In a world where hyphenated genres are becoming the norm, all kinds of monikers are available for a contemporary folk band - post-folk, trad-core, alt-roots, tune-rock. File under World, or file under Celtic? Aerialists fits best with the beautifully contradictory term prog-trad, creating an effortless fusion between the raw intensity of traditional fiddle music and the carefully crafted soundscapes of contemporary pop music.
Aerialists formed in early 2014 when long-time collaborators Adam Iredale-Gray (Fish & Bird) and Elise Boeur (Jenny Ritter) joined Nate Sabat (Mile Twelve) and award-winning Scottish harpist Mairi Chaimbeul, melding their ferociously creative harmonic sensibilities with a deep love for folk traditions.
Raised in a family of artists and musicians on the remote Isle of Skye, award-winning Scottish harpist Mairi Chaimbeul combines a deep-rooted sense of Gaelic tradition with a distinctive improvising voice and honed classical technique.
A founding member of critically acclaimed Canadian indie-folk band Fish & Bird, Adam Iredale-Gray has been touring hard for the past 9 years. His writing style draws on the formative Irish sessions of his youth in Victoria, as well as contemporary folk, jazz and pop influences such as Oliver Schroer, Brad Mehldau, and Bon Iver. His tunes have become part of the standard repertoire in Western Canadian fiddle circles.
Vancouver fiddler Elise Boeur immersed herself in traditional music in Ireland as a youth, later moving between jazz schools in North America and Norwegian folk music college deep in the mountains of Telemark. She has brought her sonic sensitivity and passion for folk traditions to a staggering variety of projects, from alt-folk Canadiana to prog metal.
A graduate of the voice program at New York City’s renowned LaGuardia High School, bassist Nate Sabat’s musical roots are in choral singing. The past few years have seen his rapid rise as a bluegrass and folk-centric bassist in the northeast, as he has delved deep into American roots music - studying with Bruce Molsky, and training under Mike Marshall and Bela Fleck at the Savannah Acoustic Music Seminar.
All four moved to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music. Thriving in the city’s hot acoustic music scene, they’re all active as leaders and collaborators in diverse projects.
Driven to create something tight and explosive from the very start, Aerialists wrote and rehearsed for nearly a year before their Boston debut. In 2015, they took this material to a small island off the west coast of British Columbia and crafted their debut EP in an isolated studio caught between ocean and forest. The band usually performs as a quintet, joined by exceptional drummers including Jake Jenne, Sean Trischka, and Tiago Michelin.