Stringrays (USA) is an inimitable band of musicians fuelled by shared a love of the living tradition of New England fiddle music and its cousins. They’re three of the finest contradance musicians playing today, known for their dynamic, lyrical improvisation and fresh, dance-inspired interplay.
We’re delighted to welcome Rodney Miller (fiddle), Max Newman (guitar) and Stuart Kenney (banjo, bass), to lead this packed workshop weekend for musicians wanting to discover and explore New England fiddle music – and playing for dancing!
All instruments and levels welcome. You’ll learn some great repertoire, explore music and musicality as well as dance-focused accompaniment, with time for some instrument specific instrument support too. It will be fun while providing approachable challenges.
With Rachel Shapiro Wallace joining us for the weekend to give us a caller’s perspective, it would be rude not to include some dancing!
Who’s it For?
All instruments and levels welcome; you’ll need sufficient grasp of your instrument to be able to join in and have fun, but not every band member need be a virtuoso! Tunes will be taught by ear and with sheet music available. The weekend is not aimed at dancers, but do bring your dancing shoes as we will be exploring ‘playing for dancing’ from both sides!
Rodney: A long-time, much-awarded NEA Master Fiddler and New Hampshire Artist Laureate, Rodney is well-known as both a traditionalist and innovator, with a playful style and soulful tone. He is widely considered to be one of the foremost exponents of New England style fiddling, and his exploratory style invites quite a few surprises.
Max: With a focus on the nuances and delights of dance music, Max has spent a good portion of his life playing dances great and small across the continent. His varied, joyful presence on stage is refreshing, fun, and creative, and has allowed him to collaborate with a great variety of traditional musicians.
Stuart: From New England grange halls to festival dance tents, Stuart is a go-to player whose presence is immediately recognizable. His career spans several traditional music genres, beginning with cutting his teeth with the legendary Cajun musician Dewey Balfa, followed by a prodigious output, including Airdance with Rodney, Celtic groove band The Sevens, and Quebecois band Tidal Wave.
Rachel Shapiro Wallace is a dance caller who strives to communicate the joy of dancing, whether she is calling at a dance, festival, weekend, wedding, or public event. Having stumbled upon contra dancing in Boston, Rachel eventually realized her passion for calling after moving to Chicago. Since then she has called throughout the Midwest, Southeast, New England, and since moving to her current home in Edinburgh, Scotland, Rachel has called in Paris and the United Kingdom. Rachel’s high-energy approach involves clear, concise walk-throughs, flexibility in teaching and programming, and working with the band to create that groove that dancers love.