At Fiddle Tunes, we hope that all participants improve their skills as musicians, but also discover culture through music by learning in a cultural context, and building lifelong relationships in the fiddle music community.
Our tutorial staff is the ‘secret sauce’ that helps make all of this happen. Tutorials, held each afternoon, are designed to address the needs of beginning and beginning/intermediate players who wish more individualized instruction on their instrument. In many cases tutors are selected to support fiddling styles of the faculty. In addition to leading tutorials, they will also give one morning workshop, and host some jam sessions during the week.
These folks are amazing musicians, and we are honored to have them play such an important role in the 2019 Gathering!
Charmaine Slaven is a Seattle-based full-time guitarist, fiddler, singer, flatfoot dancer, and square dance caller who performs regularly with her projects Squirrel Butter and The Lucky Shots.
She’s also an active community organizer & instigator, helping initiate projects ranging from a weekly jam in Seattle, twice-monthly dance at the Tractor Tavern, the Dare to be Square West conference, square dances at the NW Folklife Festival & Seattle Subversive Square Dance Society.
Starting her music pursuits in her late 20’s, she knows what it’s like to be an adult beginner and believes it’s never too late for anyone to start playing music or dancing. She will do her best to help match up students to the right tutor, and will be on hand to help anyone with anything!
old time fiddle – Tricia Spencer
Tricia Spencer is a Kansas fiddler who grew up learning the tradition of old-time music from her grandparents. At an early age, she was perched up on some stage tapping her foot to the beat of fiddles, banjos, mandolins and guitars. While growing up, her free time was spent traveling to festivals and fiddling contests throughout the Midwest where she learned from the likes of Pete McMahan, Cyril Stinnet, Lymon Enloe, Dwight Lamb, Amos Chase, and Lucy Pierce.
Tricia is multi-instrumentalist who has studied with some of the great masters in old-time and is highly sought after as a performer, dance fiddler, and instructor. She performs, records, and plays in the kitchen with her husband and partner, Howard Rains. She also makes really cool art. SpencerAndRains.com
old time fiddle – AJ Srubas
AJ Srubas grew up in a musical Wisconsin household, grandson to a church organist and choir director and son of a classical guitar player. After experimenting with some of the many instruments around his house, he latched on to the fiddle around the age of ten, initially learning Irish music, but soon discovered old-time when his brother took up banjo. It wasn’t long before he met Chirps Smith, also living in Wisconsin, who introduced AJ to the lesser known old-time repertoire of the Midwest. Other influences on his old-time playing include Dwight Lamb and Al Murphy who in turn played with Cyril Stinnett, Lyman Enloe, and Gene Goforth.
A versatile player and teacher, AJ has played concerts/dances and taught fiddle workshops at Augusta Heritage Center, the Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention, and many festivals in between. He currently plays old-time fiddle in the band Steam Machine, and Cajun fiddle with Blake Miller and the Old-Fashioned Aces.
old time fiddle – David Bragger
David is a Los Angeles-based old-time musician, instructor and founder of The Old-Time Tiki Parlour. After years of studying with his mentors Mel Durham and Tom Sauber and visiting old-time musicians including Dan Gellert, Charlie Acuff, Benton Flippen, Clyde Davenport and Joe Thompson, David has become a go-to-guru for learning old-time fiddle. His specialty is teaching the elusive art of rhythmic old-time bowing.
David has students all over the world and is in great demand as a workshop teacher at festivals and camps. David is also the Old-Time String Band Ensemble director at the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology. In addition to teaching, he documents the greatest living old-time musicians for future generations through his critically-acclaimed record label Tiki Parlour Recordings.
old time fiddle – Frank Blade
picture and bio coming
beginning fiddle – Sally Jablonsky
Sally Jablonsky grew up playing music with her family, hiking around in the desert singing cowboy songs, and learning the old tunes from her extended family at festivals and camps.
As well as being firmly rooted in the Appalachian fiddle tradition, she writes new-old-pop-country-time songs that are crooked and lonesome and true.
Sally has been teaching fiddle for the past sixteen years, and has had the pleasure of teaching at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Lady of the Lake Dance Camps, and the Olympia Old Time Gathering, to name a few.
Scandinavian fiddle – Amy Hakanson
Amy Hakanson is a multi-instrumentalist living in Portland, Oregon. Her main instruments are the nyckelharpa, violin, Hardanger fiddle, guitar, and banjo. She studied the nyckelharpa with Olov Johansson (Väsen, riksspelman), Ditte Andersson (riksspelman), and Sonia Sahlsträm (riksspelman) at the Eric Sahlström Institute in 2014-15.
Amy is trained in classical violin, and grew up immersed in American roots music, playing bluegrass fiddle with her family band. She performs both solo and with various groups frequently around the Pacific Northwest, and has recently started a Scandinavian-folk-fusion project called Varelse. Amy will also be available to tutor nyckelharpa as needed.
Irish fiddle – Rebecca Richman
Santa Rosa fiddler Rebecca Richman has been playing since she was old enough to hold the instrument. Rebecca has explored numerous styles of music, including formal training at Mills College in Oakland, but her main emphasis has been on the music of Ireland and Scotland.
Several years ago, she immersed herself into the deep pool of traditional Appalachian fiddling. After several visits to that region, especially the famous fiddle camp in Cliff Top, West Virginia, she now brings a refreshing perspective to the old tunes.
Beginning fiddle – Benny Rangell
Benny was born in Santa Cruz California to a musical family and grew up going to Fiddle Tunes.
As a youngster, he had the opportunity to perform as a member of the New Mexico-based band Bayou Seco, and to study the fiddle repertoire of the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona.
He moved to Massachusetts in 2016 and was happy to participate in the lively scene of old-time fiddling and dancing there.
Cajun fiddle – Kelli Jones
Kelli Jones has been playing fiddle since the age of fifteen and started out playing old time music in North Carolina, where she is from. In 2006 she moved to Lafayette, Louisiana to study dance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and learn Cajun fiddle as well.
She has been living there since, soaking up the culture and playing with bands such as the Magnolia Sisters, Double Date, her father Carl Jones, and many local wonderful Louisiana musicians, including members of the Pine Leaf Boys, the Red Stick Ramblers, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, and her fellow band mates Drew Simon and Megan Brown.
She has also traveled beyond Louisiana to perform and teach at festivals throughout the United States, including Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camp, Augusta Heritage Center Cajun & Creole week and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes.
Quebecois fiddle – Laurie Rivin
As a fiddler I am a child of the Fiddle Tunes Festival and I love to play in many styles and traditions.
But when I first met Andre Alain at the Festival in 1987 I was swept off my feet by the joyous music of Quebec.
Since then I have made many trips to Quebec to learn from the older generation of musicians and to record with Les tetes de violon.
These recordings of the beautiful old crooked repertoire are the brainchild of the great musician, mentor and tune collector, Guy Bouchard.
BANJO – Andy Fitzgibbon
Andy Fitzgibbon started playing the banjo at age 12, when he found a Bakelite Harmony 5 string at a western New York flea market for $50. After moving to West Virginia in his teens, he took up the fiddle, learning to play from Melvin Wine, John Hannah, Lester McCumbers, Murrell Hamrick, John Morris, and other local musicians of the old generation.
He has taught, performed, and judged banjo and fiddle music at festivals and workshops throughout the known universe, is a regular prize winner at regional contests, and is admired for his ability to preserve in his playing the oldest sounds and styles of of West Virginia music.
As the banjo repairman at Smakula Fretted Instruments in Montrose, WV, he has had a banjo in hand at least eight hours every day for the last twenty years.
BANJO – Jason Romero
Jason was a fixture on the Arcata, CA bluegrass and old-time scene before coming to BC, and is deft in banjo styles from early fingerstyle to clawhammer to bluegrass.
When not playing banjo, his resophonic and acoustic guitar playing is a distinct texture, melodic and percussive. His singing and his playing has been called both seductive and badass.
GUITAR – Tony Mates
Playing guitar in jams, and for dances, is simply the best; I’ll strive to teach solid rhythm and clear articulation, with just enough theory to get you by. Fiddlers will be provided.
While old time Southern fiddle has been a musical home for many years, the dance tunes of Quebec, Lousiana and Italy also exert a stong pull on me.
Lately I’ve been playing guitar with “Tres Paisano”; we play music from Italian-Amercan and Puerto Rican sources. I live in Seattle.
GUITAR – Rina Rossi
Rina grew up in Michigan and was introduced to traditional music at a young age by her parents. She later moved to Minnesota where she joined the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers and discovered the thriving Midwest old-time scene. She learned to call square dances and took up fiddle, bass, and guitar.
As a guitar player she tours with the band Steam Machine. As a teacher she has taught old-time dance and instrument workshops at the Augusta Heritage Center, Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention, Folklore Village, Rocky Mountain Old-Time Music Festival, and many Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association festivals.
MANDOLIN – Paul Rangell
picture and bio coming
PIANO – Josie Mendelsohn
Josie Mendelsohn played piano on fiddler Yvon Mimeault’s album “Y’etait temps!” and fiddle as a member of Guy Bouchard’s group “Les tetes de violon”. She’s accompanied many fine fiddlers, including Lisa Ornstein, Kevin Carr, Laurie Lewis (with whom she was a founding member of the bluegrass band “The Good Ol’ Persons”), Laurie Rivin, and Pascal Gemme. On guitar, she accompanied legendary Irish accordionists Kevin Keegan and Joe Burke. She recorded with the Bay Area old time band “The Arkansas Sheiks”, and appeared in John Cohen’s movie “Musical Holdouts” and his CD, “There is No Eye.” She has written for Mel Bay, Oak Publications, and Fiddler Magazine. She’s a member of “The Family Carr” and has also played innumerable contra dances.
CELLO – Natalie Haas
Natalie is one of the most sought after cellists playing traditional music today. She and Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser have toured as a duo for over 18 years, wowing audiences at festivals and concerts worldwide with their unique sound. Their first album together, Fire & Grace, was awarded Best Album of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards 2004. Natalie has also toured with Mark O’Connor as a member of his Appalachia Waltz Trio. She and O’Connor premiered his double concerto for violin and cello, ¨For The Heroes¨, with the Grand Rapids, East Texas, and San Diego Symphonies. As a studio musician, Natalie has been a guest artist on over 50 albums, including those of Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, Irish greats Altan, Solas, and Liz Carroll, and Americana icon Dirk Powell.
A graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with cellist Fred Sherry, Natalie discovered the cello at age nine. In addition to having extensive classical music training, she is accomplished in a broad array of fiddle genres. Her music journey found purpose when she fell in love with Celtic music at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School at age 11. Inspired and encouraged by director Fraser, she began to investigate the cello’s potential for rhythmic accompaniment to fiddle tunes, and to this day, the two continue to resurrect and reinvent the cello’s historic role in Scottish music.
Natalie’s skills as an educator make her one of the most in demand teachers at fiddle camps across the globe. She also teaches privately, in workshops, and at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she is an active member of the traditional music scene.
BASS – RuthMabel Boytz
RuthMabel came to her first Fiddle Tunes with her parents at the age of two.
Raised in Seattle’s old-time music community, she started playing bass in 4th grade. She plays a wide range of musical styles including old-time, Quebecois, swing, bluegrass, jazz, and classical. She can frequently be found playing for square and contra dances.
She’s currently a student at Lewis & Clark college in Portland. RuthMabel is happy to tutor whatever style(s) you’re interested in learning.
COUPLE DANCE, STEP DANCE – Evie Ladin
Banjo player, singer, songwriter, percussive-dancer, choreographer and square-dance caller, Evie grew up steeped in traditional folk music/dance, and brings a contemporary vision to her compositions and choreography. Evie’s performances, recordings and teaching reconnect Appalachian music/dance with other African-Diaspora traditions, and have been heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Lincoln Center, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Celtic Connections. She has taken home ribbons in folk song from Mt Airy, NC Fiddler’s Convention, and Neo-Trad Band from the Appalachian Stringband Festival, Clifftop, WV. Based in Oakland, CA, Evie tours with Keith Terry and the Evie Ladin Band; and has produced 8 CDs and two instructional DVDs. In the percussive dance world, she is Executive Director of the International Body Music Festival, directs the moving choir MoToR/dance and is an ace freestyle flatfooter. In the trad world, Evie teaches banjo and harmony singing at the infamous Freight & Salvage, online at Peghead Nation and numerous camps. In the songwriter world, she just writes great songs. A highly entertaining performer, Evie enjoys facilitating arts learning in diverse communities. www.evieladin.com
HOUSE BAND – FOGHORN STRINGBAND
Individually or together available for dance/music workshops.
Foghorn Stringband exemplifies the best of the roots music traditions from their respective cultures. Caleb Klauder’s wistful, keening vocals and rapid-fire mandolin picking are as influenced by Southern roots music as much as they are by his upbringing in the sea islands of coastal Washington State. Reeb Willms hails from the wind swept Eastern farmlands of Washington. Her musical family and rural upbringing are on display with every note she sings and every heart she breaks. Nadine Landry’s roots lie in the rural backroads of Acadian Québec, and her high lonesome vocals have delighted audiences the world over. Her earth-shaking bass playing is the rumbling backbone of the Foghorn sound. Minnesotan Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind, simply put, is the old-time fiddler of his generation whose tone and voice are as old as the same hills that gave birth to this music. http://foghornstringband.com
BEGINNERS BAND LAB: Beginner’s Band Lab
David Cahn hails from Seattle, Washington and is a versatile instrumentalist, playing in numerous bands over the past thirty years. He’s toured with Rodney Miller, and appears on two of his CDs which include several of David’s original tunes.
He’s also recorded with Clyde Moody, Charlie Moore, Wade Mainer, Helen Carter, and Mark Simos, and is featured on the Rounder recording “Young Fogies II” with his old-time band “The Queen City Bulldogs” (1st place, Clifftop, 1994). He’s taught at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, The Festival of American Fiddle tunes, Pinewoods, Augusta, American Banjo Camp, and many other camps and festivals around the country.
EVENING DANCE COORDINATOR – Amy Hofer
Amy is a caller and fiddler in Portland. She is an organizer of the Every Sunday Square Dance at the Village Ballroom and helped to bring Dare to be Square – West! to Portland.
By day she is a librarian working on lowering the cost of textbooks in Oregon’s community colleges.