About the Teachers
Becky Tracy began playing for contra dancing in Maine, bending her early classical training to the demands of dance music. Later, she studied Irish and French Canadian fiddling. All these elements combined to give Becky her distinctive clarity of tone, a rhythmic attack owing much to French Canadian playing and the melodic quality of Irish music. Her sound is unmistakable. She has been a defining presence in some of the most popular and innovative contra dance bands to come out of New England, being the fiddler for both Wild Asparagus and Nightingale. Becky is featured on recordings by both these groups. She has performed for dance events and concerts in about 40 states across the US, as well as Canada and Europe and is a popular fiddle teacher at summer music camps. Her solo recording, Evergreen from 2001 is an album of haunting beauty, intimacy and exuberance.
Brian Conway is one of the premier Irish fiddle players living in America. He performs with a skill, grace and force that are steeped in tradition but distinctively his own. Brian has won numerous All-Ireland fiddling competitions, including the prestigious All-Ireland senior championship. New York born, Brian is a leading exponent of the highly ornamented Sligo fiddling style made famous by the late Michael Coleman and passed on to him by legendary Martin Wynne and fiddle great Andy McGann. His talents have also been enthusiastically received all over North America and throughout Ireland and the rest of Europe.
Wendy MacIsaac is a renowned fiddler from Cape Breton who has been playing music for over 30 years. She is recognized as one of the “old school” style of players who has kept the traditional sound going and has a deep respect for it. Wendy is also a sought after piano accompanist and step dancer. Besides performing as a solo artist, Wendy tours with Mary Jane Lamond and can also be seen performing with Beolach, who she toured with for 11 years. Wendy is in high demand for her skills at teaching the Cape Breton style of fiddling. She travels throughout North America and overseas as well as teaching from her home in Halifax.
Pascal Gemme Since the end of the 90’s, Pascal Gemme has been searching for seldom heard songs and melodies and interpreting his own compositions with a unique, unmistakable style as a part of Quebecois trio Genticorum. Inspired to take up the fiddle by the playing of his grandfather, he developed a solid technique and acquired a wide repertoire through the years by jamming with many great Québécois tradition bearers. Pascal has been teaching fiddle all over the world for the past 15 years and his passion for the music of his native Province is quite contagious. You can count on being warmly welcomed to any of his workshops! YouTube Channel. Patreon page here.
Ken Kolodner is widely recognized as one of "one of today's most accomplished, musical hammered dulcimer artists and a fine old-time fiddler. As a soloist and in ensembles with Helicon (with Chris Norman and Robin Bullock), Greenfire (with Laura Risk), with fiddlers Elke Baker, Jim Eagan, his son Bradley , and many others, Ken has performed for more than 30 years. He is known for his expansive and improvisational style and creative backup playing on the hammered dulcimer. Ken has taught at music camps and festivals around the U.S, in addition to his own highly popular Sandbridge, Virginia dulcimer weeks.
Fiddle virtuoso Lisa Ornstein is an outstanding interpreter of the traditional music of French Canada and Appalachia, blending compelling and inventive playing with impeccable tune choice. Befriended by North Carolina fiddle legend Tommy Jarrell while she was in her teens, Lisa quickly became an accomplished fiddler in the Round Peak style. A musical friendship with Franco-American fiddler Louis Beaudoin set her on a path to Quebec in 1978. When La Bottine -- Quebec’s internationally renowned traditional supergroup — invited her to join the band, Lisa’s projected six-month stay began to stretch, eventually lasting twelve years. While in Quebec, Lisa spent countless hours visiting with older musicians and playing in kitchens and dance halls. She also squeezed in a master’s in folklore on the life and music of master fiddler Louis “Pitou” Boudreault. She has taught, concertized, and toured extensively in North America and Europe with some of Quebec’s finest musicians, and recorded for both Smithsonian Folkways and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Her music appears on a number of La Bottine’s albums, and on critically acclaimed CDs with former bandmates André Marchand and Normand Miron.
Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones are old-time musicians and inspired tunesmiths from Galax, Virginia. They are married - in life and music. Southern song-duets and powerful fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo tunes comprise their diverse sets. Erynn spent many years learning from older fiddlers and singers in West Virginia. Her book, Music In The Air Somewhere, is published by the WVU Press. Georgia born - Carl is a songwriter, multi-instumentalist and popular teacher at Augusta and other camps across the country. His song Last Time on the Road was featured on the grammy-award winning album “Unleashed” by the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Marshall won 1st place fiddle at the Appalachian Stringband Festival in Clifftop, WV and Carl won a guitar when he placed 3rd in the fingerpick-guitar category at Winfield, KS. They love recording and have a brand new CD together called Sweet Memories... Never Leave.
Nominated four times, and winner in 2015, of Musician Of The Year BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Sam Sweeney is a veteran of the mighty Bellowhead, former and inaugural artistic director of the National Folk Youth Ensemble, founder member of the acclaimed instrumental trio Leveret, and a superb instrumentalist at the forefront of the revival in English traditional music. Sam has also recorded and performed with The Full English, Eliza Carthy, Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party, Emily Portman, Martin Carthy, as well as his own critically acclaimed show Made In The Great War. He has two highly acclaimed solo recordings, The Unfinished Violin and the newly released, Unearth, Repeat.
Rachel Bell is a performer, tunesmith, and teacher. Prior to the pandemic, she was in demand throughout North America and beyond for concerts, contra dances, French bal folk dances, English country dances, workshops, and festivals. Now, she’s teaching lots of zoom lessons and workshops, playing virtual gigs, recording, and dreaming of the day when in-person dancing can resume again. She thrives on collaborative musical work, especially with her bands Eloise & Co., Peregrine Road, Alchemy, and Old World Charm School. Her playing spans an enormous range of emotion, from nuanced and sensitive to exhilarating and powerful, pushing the boundaries of what is expected from an accordion. Rachel draws her inspiration from Celtic, French, English, and Quebecois traditions, cranking out new material but also deeply respecting the melodies that have been around for hundreds of years. She is in the midst of an exciting composition project with dance choreographer Susan Kevra. The pair is creating new dance and tune combinations for the English country dance repertoire, many of which are already appearing regularly on dance programs around the country and beyond. Whenever Rachel is not blissing out on a 10-hour rehearsal marathon with her bandmate Becky Tracy or on the road playing gigs, she can be found exploring Vermont's beautiful forests and waterfalls or seeking out excellent espresso. Recordings available at https://eloiseandco.bandcamp.com/
Baltimore-based clawhammer banjoist Brad Kolodner represents the next generation of Old-Time musicians pushing the boundaries of the tradition into uncharted territory. Regarded for his delicate touch, expressive style, and original compositions, Kolodner has rapidly gained national attention for his unique approach to the banjo at just 26 years of age. Awarded the 2016 IBMA Momentum Award for Industry Involvement, Kolodner is helping to lead the charge as a performer, teacher, DJ for WAMU’s Bluegrass Country, jam leader, community builder and ambassador for Old-Time music. He regularly performs across the country in a duo with his father Ken Kolodner, a world renowned hammered dulcimer player and with the acoustic roots quartet Charm City Junction.