’Esprit | Danse de l’Ours
bass viola da gamba

MSR Classics