[Note: clicking on hyperlinked tune titles will activate pdf download of the music]
“You Married My Daughter But Yet You Didn’t.” The title of this old New England reel is an enigma. Is it a mis-print? Or is it a deliberate play on words, meant to be instructive or simply playfully puzzling? Andrew Kuntz, in his The Fiddler’s Companion website, includes the rather ominous interpretation that “you had relations with my daughter, but never married her.” On a lighter note, if the “you” is either a minister or priest then the riddle is solved.
Other tune titles evoke the actual sound of the tune. There is “The Growling Old Man and Grumbling Old Woman” with the first half of this French-Canadian tune (played on the fiddle in the low register) sounding the man’s part and the second half (high register) bidding the part of the lady. A haunting Irish jig goes by the curious name, “I Buried My Wife and Danced on Her Grave.” Whether this is a caustic comment related to a doomed marriage or a way for the fellow to fondly recall his departed dancing partner will be left to the reader to decide. The title, when spoken in the cadence of a jig, does perfectly fit the opening two bars of the tune. Read more
Harvey Tolman’s influence on local musicians, his recordings and compositions, and his regular appearances at the Monday night Nelson contra dance have all magically combined to help spread the compelling dance music of Cape Breton throughout the region and well beyond, across the country. It was indeed an occasion for great rejoicing when Harvey was honored by being selected to receive the Governors Arts Awards “New Hampshire Folk Heritage Award” in 2007. The Folk Heritage Award was presented to Harvey by the N.H. State Council on the Arts on April 24, 2008, before an enthusiastic audience at the Colonial Theater in Keene.
The Council on the Arts had contacted me in the fall of 2007, asking if I’d be interested in creating a work of art that could be presented to Harvey at the awards ceremony in the spring of 2008. I was deeply honored and thrilled to be given this opportunity to help honor Harvey, who I’ve known for many years. I’ve enjoyed dancing to Harvey’s music, and visiting him to listen to and play tunes. (click on the image to see a larger rendering) Read more
The Montville Project is a new recording of quintessential New England tunes, performed by four quintessential New England musicians: Art Bryan, George Fowler, Surya Mitchell, and Fred White. The project grew out of a workshop which the musicians presented at the 2007 Maine Fiddle Camp inMontville, Maine, called The Essential Dance Tune Repertoire. As explained in the liner notes, “Any musical tradition has a core repertoire which experienced players are expected to know.” Attendees of the aforementioned workshop encouraged the recording of the tunes – most of them have been recorded previously and in some cases frequently, but until now there has not been a definitive collection exclusively representing the classics. “Definitive” must be qualified: originally 200 tunes were identified as candidates, but practical considerations required editing the list down to 53. Most of the tunes are presented in sets of three or four, for a total of 22 tracks, making over an hour and seven minutes of music! Read more
Bob McQuillen, grandmaster of New England contra dance piano, and certainly the most prolific living (or otherwise) composer of contra dance tunes, has arranged with Great Meadow Music to have them become the official publisher of his work. They will handle wholesale distribution of his 13 tune books, and six CD’s, as well as any subsequent books or recordings, or licensing of his music.
Conversing with Bob in his Peterborough, New Hampshire home, he expresses great pleasure in being relieved of managing the business details of his significant legacy, and he looks forward to concentrating on the creative side of future projects: a new recording project is underway, and the tunes have not stopped flowing. His most recent book brings his total published compositions to 1,300. Read more
The Monadnock Folklore Society is pleased to announce the opening of the application period for the Johnny Trombly Scholarship. This is the 7th year of the program, which provides funding of up to $500 for a student 18 or younger to study traditional New England dance music. The scholarship may be used for standard music lessons, special study opportunities, music or dance camps, etc. For more information please visit the Johnny Trombly section of this Web site. You can help MFS promote the program by passing along this information to any young person you know who may be interested, and also to instructors in the field of traditional New England music so that they inform their students.
There’s a commonly deployed fairy tale where a person is put under a spell that causes them to fall in love with the next person (or creature) that they meet. The concept is entertaining, but it also suggests a truth in the human psyche; that there are things that can occur within us that ripen our receptivity to romance. It is with some caution then, that we urge you to listen to Spyglass, an album made up entirely of waltzes.
Rodney Miller is in his fourth decade as a recording artist, and has for some time enjoyed residence in the pantheon of contra dance fiddlers. His previous albums are fairly distinct from each other while maintaining a common thread of being comprised of solid dance tunes; well-chosen blends of jigs and reels, and the occasional waltz. It requires both creativity and confidence to produce a recording that does not deviate from ¾ time.
Elvie Miller, his daughter, may have a genetic blessing on her musical abilities, but it still takes considerable effort to make music sound so effortless. One cannot say that she “accompanies” her father on piano and accordion; her playing provides an equal partnership (indeed she is even heard in a 2:1 ratio in several places, multi-tracking both instruments). Her playing exudes a steady strength while frequently venturing into the ethereal. Read more
SORRY FOLKS, NO DANCE TONIGHT!
Saturday, December 13th
Beginner’s Workshop 7:30
Dance 8:00 – 11:30
Admission: $8 / $6 seniors, students
For information: 603.762.0235 or E-mail: Lisa SievertsNils Fredland lends his distinct calling to an evening of contra dancing supported by world-class fiddler Rodney Miller, and New England legend, flute and whistle player Sarah Bauhan, accompanied by Gordon Peery on piano. Sure to be a high-energy event to propel you through the holiday season.
Lathrop’s Waltz is the title of a new release from flute and whistle-player Sarah Bauhan. Through each of her 4 albums (starting in 1991) Sarah’s efforts have evolved in breadth and sophistication, though it must be said that she set the bar quite high from the beginning.
One could be unfamiliar with Sarah’s music, or even this genre (New England/Scottish/Celtic) and yet still reap great pleasure from listening. The melodies range from haunting to delightful, and they are well served by the caliber and diversity of the musicians. I believe Sarah took a risk (albeit well-calculated) in having such variety. Some of the pieces are rendered in a more modern, fluid style (the piano and bass stylings of Kent Allyn tastefully reveal his jazz influences), while other pieces are more solidly New England, accompanied by the inevitable Bob McQuillen, who has also served as a mentor throughout Sarah’s career. Read more