Apr 052009
 

lissaschneckenburger

LISSA SCHNECKENBURGER

TRADITIONAL FIDDLER  AND FOLK  SINGER

Hooker Dunham Theater
139 Main St, Brattleboro, VT
http://www.hookerdunham.org

“…exhilarating young traditional performer…” – Dirty Linen

“Schneckenburger’s playing is… quietly virtuosic… (her) voice is pure and clear, full of simple emotion…” – All Music Guide

Vermont based fiddler and folk singer Lissa Schneckenburger announces spring tour dates with her acoustic trio.  As an active member of the folk music community, Lissa continues to explore musical traditions, embracing a diverse palette of influences while staying true to her New England roots.

Schneckenburger’s most recent release, Song is the first in a pair of CDs dedicated to reintroducing some wonderful but largely forgotten repertoire from New England’s rich musical heritage.  Her fiddling is uplifting and lively and her singing gentle and evocative.  Both in concert and in the studio she is regularly accompanied by some of the countries best musicians.  Recently she has been closely studying the roots of the Downeast traditional music that she first heard as a young girl.

Song contains ten timeless ballads that trace as far back as the eighteenth century that Schneckenburger carefully set to modern arrangements.  “There is currently a lot of focus on traditional American music from the South” she explains “and many bands are exploring that repertoire, but no one is getting to hear the amazing wealth of traditional music from the North.  This is my first attempt at getting some of that music out there for people to enjoy.  It is really important that we represent these two essential aspects of New England’s traditional music heritage equally.  The songs and dance tunes combine to create an overview of the culture and the sound of traditional music from the Northeast.  The CDs Song and Dance are two halves of a whole that describes a musical heritage I am very proud of.”  The second recording, Dance, is scheduled for release in 2010.

Schneckenburger will be touring throughout the north east in April, along with guitar player Bethany Waickman and accordionist Chris Stevens.  Their vibrant acoustic renditions of traditional ballads and fiddle tunes are not to be missed!

For more information, please visit Lissa’s website at www.lissafiddle.com

 Posted by on April 5, 2009 at 8:26 pm
Apr 052009
 

contra algorithmLast weekend I had the pleasure of playing the piano for a Square Dance in Arlington, MA. The caller was Woody Lane, from the Portland, OR area. It’s always great to meet folks from far away, and to see what is unique about their styles.  Woody presents a cheerful and casual demeanor which allows him to teach incredibly complicated figures with an air of simplicity. I thought of a master post and beam builder, who painstakingly creates well-thought-out joinery behind the scenes for a house or barn which is then flawlessly raised.

I don’t believe that complexity is Woody’s goal for most of his dances, but he was working with some interesting material on this evening: not only were most of the attendees experienced dancers , but there was also definitely a high geek factor (engineering and computer types). Having sat at the contra piano bench for over 30 years now, I can’t help but have noticed that certain dancers relate to contra choreography as an engineering problem, and they get a sort of gleam in their eye as they work their way through the solution. The proximity to MIT and other bastions of intellect must have something to do with this. There is something amusing about seeing a flirtation executed with algorithmic glee.

Up here in Nelson the dancing tends to be more primitive, more down to earth (or this time of year, mud). Sure there are some dancers who  think a bit too much about what they are doing, but the primary MO still seems to be about fun. The satisfied smiles of completing a challenging figure are replaced by broad grins and laughter. The figures are executed with varying degrees of finesse, but ultimately the dance seems more about the social value. Continue reading »