May 5th, 2019
Michael Cleveland was born blind but he fell in love with the violin as a young child when he heard a recording of the fiddle tune Orange Blossom Special. “I want to play that,” he told himself and, with the help of his parents and teachers at a school for the blind, that’s exactly what he did, and a whole bunch of other tunes as well. Named fiddler of the year six times in a row by the International Bluegrass Music Association, Michael performs with his group Flamekeeper. I interviewed Michael while attending the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival in Marquette, Michigan, in 2018.