Ed Howe plays in a number of bands currently. You can find him nourishing his roots in a bluegrass band, pushing the limits as a solo electronic artist, rocking it with a big band rock sound and of course driving that dance line. Although you may know him most predominantly by the infamous contra dance band of Perpetual e-Motion who gained an enormous popularity for their tight connection to eachother and the dancers. With the infection of a wild epidemic, Perpetual e-Motion caught the soul and the country.
“I exceedingly enjoy weaving in and out of tunes building energy and resolving tension. Drawing from New England, Acadien, bluegrass, contemporary folk, house or electronica my pallette is wide. My love for the art is deep. Music is a feeling not a sound, it should be felt in the soul, from me to you. A gift of which I am honored, humbled and very pleased to offer to you. I hope you enjoy a concert or dance set soon.”
Also raised in Maine, Bennett Konesni runs the family farm, Duckback Farm, where they grow gourmet garlic, teas, and culinary herbs. He runs worksongs.org, where he shares his 20 years of worksong research and development.
Bennett is also the co-founder of Sylvester Manor, a 243-acre educational farm on Shelter Island, NY on a piece of land that has been in his family since 1652. His roles there include teaching worksongs to the farm crew and directing the annual fall festival “Plant & Sing”, which brings the community to the farm to complete two week’s worth of garlic shucking and planting in a single morning, all while singing worksongs.
As a student at Middlebury College, Bennett co-founded the student farm, and upon graduation was awarded a Thomas J Watson fellowship to spend a year studying worksongs on three continents. Though he received his MBA from Antioch University New England in 2009, his passion is still worksongs, music that transforms labor into something between work and play. He envisions a world in which farmers, cooks, and eaters once again sing in fields, kitchens, and at the table.
From dance floors to concert halls, the Syncopaths bring a fresh, contemporary spin to music and songs rooted in the Scottish, Irish, and American folk traditions. Evolving beyond their contra dance origins, they are creating a "chamber folk" sound characterized by the compelling, rhythmic interplay of fiddle and mandolin, rich vocals, and unexpected colors and rhythms from the piano and bodhrán. The exuberant joy they derive from the music and each other is palpable and contagious.
At the heart of the band's sound are the twin engines of Ryan McKasson's dynamic, Scottish-based fiddling and the understated-but-monster picking of mandolinist Ashley Broder. Jeff Spero provides wonderfully inventive and surprising piano accompaniment, anchored by the driving power of Christa Burch's non-traditional bodhrán. Christa also lends her singular voice — warm, supple, expressive, and intimate — to the band's songs. All in all, the Syncopaths are equally at home with pulsing, high-energy dance tunes and beautiful, contemplative songs. They ably stretch melodic boundaries while keeping a steady, compelling, danceable beat.
The Syncopaths tour nationally, and have released two CDs, Five Gears (2010) and Rough Around the Edges (2005).
FRANNIE MARR Frannie Marr is a popular caller, organizer, and dancer residing in Southern California. Frannie draws on her experience as a traveling dancer and elementary school teacher to efficiently teach and call dances that people love. Her hallmark is quick walkthroughs, clear calling, and letting the dance and music flow.
While Frannie’s first exposure to contra dancing was being reluctantly dragged to an event by her sister, Frannie quickly fell in love with contra dancing. In 1998, she began teaching contra dances to her elementary school students as a vehicle to expose them to new and fun dances. After calling exclusively to children for 10 years, Frannie debuted to rave reviews at a regularly scheduled Los Angeles contra dance and was strongly encouraged to keep on calling. Since 2008, Frannie has been calling regularly, traveling from coast to coast, and has appeared in over a dozen states at some of the biggest name venues with some of the hottest and most popular contra dance musicians.
CAROL ORMAND Madison, Wisconsin caller Carol Ormand is beloved throughout the contra community for her smooth and unflappable style, wickedly fun dances, and penchant for keeping all the dancers on the floor smiling. Her delightful dance selections and concise, relaxed teaching style will keep you coming back for more.
Carol has been calling since the spring of 1990, and calls at dances, weekends and festivals across the US and abroad. She also plays fiddle at a weekly dance in Madison. In addition to contras and squares, Carol enjoys dancing Morris, rapper sword, long sword, English Country, and Scandinavian dances.
Carol’s website: http://www.carolormand.com/.