May 9th – The Whoots Concert

On May 9th at 4 pm Pacific time, SCDS will host The Whoots for a live online concert. The band (Shira Kammen and Jim Oakden) will play Irish, Scottish, French Canadian, and old-time music, along with English country and contra dance tunes.

You can join the concert at https://contradance.link/SCDS, starting at 3:45 pm on May 9th.


After starting college on a music scholarship, Jim Oakden rapidly realized that he wasn’t cut out for six hours a day in a practice room, so he switched to science as a career while doing music for love. He launched on a musical odyssey that led first to early music and baroque, then into the captivating world of traditional and ethnic music and dance (Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Galicia, Klezmer, Greece, Bulgaria, middle East, etc). Jim plays for English country dance and records with Roguery, Persons of Quality, and the Whoots on an absurd variety of instruments from accordion to zurna. Specializing in dance music, he has performed and taught at dance camps throughout the US and organized contra, Breton, and English dance events. In his other life, Jim is a marine biologist, and has inexhaustible stories about research diving adventures at both poles and numerous places in between.

Multi-instrumentalist Shira Kammen has spent much of her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music of all kinds. A member for many years of the early music Ensembles Alcatraz and Project Ars Nova, she has also worked with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata, storyteller/harpist Patrick Ball, singers Azam Ali and Joanna Newsom, the Balkan group Kitka, Anonymous IV, the King’s Noyse, the Newberry and Folger Consorts, The Compass of the Rose, Vajra Voices, Calextone, the Oregon, California and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals, the California Revels, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to providing music on river rafting trips. In the English country dance world, she plays with Roguery and The Whoots. Shira has played on over 100 CD recordings, and also on a number of movie and television soundtracks, when weird medieval instruments are needed.

Jim and Shira have played a vast diversity of music together for nearly 25 years, in close and far-flung places from the Great Barrier Reef to Iceland, Scotland, and England, along the Colorado, Grand Ronde, John Day, and Green Rivers, and in several National Parks, among them Denali, Yellowstone, Joshua Tree. Perhaps their most epic venue was at Glacier Point in Yosemite, rendering the Death March from Star Wars for a wedding recessional.

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.

Upcoming events:
June 13 – Glen Loper and Bethany Waickman of Stomp Rocket

April 11 Turnip the Beet Concert

Our next online concert will feature Turnip the Beet, at 4 pm Pacific time on Sunday, April 11th.

You can join the concert at https://contradance.link/SCDS, starting at 3:45 pm on April 11th.

Turnip the Beet is a dance band duo from Nashville, Tennessee. Rooted in the traditions of Southern Appalachia and their local contra dances, Kelsey Wells and Jeremy Lekich combine fiddle, banjo, guitar, percussion, and the occasional mbira in an innovative and jubilant musical harvest. Expect to hear an organic mix of eclectic tunes from the American South, Ireland, Cape Breton, Quebec, and Scandinavia, as well as a half-bushel of grooving, homegrown originals.

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.

Tips:
https://turnipthebeetmusic.com/pay/

Upcoming concerts:
May 9 – The Whoots

March 14 Caroline McCaskey Concert

Mark your calendar for our next online concert, with Caroline McCaskey, on March 14th, at 4 pm Pacific time. Daylight Savings Time starts the night before this concert, so remember to set your clocks forward an hour, or you’ll miss it.

Caroline McCaskey began classical violin lessons at age nine, and at age 11 she joined the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers and went to Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School. She began playing regularly for dances with The Fiddlerats while a Music Composition major at University of the Pacific. Caroline also became a Suzuki certified teacher while getting her master’s in performance at University of Denver, and today she makes her living teaching string lessons online. In 2019, Caroline released her first solo album, and returned to her roots as a Scottish fiddler by winning the 2019 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship. She misses playing for dances as a member of the band Stringfire!, and is looking forward to reconnecting with the dance community! Expect to hear plenty of contra dance classics, as well as some of Caroline’s original compositions. 

Tip jar:
paypal.me/carolinemccaskey (may show up as AltStrings, LLC)
Venmo: @Caroline-McCaskey

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.

Upcoming concerts:
April 11 – Turnip the Beet
May 9 – The Whoots

February 7 Eloise & Co. in Concert

Mark your calendar for our next online concert, with Eloise & Co., the duo of Rachel Bell and Becky Tracy, on February 7th (the first Sunday of the month), at 4 pm Pacific time.

You can join the concert at https://contradance.link/SCDS, starting at 3:45 pm on February 7th. 

Eloise & Co. features the combined creative force of two of the country’s most sought-after dance musicians, Becky Tracy and Rachel Bell, playing Celtic, contra dance, bal folk, and Quebecois music on fiddle, accordion, and piano with unbridled energy and soaring beauty. Their depth and versatility is evident not only in their dynamic playing but also in their rich and unique repertoire, ranging from exciting original compositions to rock-solid traditional tunes. Eloise & Co. was born out of Becky and Rachel’s transcendent melodic connection, their shared love for powerful rhythmic momentum, and their joy in making music together. The blissful vibe is contagious, drawing everyone in the room into a sublime and memorable experience.

Tips are appreciated:
http://www.rachelbellmusic.com/store
or Rachel Bell, 144 Beech St, Apt 1, Brattleboro, VT 05301 

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.

Upcoming concerts:
March 14 – Caroline McCaskey
April 11 – Turnip the Beat

January 10th Audrey Knuth & Amy Englesberg in Concert and Waltz Workshop

Please save the date for our next online concert, with Audrey Knuth and Amy Englesberg, at 4 pm Pacific time on Sunday, January 10th. Earlier on the same day, at 1 pm, Star Thistle will offer a waltz workshop for musicians (preregistration required). Details for both events are below.

The Concert

Audrey Knuth and Amy Englesberg, both classically trained musicians, are two-thirds of the Free Raisins. Audrey, who recently moved to the Bay Area from Boston, plays a driving and lyrical fiddle, while Amy plays piano and accordion. The Free Raisins fuse New England roots with a modern groove. This concert promises a versatile mix of danceable tunes.

You can join the concert at https://contradance.link/SCDS, starting at 3:45 pm on January 10th. 

Tips for the band are appreciated: paypal.me/audreyknuth

The Waltz Workshop

On Sunday, January 10th, at 1:00 PM Pacific time, the members of Star Thistle are happy to offer a waltz learning workshop! They will teach two of their original waltzes, one written by Lonna and the other by David. This one-hour online event will lead melody players in learning and playing the waltzes, and offer playing tips and the stories and feelings behind the tunes. There is no fee to attend, but a charitable donation is encouraged. One possibility is the Phoenix fund to help Jeremiah McLane and his family recover from a house fire, in which they lost their instruments and music.

The workshop will be aimed for melody players, notably violin/fiddle, viola, or mandolin but is accessible to other instruments. Lonna, David, and piano wizard Cheryl McKinney will offer accompaniment tips, too.

Star Thistle is a contradance band, which has played often at the Newcastle/Auburn and Sacramento contradances, as well as other venues and special events in California. Fiddler Lonna Whipple grew up playing classical violin. As an adult, she began dancing and playing international folk dance music. Then in the nineties, playing and dancing to music cemented her move into the world of Irish and of course contradance fiddling! Playing with her bandmates in Star Thistle has been a rewarding, growing experience, including the opportunity to try composing her own tunes. David Wright also started with classical training, but experienced teen rebellion and gave up playing entirely, only rediscovering the mandolin and fiddle twenty years later – with traditional and contradance music. He joined Star Thistle in 2001 and is still loving the exploration.

The two tunes are easy waltzes in A-minor and D. Participants should be comfortable with C, G, and D scales (no fancy positions). The band suggests learning to play them by ear, though sheet music will also be provided. 

To participate, respond to daveofdavesue@yahoo.com for the link to the event, which will be sent by email in the second week of January.

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.

Upcoming concerts:
Feb. 7 – Rachel Bell and Becky Tracy
March 14 – Caroline McCaskey
April 11 – Turnip the Beat

December 13th Jeff Spero & Christa Burch online concert

Please save the date for our next online concert, with Jeff Spero and Christa Burch of the Syncopaths, at 4 pm Pacific time on Sunday, December 13th.

Jeff Spero and Christa Burch bring a fresh, contemporary spin to music and songs rooted in the Scottish, Irish, and American folk traditions. Jeff provides inventive piano, anchored by the driving power of Christa’s bodhrán. She also lends her singular voice — warm, supple, expressive, and intimate — to the songs. Together, they create a “chamber folk” sound, characterized by rich vocals and unexpected colors and rhythms from the piano and bodhrán. The exuberant joy they derive from the music and each other is palpable and contagious.

You can join the concert at https://contradance.link/SCDS, starting at 3:45 pm on December 13th. 

Tips for the band and sound technician are appreciated:
PayPal: PayPal.me/JeffreySpero
Venmo: @Jeffrey-Spero-2
Checks to: Jeffrey Spero
4101 Charles Avenue
Culver City, CA 90232

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.

Upcoming events:
January 10th – Audrey Knuth and Amy Englesberg
Feb. 7 – Rachel Bell and Becky Tracy
March 14 – Caroline McCaskey

November 8th Pete’s Posse concert

Mark your calendar for our next online concert, November 8th at 4 pm Pacific with Vermont trad-roots power trio Pete’s Posse. We missed them at Echo Summit Dance Camp in September, but they’ve agreed to join us for 2021 instead!

Composed of acclaimed musician Pete Sutherland, his talented protégé Oliver Scanlon, and the uber-dynamic Tristan Henderson, Pete’s Posse never fails to surprise and excite! Twin fiddles in tight, wild harmony over high-powered guitar and pounding foot percussion with mandolin, clawhammer banjo, jaw harp, rocking keyboards, and soaring vocal harmonies adding color to the Posse’s sonic landscape. 

With a steady flow of powerful uplifting energy that spans their age gap, they tap into many traditions from the north to south, and east to west, to distill a distinct sound that is completely their own. The Boston Irish Reporter recently proclaimed the Posse puts forth “(a) kaleidoscope of sounds and styles with equal parts amiability and energy.”  

The Posse’s signature is variety: all multi-instrumentalists, the band plays a dynamic repertoire of folk-roots genres; songs and tunes, traditional and original. For over four years, they’ve been bringing their brand of ‘neo-traditional folk’ to festival stages, dance halls and concert series across the US, Canada and Europe.

You can join the concert at https://contradance.link/SCDS, starting at 3:45 pm on November 8th. 

Tips are appreciated via https://www.petesposse.com/donate.

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.

Upcoming events:
December 13th – Jeff Spero and Christa Burch

October 11th Star Thistle online concert

Mark your calendar for our next online concert, October 11th at 4 pm Pacific with Star Thistle: Lonna Whipple (fiddle), David Wright (fiddle and mandolin), and Cheryl McKinney (keyboard). This hometown favorite band plays Celtic, old-time, and other music.

You can join the concert at https://contradance.link/SCDS, starting at 3:45 pm on October 11th. 

Tips can be sent to paypal.me/davesuemusic, to be donated to the Country Dance and Song Society.

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.

Upcoming online concerts:
November 8th – Pete’s Posse

September 13th concert with Cloud Ten’s Cedar Stanistreet & Donal Sheets

Don’t miss our online concert on Sunday, September 13th, at 4 pm Pacific time! We’re hosting Cedar Stanistreet and Donal Sheets from Cloud Ten, who were booked to play at Echo Summit in 2020 and instead will be joining us at Camp Sacramento in September 2021. You can join the concert at https://contradance.link/SCDS, starting at 3:45 pm. Tips are appreciated – see details below.

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.

Cedar Stanistreet, fiddle

CedarCedar grew up playing both classical violin and traditional fiddle music, and studied violin performance at the Crane School of Music. For the past ten years he has played for contra dances across North America with bands including Nor’easter, Cardinal Direction, Maivish, and Cloud Ten. His spirited, rhythmic playing and clear tone keep dancers on their feet. In between gigs, Cedar can be found at home in Brattleboro, Vermont, growing vegetables, baking bread, and birdwatching. He also repairs violins, violas, and cellos. (Photo credit: David Frantz)

Donal Sheets, cello and guitar

Donal2Donal grew up surrounded by traditional music and dance and played jazz bass and classical cello from a very young age. He has spent many years playing American and Irish music on cello and a variety of other instruments. The resonant chords and percussive rhythms of his cello create an indescribably vibrant soundscape drawing from many different traditions. He has taught and performed at music and dance festivals throughout the United States and is a member of Gallimaufry.

Tips:
Paypal: paypal.me/cedarfiddle or stanis66@potsdam.edu

USPS:
Cedar Stanistreet
130 Belmont Ave
Brattleboro, VT  05301

Upcoming online concerts:
October 11th – Star Thistle
November 8th – Pete’s Posse

August 9th concert with Topher Gayle & Louisa Knabe

On Sunday, August 9th, at 4 pm Pacific time, Sacramento Country Dance Society will host an online concert with Topher Gayle and Louisa Knabe. Please join us for an afternoon of fun!

IMG-4610_LgBASS_edited-2Topher Gayle (OpporTunists, Rosin Doctors, Swingin’ Chickens, Mercury Rising, Chaos Wranglers, et al.) has been happily busy playing contra dance music for nearly twenty years. But he’s been writing funny songs and pretty tunes since he was a teenager (shortly after the Fillmore administration). If you’ve seen him playing at a dance, you’ve perhaps noticed he’s usually surrounded by a music store’s worth of stringed, percussive, and unusual instruments. Many instruments, many styles, many grooves! Topher has several CDs and instructional books available at his web site, www.tophergayle.com

Louisa Knabe (Santa Rosa groups Home Made Jam, The Charms, New Math Trio) plays bass and sings. She was involved in the Bay Area bluegrass scene and — of course! — in playing Topher’s songs and tunes. After moving to Santa Rosa, she added some swing and Americana with a couple of bands. She’s delighted to be able to join Topher for this pleasant event.

Together, this duo will entertain you with a mix of pretty songs, rollicking mandolin tunes, humorous original songs, and a waltz or two. There will be a break in the middle of the concert for everyone to chat and more time for catching up after the music is done.

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. You can join the concert at https://contradance.link/SCDS. Tips are appreciated by PayPal to music@tophergayle.com.

To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.