My mother brought a ukulele on a family trip to Atlanta. The 7 hour drive was pretty stressful as three unruly bored brothers turned the backseat into a war zone. In addition to our battles this trip we each learned to play 5’2″ on the uke. My first experience with a stringed instrument. Of course we performed for Grandma, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. That was over 50 years ago.
Since then I’ve played guitar, upright bass, and uke in assorted bands and groups mostly in Mississippi and Maine. (more…)
Visit Jennifer’s website (http://www.jenniferarmstrong.com/).
233 Poors Mill Road Belfast ME 04915 207-322-2265
Mia Bertelli grew up in the mountains of New Mexico, singing at every chance she could get. Her love of song led her to Vermont at the age of fifteen, where she dove into the polyphonic singing camps of Village Harmony like a penguin into the sea. Since then she has been filling kitchens, streets, concert halls, vegetable gardens, and public restrooms with song, both in the northeast and overseas. Her irrepressible inclination to harmonize and great love of playful nuance have mostly gotten her into all the right sorts of trouble, so she counts them among her blessings. (more…)
Contact Greg at bowandstring @ gmail.com.
Chris Brinn came to the U. S. from the small fishing port of Padstow on the North Cornish
coast in the UK. He now lives in Searsmont with his wife Carol and their son Declan. Chris has been playing piano accordion for over thirty five years, specializing in Irish music and songs, as well as the music of Cornwall. His connection with Ireland stems from his grandfather, born in Wicklow and raised in Dublin. Since coming to America, Chris has been able to immerse himself in traditional Irish and Irish-American music and is heavily influenced by the great Jimmy Keane of Chicago. He is a member of a number of locally based Irish bands, but plays most regularly with mates Matt Smith and Randy Billings, Maine’s best Irish Pub Band, The Napper Tandies. (more…)
Eleanor Buckland is a songwriter, singer, and fiddler, but not always in that order. As a 4th generation performing musician, Eleanor has been singing melodies since before she could talk. So it seems only natural that she would eventually fall in love with writing songs. Growing up in Maine in a musical family, her passion for songwriting and performing grew out of an influence of traditional fiddle, country & bluegrass music, as well as contemporary songwriters and musicians from the Dixie Chicks to Bonnie Raitt to Crooked Still. Her primary musical endeavor is Lula Wiles, her band with fellow Mainers, Isa Burke and Mali Obomsawin. (more…)
Isa Burke grew up in South Berwick, Maine, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. On vocals, fiddle, electric and acoustic guitars, and clawhammer banjo, Isa makes music that balances a respect for tradition with a healthy disdain for the limitations of genre. Raised in a musical family (her parents are Susie Burke and David Surette), Isa grew up immersed in the Northeast’s thriving traditional music community and has attended Maine Fiddle Camp almost every year since she was 11. In fact, Isa first picked up the fiddle at MFC! (more…)
Baron grew up playing the mandolin in Maine and graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in music performance and ethnomusicology. Versed in traditional music, bluegrass, and jazz, he is known for his rhythmic experimentation and unique harmonic sense on both the mandolin and the tenor guitar. Baron plays with fiddler Julia Plumb in their duo Velocipede and runs MandoLessons, a website offering free online mandolin lessons.
Sandy started playing the five-string banjo about 60 years ago, and he started playing penny whistles and flutes about 50 years ago. That’s when he first became passionately involved with contra dancing and playing for dances.
In the 1970’s, he was a founding member of the Roaring Jelly dance band (which is still going strong) and the Common Ground quintet. Back then, he also played occasionally with Dudley Laufman and the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra. He subsequently spent over 20 years as the founder and director of two long-standing community contra dance bands, both of which are also still playing for monthly dances: The Berlin Country Dance Orchestra (Berlin, MA), and Oh, CONTRAire! (Westford, MA). He has recorded with a number of traditional musicians, including Tony Saletan, Jay Unger, Jerry Robichaud, and Trapezoid. He has also played for many well-know dance callers, including Dudley Laufman, Ted Sanella, Larry Jenkins, Tony Parkes, Lisa Greenleaf, and Sue Rosen. (more…)
A self-described “tune hound,” Jim DiCarlo has been playing Irish music on whistle and wooden flute for contra dances, at sessions, and in the hallways of music festivals for the past 25 years. He loves learning new tunes and has even composed a few of passable quality. A long-time member of the Maine-based, not-entirely-traditional group Wake the Neighbors, he played alongside Lissa Schneckenburger, John Cote, Jessie & Greg Boardman, Ed Howe, Anthony Shostak and Alfred Lund. (more…)
Éric Favreau comes from a family of traditional musicians and has spent a great deal of time playing with other fiddlers, learning their repertoire and studying their varied styles. Éric has explored and exploited various sources including archives and personally made field recordings and has accumulated a rich and fascinating repertoire. Over the years, he has garnered a profound understanding and vast knowledge of Québécois traditional music. (more…)
Noah Fishman is a multidimensional performer, composer, and educator who bends the lines between folk, chamber, and jazz. Raised in coastal Maine, Noah studied music at Princeton and the University of Michigan, and in 2019 was selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency at The Kennedy Center. Noah attended and volunteered at Maine Fiddle Camp for many years before joining the staff, and adores the MFC community. For more information go to noahfishmanmusic.com.
Mary Fraser began her musical life by training in classical violin for thirteen years, concluding with a Suzuki method violin teacher certification. She then left the classical music world and traveled extensively throughout the UK, immersing in the traditional music of her heritage. Carrying right on into the southern US states to study the old time fiddle styles of eastern Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina. (more…)
Ellen Gawler is a celebrated fiddler, masterful in many styles, including Irish, French-Canadian, Maritime, Shetland and New England. Her fiddling possesses sparkling clarity, authentically rooted in tradition while at the same time inventive and playful. Her lively delivery of traditional fiddling has sent many a contra dance hall into whirling delight with soaring melodies and driving rhythms. (more…)
Pascal Gemme has a degree from St-Laurent College (Montreal) in arranging and classical/jazz guitar, he has since been searching for seldom-heard songs and melodies, interpreting them in his unique and unmistakable style. Originally inspired by his fiddling grandfather, he has played with (and learned from), most of today’s great Quebecois fiddlers and singers. Since 2003, he has taught intermediate and advanced fiddle classes at Montreal’s folk music school, École des Arts de la Veillée. (more…)
Sara Grey has been playing banjo for over 58 years.
Her dad, from northern NH, played fiddle and he took Sara down south when she was young back in the early 50’s to watch some of the “old boys” play and sing. She took that knowledge back up to NH where she grew up,and played for square dances when she was still in school. She has been playing ever since….dividing her time between the states and Scotland. She has taught wherever she has lived and at many traditional music camps and schools. (more…)
Born into a musical family, Ed started playing fiddle at the age of 4, learning Suzuki method. His musical interests cover a wide spectrum from Bluegrass to Celtic and beyond and he has been a regular instructor for Maine Fiddle Camp since 2003. Howe has an extensive electronics background, and took an interest in the electric violin. He plays a 5-string NS Design electronic violin and is a featured artist on the NS design artist page. (more…)
McKinley James is a cellist studying at New England Conservatory. After years with the Vermont Youth Orchestra, she joined the Boston Youth Symphony, and then the premier youth orchestra led by Ben Zander, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. With the BPYO, she toured Europe twice, playing in concert halls such as the Berlin Philharmonie and at the Alhambra in Spain. (more…)
One of the most in demand upright bass, and five-string banjo players on the US contradance circuit, Stuart Kenney’s regional musical interests sweep from Southwest Louisiana to Acadia. He has a long career in many traditional music genres. His interest in Quebecois music formed through the fiddling of Lisa Ornstein, and performances by La Bottine Souriante. The inclusion of French Canadian music into the living tradition of New England contradance music caught his attention early on. (more…)
Bennett Konesni grew up in Appleton, Maine, 10 miles downstream of Maine Fiddle Camp. He was naturally drawn into the strong communities of old-time music, sailing, and farming in the area. At thirteen he shipped as a deckhand aboard local schooners, sailing Penobscot Bay and learning the traditional work songs of the tall ships as he raised sails and hauled anchor. Later, at Middlebury College, Bennett co-founded the student farm and spent six months studying Zulu farming songs in South Africa. (more…)
Glen gives private lessons for mandolin and tenor banjo from his home in Portland, ME, and plays for contradances throughout the Northeast, and at festivals across the country with bands such as Frigate, Steampacket, Riptide, and Stomp Rocket. Visit Glen at www.glenloper.com.
49 Brackett St, Portland ME, 04102
Elaine Malkin has played the violin since the age of 5. She was part of the resurgence of contra dances in Maine in the early 70’s, having learned from Otto Soper and Dudley Laufman. She played New England contra dances until 2009, when she began an intensive study of Québécois fiddle with mainly Éric Favreau, but also with Lisa Ornstein, André Brunet, Yvon Mimeault, and Liette Remon. This music has completely captured her heart and she uses a traditional Québécois repertoire for contra dances, concerts, and other venues. Learning, teaching, and sharing this special music is her greatest joy.
Vogue magazine calls musician Owen Marshall “A guitar/mandolin/banjo player rivaled in character only by the occasional three-pronged carrot” (Vogue 2009). Owen has accompanied and collaborated with many of traditional music’s top performers including Aoife Clancy, Liz Carroll, Darol Anger, John Doyle, Andrea Beaton, Jerry Holland, Ari & Mia Friedman and his own traditional Irish trio “The Press Gang”. (more…)
Eric McDonald has been instructing and performing on the mandolin for a number of years. In addition to his experience in the world of traditional music, Eric spent two and a half years studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he learned from some of the best including mandolinist John McGann and cellist Eugiene Friesen. Exposure to jazz and other styles come through in his playing. Eric has spent the last three years touring with bands such as The Dave Rowe Trio, Matching Orange, Jaded Mandolin and others. You can hear him on many independent recordings by Boston based artists, and you can catch him teaching at the Passim School of Music in Cambridge.
Helen Newell started playing violin at the age of three, and has spent every year of her life at Maine Fiddle Camp, including in utero! Helen grew up playing both folk and classical fiddle, performing in notable orchestras and chamber groups, as well as playing gigs and contra dances with the Newell Family Band and her contra dance band, Volution. Helen is currently attending Berklee College of Music, studying jazz, folk, and classical violin. Helen also has a private violin studio and is also a personal trainer and nutrition coach.
Kaity teaches fiddle in Damariscotta and has played for dances for many years with The Maine Country Dance Orchestra, and with the band The Lady Bugs. A native of Great Britain, Kaity has brought many a fine tune from the British Isles to our local dances. Kaity also plays viola in the local community orchestra and has four children, all of whom play music and come to camp every year.
7 Creek Lane Damariscotta ME 044543 207-563-8440
Mali Obomsawin is originally from Farmington, Maine, and grew up attending Maine Fiddle Camp for bass and mandolin. A Franklin County Fiddlers alumna, she went on to study jazz performance at Berklee College of Music for four semesters before transferring to Dartmouth College where she will graduate in 2018. Mali sings and plays bass in her nationally touring band Lula Wiles (who met at MFC!), and has performed at premier festivals and venues along the east coast. She has shared the stage with Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards, Matt Glaser, Greg Liszt, Caitlin Canty, Stash Wyslouch, and Jason Annick, among others. (more…)
Bill Olson teaches both guitar and upright bass at Maine Fiddle Camp. He is probably best known at home and abroad as a contradance caller and choreographer. Bill has played and called for dances in 25 states and his dance compositions, known for their high potential energy and excellent flow, and are called by contradance callers all over the world. Bill started playing guitar in 1958, dancing in 1976, calling in 1985, and playing bass in 1993. He has been singing all his life.
Hannah Otten grew up in upstate New York, living both near the banks of the Hudson River and within the Catskill Mountains. She began playing classical viola at the age of 9, picked up a violin at age 15, arrived at Maine Fiddle Camp, and kept on playing traditional fiddle styles from there. Hannah has a clear and playful teaching style that serves camp well as a member of the beginner team. (more…)
Gordon Peery started playing contra dance piano in the late 1970’s He was fortunate to be in the neighborhood of Bob McQuillen, who was an inspiration and mentor. Though Gordon quickly evolved his own style of playing, he was permanently influenced by Bob’s commitment to providing a solid bass line for dances. Gordon was the piano player for the band Fresh Fish, (with fiddler Kerry Elkin), which became a nationally prominent contra dance band. They toured the country extensively between 1985 and 1995, and produced a recording, “Turning of the Tide”. (more…)
John started his very early musical life as a drummer, but by some miracle got hooked on traditional music in his teens.
Upon moving to Maine in1989, he helped establish the North Whitefield Contra Dance with famed caller Ted Sannella and the bands Calliope and The Usual Suspects, and continues playing for dances today with Henry Road and Sassafras Stomp.
John’s been teaching fiddle at Maine Fiddle Camp from the start, and more recently offering beginning/intermediate harmonica. He’s been known to get a few silly skits going for the evening variety show. He teaches fiddle, guitar and harmonica privately and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org 338-0296.
Doug likes to play the “old-time piano” for dances, melodramas, honky tonk saloons, and silent movies. He learned his style from Otto Soper, Geneva Walton, and Danny Patt among many others. He plays with Old Grey Goose and produced all three of their recordings, including the group’s first recording in 1978 for Folkways, “Old Time Country Dance Tunes and Songs from Maine”, now available again on CD. Doug also plays piano, accordion, and fiddle. He is the Camp Director again this year.
116 Pleasant Cove Dr. Woolwich ME 04579 207-522-3800
Sharon has been a student of tin whistle and wooden flute since 1977 when she attended the Willy Clancy Summer School while working in Ireland for the year. On her return to Boston to care for her grandmother, she studied with master flute players in the Hanafin /Cooley Comhalthus branch. She move to Maine to raise her children and became a member of the Portland Ceili Band and Ladies of the Lake. She runs a music studio in Bath, Maine where she teaches flute and whistle and Music Together. For a few months every year since 2000, she happily lives and breathes Maine Fiddle alongside director Doug Protsik. Sharon can be contacted at email@example.com or 207-522-3900.
Kenny first picked up a ukulele at age 8, when a family friend bought him one. Now 50 plus years later, he’s not half bad! He’s got a menagerie of them, from soprano to baritone, and plays a variety of styles, swing music being his favorite. He taught an afternoon workshop in 2016 and Doug spied on him. He must have liked what he saw, because lo and behold, he put him on the staff! Kenny has been an actor and physical comedian for 35 years, and has performed internationally, as well as on Broadway. He also starred as the lead clown in Cirque du Soleil’s Nouvelle Experience. He, his wife Joanna and their son Evan are perennial campers at August week 1.
Alden Robinson learned to play the fiddle as a child growing up in coastal Maine. His earliest lessons came from Tamora Goltz, Katie Newell, and from the teachers at Maine Fiddle Camp. In college, he studied Irish fiddle in Ireland at University College Cork, and in several pubs.
For the past five years or so he has toured and recorded with The Press Gang, an Irish trad band from Portland. (more…)
Maggie Robinson has been teaching fiddle since 2003. She began taking fiddle lessons the age of 10 and became concert mistress of her school orchestra during her senior year. Many years later she discovered Contradancing and fell in love with the music She took the violin out of the closet and began learning fiddle tunes. She completed a course in 2003 at the Hartt College of Music, Theater, & Dance on “Teaching Fiddling”.
Currently she is teaching at several locations in greater Portland, and also regularly calls for contra dances around the state.
Bethany Waickman is a guitarist based out of Portland, Maine. She grew up in a musical family in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York state. After college she spent some time traveling, hiking, and playing music in Ireland. Upon returning, she moved to Boston to focus on music. She co-founded the contra dance trio, Anadama, and is the guitarist for VT-based fiddler/singer Lissa Schneckenburger. (more…)
Pam sings and plays several instruments in the folk trio, T-Acadie, is fiddler and singer for the Maine-based Cajun dance band, Jimmyjo & the Jumbol’Ayuhs, plays fiddle and mountain dulcimer in the contradance band, Scrod Pudding, and performs solo or with guitar player and caller Bill Olson. She is an accomplished tunesmith and has composed scores of tunes, from lively jigs and reels, to entrancing airs and beautiful waltzes.