Geoffrey Castle is a pioneer on the electric six-string violin. From his beginnings as a street musician in New York City and Paris, he rose to play in the Tony Award winning Broadway production of M. Butterfly. A theme of Castle’s career is to destroy people’s pre-conceived notions of what is possible on a violin, which he does every time he takes the stage. A bandleader and solo artist—with several critically acclaimed releases on his own Twisted Fiddle Music label—Geoffrey Castle has also managed to share stages with an illustrious group of musicians including Blues Traveler, all of the original and current members of Heart, Buddy Miles, and Alan White of Yes.
Alan White recently tapped Castle to be a member of the All-Star group the White Sox with Bernt Bodal; in this group Castle adds his violin pyrotechnics to the considerable talents of folks like Spike Edney (Queen), Jamie Moses (Queen, Bad Company), Tom Bowes (Tower of Power), Eric Bazilian (the Hooters), and many many more.
As a show producer and band leader, Castle loves to bring this wide diversity of musical styles to his high-energy Celtic Celebrations. With a core band that includes Darin Watkins and Eric Robert, this power trio creates a sound that is as unique as it is crowd pleasing. (You can see video footage of this trio in action.) Special guests at the celebrations have included Alan White, Bernt Bodal, Beth Quist (Cirque du Soleil), and award winning Celtic dancers from the Comerford School of Irish Dance, and the nationally renowned Celtic trio the Gothard Sisters.
Castle’s fresh approach to Celtic music is most evident on his latest release Streets of Inwood: Celtic Soul bringing a more urban, smooth, and bluesy approach to traditional Celtic material. Castle’s solo debut, “Mist on the Mountain” was called “A pure, uncluttered masterpiece” by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. With all the critical acclaim that Castle has received for his recordings, it is always live performance that continues to be the focus of Castle’s career. Trying to capture the energy of the live show has become a new focus, with a live recording at the beautiful Triple Door theater in the works for 2010.
“Jaw Dropping Rock Violinist” was the headline when a reporter from the Anchorage Daily News happened to catch Castle in action recently. With his diversity of styles and command of the instrument, Castle has been a favorite performer live on the air on stations as diverse as KWHL (Hard Rock), KMPS (Country – Seattle’s #1 Station), KWJZ (Smooth Jazz), KZOK (Classic Rock), and many appearances on National Public Radio.
In keeping with the theme of changing the public’s perception of what is possible on the violin, Castle has long been an advocate of community outreach and school performances, inspiring the next generation. School assembly, workshops, and fundraiser performances like “Keep the Music Alive,” and the All-Star Synergia Concert to help support music programs in the schools, are all part of a genuine desire on the part of Geoffrey Castle to keep music programs alive in what is truly a tough economic environment. Recently, Castle, along with 400 members of school orchestras in the Seattle area, set a world record for the most string players under one roof!
Castle is also the only electric rock violinist with his own iPhone App! Developed with PlayVisions corporation, Violin Guy for iPhone lets you turn your phone into a violin where you can play an assortment of fun Irish and holiday tunes. Just visit the iTunes App store and search for Violin Guy.
Castle has also been the host of the weekly Monday Night Celtic Night party at Kirkland’s Wilde Rover Irish Pub, with his friend and co-host Dan Connolly. No matter where Castle’s tours take him, he always tries to make it back home for the party. Come out sometime and get your Irish up!
A graduate of Columbia University, Geoffrey Castle lives in Kenmore Washington with his wife Shannon, and has called the state of Washington home since 1995.