Since its inception in 1977, Centrum’s Fiddle Tunes has been one of the most diverse celebrations of fiddle music anywhere. More than 35 artists from multiple countries share their rich history and music with hundreds of participants in a week-long, multi-generational workshop. Classes, band labs, dances, concerts, open jams, and informal and spontaneous gatherings culminate in mainstage performances that welcome thousands of audience members to experience the tapestry of fiddling from around the world.
Note: online purchases for July 4 concerts can be made until 11:59pm on July 3. On July 4, tickets can be purchased at the McCurdy Pavilion Box office.
Fiddles on the Fourth
Thursday, July 4, 2019, 1:30pm
McCurdy Pavilion, Reserved seating $32, $26, $16
Washington: Vivian Williams and Barbara Lamb
New Mexico: Lone Piñon
North Carolina and West Virginia: David Bass and Ben Townsend
Ireland: Frankie Gavin with Theo Paige
Fireworks and Fiddles
Thursday, July 4, 2019, 7:30pm
McCurdy Pavilion, Reserved seating $32, $26, $16
Iowa and Georgia: Alan Murphy, Art Rosenbaum, and Marc Janssen
Western Canada: Daniel Lapp and friends
New England: Donna Hebert and Max Cohen
Louisiana Cajuns: Mitch Reed, Jimmy Breaux, and Randy Vidrine
Washington – Vivian Williams, Fiddle
Vivian is well known in the U.S. and Canada for her fiddling style. She performs regularly for old time dancing and is one of the leading old time and bluegrass fiddlers on the West Coast. She has won many fiddle contests in the U.S. and Canada, including the 1999 National Senior Champion (Weiser), seven times Washington State Senior Champion, three times Washington State fiddle champion, Western Open Senior Champion, three times National Ladies Champion, four times winner of the West Coast International in Canada, and she won the Smithsonian Fiddle Contest in Washington, D.C., among others. She has judged many contests, including the National Old-time Fiddle Contest, Weiser, ID. Vivian has won these championships playing old time and pioneer dance tunes in old time dance style, rather than the “contest” style that prevails in more U.S. fiddle contests today. Vivian plays primarily in the old-time fiddle styles found among fiddlers in the Pacific Northwest, with an influence of older era bluegrass. She is known as one of the major historians of the pioneer dance music of the Far West, and, particularly, the Pacific Northwest. Vivian is a noted composer of fiddle tunes, and her tunes have been recorded by many prominent folk and bluegrass musicians. They have been published in folk, fiddle, and bluegrass periodicals, posted on the Internet, and have been used in documentary movies on Northwest history. Vivian has a B.A. degree from Reed College, Portland, Oregon, in Northwest History, and an M.A. degree in Anthropology (specializing in Ethnomusicology) from the University of Washington, Seattle.
Washington via Tennessee – Barbara Lamb, Fiddle
Barbara Lamb, one of America’s most renowned fiddlers, has had an illustrious career as a performer, composer, teacher, producer and recently as a musical diplomat for the U.S. State Department playing and teaching American music in Russia, China, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. While a teenager, she won state and regional fiddling contests and placed in the top ten at the National Old-time Fiddle Contest. She was famed fiddler Mark O’Connor’s first fiddle teacher when she was fourteen. She has recorded eleven solo and band albums (CDs) for Sugar Hill Records and her own label, Lots of Coffee Records. Barbara co-founded a legendary western yodeling band Ranch Romance in the 1980s. In the 1990s, she accompanied bestselling author Robert Fulghum (All I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten) on his Literacy Tour which included Carnegie Hall in NYC, followed by her move to Nashville, TN. She moved to Nashville in the mid-1990s only to join Austin, Texas-based western swing band Asleep At The Wheel six months later. After recording a Grammy-winning album with that band, Barbara left the tour bus life in Texas, returned to Nashville and co-founded a bluegrass music camp called NashCamp still going strong 20 years later.
New Mexico – Lone Piñon
Lone Pinon is an acoustic conjunto from Northern New Mexico whose music celebrates the diversity and integrity of their region’s cultural roots. Using multiple instruments and singing in Spanish, English, Nahuatl, and P’urépecha, the group has revived and updated the Chicano stringband style that once flourished in New Mexico, bringing a devoted musicianship to Northern New Mexican polkas and chotes, virtuosic Mexican huapango and son calentano, and classic borderlands conjunto.
Noah Martinez (bajo sexto, quinta huapanguera, vihuela, tololoche, guitarrón) grew up in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque immersed in the music of his community: Onda Chicana, New Mexican rancheras, punk rock, norteño, honky-tonk, Western swing, and the jaranero movement.
Jordan Wax (violin, accordions, vocals) grew up in Missouri and was traditionally trained by master Ozark fiddler Fred Stoneking and Central Missouri dance fiddler John White. His work with Missouri and New Mexican fiddle styles inspired him to travel to Mexico for a 6-month immersion in Mexican huapango fiddling, where he learned from Rolando “El Quecho” Hernandez and Casimiro Granillo. His studies of traditional New Mexico dance music have been guided and inspired in the past years by Tomas Maes and Antonia Apodaca. This winter he traveled to Morelia, Michoacán for a few weeks of intensive study with Serafin Ibarra Cortez and P’urépecha elder and composer Tata Pedro Dimas.
Leticia Gonzales (violin, mandolin, percussion, dance instruction) of Santa Fe, NM, learned to play music from older family members when she was still in elementary school, and performed with them regularly for religious and cultural celebrations around Santa Fe before continuing on to formal study of classical violin, Balkan music, and African drumming. Her approach to the music of her home draws heavily on her experience as a drummer and dancer; she finds as much joy in dancing to the music as she does in playing it.
North Carolina – David Bass
David Bass is a powerhouse fiddler and flat foot dancer originally from Cleveland, Ohio. He began playing classical violin at the age of 8 but discovered his true calling for old time music in his teens. David has a passion for showing audiences a rocking good time in a wide range of venues– from New York subway platforms to the main stage at festivals including Merlefest and Telluride.
He took first place in old time fiddle at the Mt. Airy Fiddlers’ Convention in 1997, 2006, and again this year.
David was a founding member of The Freight Hoppers. He toured extensively with them in the United States, Canada, and England. He also toured with the Forge Mountain Diggers in Sweden. Now living with his family in Durham, NC, he plays Rowdy Square Dances with the Five Points Rounders.
West Virginia – Ben Townsend
Born and raised in Romney, West Virginia, multi-instrumentalist, Ben Townsend has studied Appalachian traditional music extensively. With banjo mentors such as Riley Baugus and Ron Mullennex, and Fiddle mentors the likes of Dave Bing, Joe Herrmann and Earl White, Townsend has studied a variety of old-time traditions ranging from the archaic, haunting fiddle of his home to the Round Peak music of North Carolina and Virginia to the Bluegrass of East Kentucky and Ohio.
As a member of The Fox Hunt, Old Sledge, The Iron Leg Boys, The Hackensaw Boys, and now as a member of the Hillbilly Gypsies, Ben has traveled across the country and around the world spreading his unique take on West Virginia regional old-time music. Ben is also a devoted teacher of the music of his region and works both privately and as a featured teacher at music festivals and camps.
Irish – Frankie Gavin, Fiddle
Frankie Gavin was born in 1956 in Corrandulla, County Galway, from a musical family; his parents and siblings being players of the fiddle and accordion. As a child he played the tin whistle from the age of four and, later, the flute. He received some formal training in music, but his musical ability on the fiddle is mainly self-taught. When 17 years old, he gained first place in both the All Ireland Under-18 Fiddle and Flute competitions. His contemporary borrowings of art-deco and music-hall Irishness are re-jigged in original avenues of exploration. His dexterous treatment of troublesome tunes might get even the Pope out on the floor, his orchestration could break hearts.
A superbly uncompromising player, Frankie makes refreshment of the old by picking out and polishing every detail and setting it off in a steady, listenable pace. Gavin edgy and brilliant on both fiddle and flute, with always the most meticulous attention given to tone and variation. Live, his tune sets are perfectionism that drive and are driven by an audience spontaneity that spurs Gavin to push fiddle from shriek to rasping bass.
Midwest – Alan Murphy, Fiddle
Al is a renowned Midwestern fiddle player and American acoustic music historian who has been performing for almost 60 years. He has recorded widely and has fiddled with old-time, bluegrass, country, country-rock, and swing bands.
A fine singer and versatile instrumentalist, Al has been named a Master Musician by the Iowa Folk Arts Council multiple times, and in 2001 he received the first annual Harry Oster Award from the Iowa Friends of Old Time Music for his work in preserving acoustic music.
Among his recordings are the 1972 album with Art Rosenbaum, an old-time music classic, and his most recent recording, “Hogs in the Cornfield”, a collection of unknown tunes learned directly from old-time fiddlers.
Accompanying Mr. Murphy will be Marc Janssen, a fiddler, mandolin and guitar player based in Iowa City. He is an active performer in the Iowa City traditional music scene, playing old-time music with his wife Brandi Janssen and with the quartets New Broom and Goosetown Stringband, as well as with Al Murphy. He also operates a busy teaching studio, instructing students of all ages on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo. Marc not only performs with Al Murphy, but has been eagerly absorbing his unique repertoire.
An old friend of Al Murphy, Art Rosenbaum has been collecting, studying, and performing traditional American music for nearly 50 years. He sings, plays 5-string banjo, fiddle, guitar, harmonica and mouth bow. His repertoire, much of it learned first-hand in the course of his field work, ranges from Appalachian banjo tunes and songs, Southern and Mid-Western ballads and blues, fiddle tunes, sea chanteys, and spirituals. He began seeking out traditional performers while in his teens, recording migrant farm workers in the blueberry fields of Michigan, rediscovering and recording the great blues guitarist Scrapper Blackwell and recording fiddler John W. Summers, both in his home state of Indiana. He produced six LPs of Indiana blues and folk music for Prestige Bluesville and Folkways the first of over 15 documentary LPs and CDs he has recorded, annotated, and produced over the years.
An authority on traditional banjo styles and tunings, Rosenbaum learned from and documented many old-time banjo players. His Old-Time Mountain Banjo (Oak Publications, 1968) was the first comprehensive instruction book on traditional styles and tunings and was a followed by The Art of the Mountain Banjo (Kicking Mule, 1975, revised and published by Mel Bay). Through the years he has performed in the U.S., Canada and Europe and appeared at the Newport, Winnipeg, Mariposa, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn folk festivals, and the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention. He has worked solo, and as a duo with Iowa fiddler Al Murphy, and for several years he played banjo with Phil Tanner’s Skillet Lickers of Dacula, Georgia, the present day continuation of Phil’s grandfather’s famed Gid Tanner’s Skillet Lickers. He produced “The Art of Field Recording: Fifty Years of American Traditional Music Recorded by Art Rosenbaum,” a two-volume box set of compilations were issued by Dust-to-Digital in 2007 and 2008, which garnered a Grammy for Best Historical Album.
British Columbia – Daniel Lapp
Daniel Lapp is a world-renowned singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, teacher, archivist, band leader, sideman, producer, promoter and – no kidding – the list goes on. And like the true-blue Canadian he is, Daniel does it all with trademark energy and warmth.
As a fiddler, jazz trumpeter and singer/songwriter, Daniel Lapp has played on over 100 albums and performed across Canada, United States, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Finland and Germany with some of the world’s most renowned Folk and Jazz musicians. Daniel is the winner of the B.C. Fiddle Championship and has appeared as a soloist with the CBC Chamber Orchestra as well as the Prince George, Victoria, and Vancouver Symphonies.
New England – Donna Hebert, Fiddle
Cited for “outstanding artistic achievement” by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Franco-American fiddler Donna Hébert has deep roots in music. Her mother and aunt formed a cowgirl band in their late teens in Haverhill MA and their cousin, Clem Myers, was a passionate fiddler who founded the Northeast Fiddlers’ Association. In the 1970s, she apprenticed as a fiddler with the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra. For ten years, Donna and caller Tony Parkes produced the Concord Scout House contradance series with Yankee Ingenuity. Coached in authentic fiddle styles by mentors Louis Beaudoin, Gerry Robichaud, Clem Myers, Joe Cormier, Graham Townsend, Allan Block and Séamus Connolly, Donna began to tell her own story. In the 80s, Donna founded the edgy Rude Girls with singer Lyn Hardy, winning a 1988 Indie Award for their debut Flying Fish recording, “Rude Awakening.” In 2005, to honor her mentors, Donna joined with fiddler George Wilson to help document the music of Vermont fiddler Louis Beaudoin and his brother, guitarist Wilfred Beaudoin. The Vermont Folklife Center was able to digitally archive the family’s home recordings, creating the Beaudoin Family Collection.
In 2009, with the help of fiddler and producer Pascal Gemme, Donna released “In Full Bloom,” with a companion tunebook. Donna is joined by Pascal, fiddler André Brunet, pianist Rachel Aucoin, accordionist Sabin Jacques, dancer Marie-Soleil Pilette, guitarist Max Cohen and the late Québecois pianist, Dénis Frechette. “In Full Bloom is Donna’s best – un vrai délice!” says Québecois singer and accordionist Benoit Bourque.
New England – Max Cohen, Guitar
An accomplished guitarist, Max Cohen balances tremendous sensitivity with driving rhythmic power. As an accompanist, “He’s as trustworthy as they come,” says fiddler and music partner Donna Hébert. Their co-written air, Raven’s Wing, is in the Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music at the Boston College Libraries. His new partnership with Lui Collins, poet Jane Yolen, and Donna Hebert particularly showcases Max’s guitar as he weaves poems and tunes together seamlessly. Max has coached youth performances with the Great Groove Band at Old Songs and Philly Folk Festivals since 2008. He’s also played guitar on numerous recordings, as well as producing eight of his band and solo recordings.
Louisiana – Mitch Reed
2009 Grammy Award-winning artist, Mitch Reed was born in Bayou Vista, Louisiana and raised in Lafayette by musicians and storytellers from Mamou. Mitch built his repertoire and learned an old style of playing which is evident in his sound today. By the age of 17, he was touring and performing with Dewey Balfa, Marc Savoy and D.L. Menard. At 18 and 19, he performed on two tours of Masters of the Folk Violin featuring Natalie McMaster and Kenny Baker. Mitch has performed with Richard Thompson, Natalie Merchant, and Mary Chapin-Carpenter to name a few. In addition, he’s played alongside Louisiana greats such as George Porter, Charles Neville, Canray Fontenot, Wade Frugé, Michael Doucet, Steve Riley, and Zachary Richard. He recently retired from 11 years on the road with BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet and moved from Louisiana to Maine with his wife and family. He now travels between his two Music Academies, proudly passing on the unwritten tradition of Cajun fiddling and storytelling while drawing connections between the cultures of Acadia and Acadiana.
Louisiana – Jimmy Breaux, Accordion
Jimmy Breaux is acknowledged to be one of the finest Cajun accordionists of the modern era. The accordion player for the Grammy Award-winning group Beausoleil, Breaux is another Louisiana performer who comes from a musical dynasty. The fourth generation of his family to play Cajun music, among Jimmy’s musical relatives are his father Preston Breaux, grandfather Amédé Breaux, his brother Pat Breaux, his great grandfather Auguste Breaux, and his great-aunt Cleoma Breaux. The latter was married to Joe Falcon, one of the great Cajun musicians of the 1930s. Together, they made the very first Cajun recording, Allons a Lafayette, in 1928.
Louisiana – Randy Vidrine, Guitar
Randy Vidrine was born and raised in Ville Platte, Louisiana, in a family that spoke predominantly French. In high school he began playing guitar in a “French” band, as it was known in those days. They did not call the music they were playing “Cajun” until a few years later when it became known as Cajun music. After going off to college and starting a family, he started playing with Cory McCauley and Mitch Reed, making one vinyl album of traditional Cajun music. Since then he’s played in a duo with Mitch Reed, Tasso, Mamou Prairie Band, Charivari, and The Lafayette Rhythm Devils. Charivari recorded multiple CDs for Rounder Records, and toured across the entire United States and countries such as England, Portugal, and others. In 2012 Randy was inducted into the Wall of Fame at the world famous Fred’s Lounge in Mamou, LA, where he still plays monthly with The Lafayette Rhythm Devils and as a fulltime member of another band, Jamie Berzas and Cajun Tradition. Randy will teach the high pitched emotionally intense Cajun vocal style at Fiddle Tunes.