The April Verch Band
Bow. Feet. Vox. A trifecta of talent, keeping tradition feisty.
While Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Verch tours with world class musicians as a trio, featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass and clawhammer banjo in addition to Verch’s vocals, fiddle and foot percussion.
One might suspect a performer with as many talents as Verch would pause to take a breath, or need to somewhat compartmentalize her skills during a live performance. But on stage, Verch is almost superhuman, flawlessly intertwining and overlapping different performative elements. She stepdances while fiddling. She sings while stepdancing. Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once, with apparent ease and precision. Verch is - as they say - a triple threat in performance, her live show a beautiful companion to her music: versatile, robust, and masterfully executed.
Josephine County combines the talents of four powerful traditional musicians into one exceptional musical experience ranging from the United States to Ireland and back. Award-winning fiddler and singer Erica Brown dedicated herself to traditional music at a very young age. Classical, French Canadian, Bluegrass, Country, and much more can be found in her wide-range of musical expertise. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Shipman’s love of traditional music is apparent in his mastery of Bluegrass, Country, and Irish styles of playing. His detailed and thoughtful guitar, mandolin, and banjo playing captivate and delight audiences nationwide. Irish flute player and singer Hanz Araki is known worldwide for his command of traditional music. Those sensibilities, both inspired and disciplined, have made him a household name from the UK to Japan. Among the finest interpreters of traditional songs of her generation, singer Colleen Raney brings warmth and authenticity to music from Ireland, Appalachia, Scotland, and beyond. Colleen’s bodhrán playing is both driving and nuanced as it weaves between melody and rhythm.
After 15 years of performing together and recording on each other’s solo albums, Portland, Maine-based flute player Nicole Rabata and Boston-based fiddler Ellery Klein decided a group together was long overdue. With the addition of Bethany Waickman on guitar, the trio found a sound rooted in the traditional Irish music Ellery and Nicole honed during years abroad in the Irish cities of Cork, Limerick, and Ennis. The trio is also influenced by the depths of Nicole’s virtuosic classical music career, Ellery’s Americana sounds, and Bethany’s soft-spoken, yet driving, guitar playing.
Fódhla have been well received at festivals such as Portland’s Saltwater Festival, the Maine Celtic Celebration, and the Boston Celtic Music Festival. Their debut recording, Notes from Millpond, was released in December 2015 to a sold-out show at Acoustic Artisans in Portland.
Neil Pearlman & Alden Robinson
Well versed in the traditions of Irish, Scottish, and Downeast Maine fiddle music, Neil and Alden treat the audience to a diverse night of traditional tunes, played authentically, with a streak of creative energy.
Called “a tremendous pianist” on BBC Radio Scotland, Neil Pearlman is renowned for his unique approach to Celtic music on the piano. Rooted in traditional Cape Breton piano styles, Neil’s accompaniment explores traditional music using a broad palette of techniques from jazz and other genres. An accomplished Cape Breton step dancer as well, Neil grew up in the family band Highland Soles. He has performed with Natalie MacMaster, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, among many others. He currently tours with several projects including the Gaelic music quartet Fársan and the Afro-Celtic Funk band Soulsha. Neil also hosts the traditional music podcast Trad Cafe.
Alden Robinson has been described as a “powerhouse fiddler” by the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. He gravitated towards Irish traditional music in college, studying fiddle in Cork, Ireland. He performs regularly throughout the U.S. with the Maine-based Irish band The Press Gang. He also plays regularly for dances and teaches at music camps. He recently served as an Arts Envoy with the U.S. State Department in Lithuania.
Neil and Alden first started playing together at Maine Fiddle Camp, where they continue to teach every summer.