‘Thrill’ for fiddler as musical masterpiece goes viral

January 11, 2016

Fame for a Camlough musician is reaching new heights after he posted an online video in which he recreated Michael Jackson’s iconic pop tune Thriller on his traditional fiddle and using a phone app.

Renowned trad fiddle player, Niall Murphy, arranged the piece for nine fiddles and recorded it on the Acapello app, which enabled him to combine the nine videos into one piece.  The resulting musical masterpiece has gone viral and has led to numerous interviews with national and local news outlets.

Speaking to The Examiner, Niall says he is both amazed and delighted at the reaction, describing it as “an idea that went a wee bit crazy”.

Having been playing traditional music for 17 years, he explained that he loves to experiment with different styles of music and has a keen interest in bluegrass, country and pop.

“Michael Jackson is one of my favourite singers and arrangers and so I thought about doing a cover of one of his classic hits that everyone knows,” he explained.

“Before starting to record, I arranged the piece for nine fiddles. Some tracks are melody, some are plucked bass lines, some are replicating the brass section and using a fiddle technique called ‘the chop’, I replicated the percussion sound.  When it all played together I was surprised at the outcome.  I put it up online on Tuesday night and when I woke up Wednesday morn and it had already gone viral and the [media] interviews started. It was great!”

Niall’s aim is to demonstrate the versatility of the fiddle and that it should not be viewed as solely a traditional Irish music instrument: “A lot of people don’t realize the different sounds.  I want to show that it can be taken to a different dimension, the styles and stuff that can be created with it,” he added.

The video led to a slew of interviews with national news outlets and Niall has revealed that he has since been commissioned by a national radio station to compose a unique theme tune for its coverage of Euro 2016 later this year.

Having carved an enviable reputation for himself amongst highly renowned musicians and singers around the world in Irish Traditional, English Folk and Country and Bluegrass circles, Niall currently tours with the Cara Dillon band and Breaking Trad.  He has previously worked alongside many renowned performers including bluegrass legend Dan Tyminski (guitarist with Alison Krauss and Union Station and singer of Avicci’s ‘Hey Brother’), The Dubliners, The Chieftans, Van Morrison and Paul Brady, to name just a few.

Niall has accumulated many accolades in his career to date including, among others, Senior All Ireland Fiddle Champion 2012, Fiddler of Oriel Winner 2009/2010/2011, Fiddler of Dooney Winner 2011 and BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Winner 2012.

This latest achievement has undoubtedly added another ‘string to the bow’ of this extremely talented musician.