Rodney Miller was designated a "Master Fiddler" in 1983 by the National Endowment for the Arts. He is widely considered to be the foremost exponent of New England style fiddling, a uniquely American blend of French Canadian and Celtic influences. Over the past 35 years, he has toured the U.S., British Isles, Australia and Denmark, performed and taught at hundreds of music and dance festivals, and recorded ten or more fiddle albums. He currently tours as the fiddle pillar of several bands, including the Stringrays, the Rodney Miller Band, and Airdance.
Elvie Miller grew up going to contra dances in New England and, with a strong background in classical piano, she now she performs at contra, Irish set and English country dances in the U.S., Ireland and the U.K. She contributes driving and spunky rhythm for both musicians and dancers on piano and piano accordion. She recently travelled through Ireland, England, Scotland, Finland, Sweden, France and Cape Breton as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, tracing the origins of contra dance music. She has recorded albums with Rodney Miller, Irish fiddler Denis Liddy and contra dance band Night Watch. Elvie lives in Ireland and is the current All-Ireland champion in traditional accompaniment. She is also a professional weaver and music therapist.
Clyde Curley's solid, inventive work on the guitar and mandolin were forged playing for dances in Oregon's rural granges in the '70s, tempered at Portland's renowned contra venue Fulton Park in the '80s and '90s, and continues to be tested in dance halls throughout the Puget Sound region. Also an accomplished fiddler, Clyde has shared the stage with just about every Northwest contra dance musician out there--and quite a few beyond. Having retired from high school teaching to Bellingham, Washington, Clyde has just finished his first novel, Raggedy Man, and is hard at work with Sue Songer on Volume 3 of The Portland Collection, a collection that has evolved into the contra world's tune bible.
Anita Anderson started her improvisation career as a high-school church organist, determined never to play the same prelude twice in a year. After some intense years spent with Balkan dance/music, she settled on contra, English, Scandinavian, and swing, and found that a pianist with steady rhythm was useful to dance bands. She also realized that a musician who danced had a leg up (so to speak) on making music that dancers could parse and enjoy. Her principles still require her never to play a tune the same way twice, whether she's with Bag o' Tricks (or its ECD equivalent, the Tricky Brits), Zollo, or Roguery.
Dave Bartley plays guitar, mandolin, cittern, and several other stringed instruments. He has played many styles of music over the years and continues to range over several genres. He has performed throughout the US and Canada, and in England, Australia, France and Greece. Dave composes dance tunes, many of which may be found in the KGB Tune Dossier and KGB Tune Dossier, Volume 2. A waltz he wrote and KGB recorded, The Clock Stopped, is used to teach cross-step waltz in much of the US and other parts of the world. He also teaches guitar, mandolin, and cittern/bouzouki, and performs as a classical guitar soloist.
Claude Ginsburg's violin melts, swings, growls, soars. He infuses the music with passion, rhythm, hitting notes high on the fingerboard with power and sweetness. Claude deftly inserts elements of Klezmer, Latin American, jazz fusion and French Romantic music into New England fiddle tunes, while years of contradance playing keeps his music connected to the dancers.
The Avant Gardeners are the creative collaboration of Virginia fiddler, singer, and composer Laura Light and Alaskan wild man George Paul. Laura brings traditional American fiddle styles and swing influenced improvisation to the eclectic compositions of both Laura and George, all driven by George’s electric and groove oriented keyboard wizardry. A nationally touring band with the full complement of Gardeners, as a duo George and Laura are always in demand for dances and workshops, coast to coast. George has been dubbed the king of contra funk as well as the energizer bunny of dance camps. Both love performing but are equally excited about including and encouraging musicians in their growth and explorations.
George and Laura are the composers of the waltz tunes featured on our new CD Waltzes Before Breakfast. Check it out! Proceeds benefit the AmWeek Camper Scholarship Fund which allows us to have the sliding scale fees for youth and underemployed campers.