NEFFA Live Online

Tune in and enjoy as NEFFA comes to you, with live online events every month! After the concert, all are welcome to stay online to hang out, socialize, and connect with our beloved NFFA community. These monthly concerts will be recorded and will also be made available on the website.

The NEFFA Live Online concert scheduled for Sunday, July 24 has been cancelled due to illness. We look forward to having EmmaLee and Peter back to perform at a later date. Our series will return this fall - stay tuned! Please consider joining the NEFFA Loop mailing list to receive updates on our programming.

This concert series is made possible by YOU! Please help support these fine performers with a recommended $15 donation. Thank you!

Online Monthly Basics

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Past Online Events

Videos:

 


Programs:

Sunday, June 26:

7 PM: Jeremiah McLane

Jeremiah was raised in a family with deep ties to both its Scottish heritage and its New Hampshire roots. Traditional New England music and dance were a part of his parents' and grandparents' generations. After an early formation in classical piano, Jeremiah spent his teenage years playing blues and jazz. Following undergraduate studies with jazz legend Gary Peacock, he studied Indonesian Gamelan, West African drumming, and the music of minimalist composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass. It wasn’t until his mid twenties that Jeremiah began to immerse himself in the world of traditional Celtic and French music, studying accordion with Jimmy Keene and Frederic Paris. He then spent several decades traveling in Europe, doing field research that laid the groundwork for a Master’s degree he received many years later from the New England Conservatory.

In the early 1990s Jeremiah formed two bands: The Clayfoot Strutters and Nightingale. Both bands had strong traditional New England roots and had a deep and lasting impact on the traditional dance scene in New England. In 2003 he formed Le Bon Vent, a sextet specializing in Breton and French music, and as an outgrowth of this ensemble, has formed several duos with individual members including James Falzone, Ruthie Dornfed and Cristi Catt. Since the early 1990s, Jeremiah has recorded over a dozen CDs with Nightingale, the Clayfoot Strutters, Bob & the Trubadors, Le Bon Vent, with Ruthie Dornfeld. His second solo recording, Smile When You’re Ready, was nominated by National Public Radio in their “favorite picks”, and his fifth release, Hummingbird, with Ruthie Dornfeld, received the French music magazine “Trad Mag” Bravo award, as did his CD Goodnight Marc Chagall with Le Bon Vent. He has composed music for theatre and film, including Sam Shepard’s “A Lie Of The Mind”, and been awarded the Ontario Center For The Performing Arts “Meet The Composer” Award, and the Vermont Council On The Arts “Creation Of New Work” grant.

In 2005 Jeremiah started the Floating Bridge Music School, which is devoted to teaching traditional music from the British Isles, Northern Europe, and North America. An adjunct instructor at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, NY, he also teaches at the Summit School of Traditional Music in Montpelier, VT, at the Upper Valley Music Center in Lebanon NH, and at many summer music camps including Ashokan Fiddle & Dance, Augusta Heritage Arts Center, American Festival of Fiddle Tunes, and the Maine Fiddle Camp.

https://www.jeremiahmclane.com/

8 PM: Ana Lisa Portillo & David Martinez

Born and raised on the Texas-Mexico border, Ana Lisa Portillo is an award-winning world music performer with classical violin training via the Columbia-Juilliard exchange program. She has performed with the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, Ciudad Juárez Symphony (Mexico), Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, Ceiba (Latin American folk), Guaraché (salsa), Ben Bogart y Los Gatos Azules (tango), and La Tuza (Mexican roots). She’s been performing mariachi music since 1990.

Her Mexican roots trio was nominated for Boston’s Best World Music in 2010, and another band she co-founded, Mariachi Palenque, was named Boston’s Best Mariachi in 2011. Upon moving back to her hometown, she co-founded Mariachi Estrella, winner of the 2014 El Paso Times Best of the Border award. In 2015, her essay on her experiences as a professional mariachi was published in the program for the Festival of Texas Fiddling. In 2020, Ana Lisa represented West Texas as a performer in the event, and she was also invited to become a member of the festival advisory board.

Besides maintaining an active performance schedule, Ana Lisa has been teaching strings for nineteen years. Her middle school orchestras consistently earned the two highest ratings at Texas UIL Concert and Sight-reading Competition. Additionally, she independently developed and implemented a middle school Music Technology course. She currently teaches 150 elementary orchestra students and co-teaches a middle school mariachi class in El Paso.

Ana Lisa holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University, a Two-Year Certificate from the Berklee College of Music, Texas Music Certification, and Suzuki Violin Teacher Certification.

9 PM: YOU!! Meet and greet, Q&A with performers, social hour!


Sunday, May 22:
Sara Banleigh and Atwater-Donnelly

7 PM - Sara Banleigh

Sara Banleigh is a writer of original folk and country tunes, and her songwriting style is influenced by writers of all kinds, from Hank Williams, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to Chekhov and Zola. Her songs deal with friendships won and lost, the wicked passage of time, and the devastation of true love. Sara Banleigh is also a singer of spooky 500-year-old folk songs from the British Isles. Finding material in old folk books, scratchy records, early broadsides, and even contemporary folk albums, she lets songs creep into her subconscious where they brew and bubble and start to form roots in her soul.

One of the few native Brooklynites on the music scene today, Sara traces her interest in great songwriting to her early exposure to old country music. In a time and place where there was one crackly country station leaking in over the radio from the hinterlands beyond NYC, Sara remembers her Dad driving down Brooklyn’s Shore Parkway, blasting Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, and Johnny Cash from his collection of old country tapes.
Sara’s musical influences are drawn from the pioneers and legends of old country music, the printed pages of forgotten folk books, and the modern albums of influential Irish and Scottish folk artists such as Planxty, the Bothy Band, and Rebecca Pidgeon. Her arrangements of these timeless songs and her original works bring the listener into a world of storytelling that is whole and enveloping.

https://www.sarabanleigh.com/

8 PM - Atwater-Donnelly

Award-winning, internationally acclaimed duo, Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly present delightful programs of traditional American and Celtic folk songs and percussive dance. Elwood and Aubrey blend gorgeous harmonies and play an astonishing array of instruments including guitar, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, mandolin, tin whistle, harmonica, banjo, limberjacks, and other surprises including a thrilling interpretation of freestyle Appalachian clog dancing. Their performance is appealing to all ages, and with humor, audience participation, and a relaxed stage presence, Aubrey and Elwood explain song origins to give more relevance to the material. Married since 1989, Aubrey and Elwood perform widely in the United States and abroad and their fourteen recordings receive international airplay.
No program list? That is because Aubrey and Elwood never quite know what numbers they will do until they appear on stage! Aubrey says, “One of my favorite parts of our creative life is crafting shows right before the watchful eyes and ears of our audiences. As we survey the crowd, talk to people, and get a feel for our surroundings, we make snap decisions, selecting what song, dance, or instrument feels just right at that moment. We hope you enjoy this exciting foray into the oral traditions of American heritage music and dance!”

https://www.atwater-donnelly.com/


Sunday, March 20:
Eric Boodman & Max Newman and Alex Cumming

7 PM - Eric Boodman & Max Newman

Eric Boodman fell in love with Québécois fiddle music while growing up in Montreal. He drove his high school teachers crazy by practicing foot percussion under his desk, and now lives in Somerville, Mass., playing as much music as possible between writing projects, with the Scandinavian-influenced trio Triga, the Canadian-American party-band Calico, and whoever else has a hankering for crooked tunes.

Max Newman has made a career playing dances based out of New England, drawing from a childhood of great music exposure in Fairbanks, AK. He primarily plays guitar with the Stringrays, a cast of luminaries headed by contra dance fiddling legend Rodney Miller. Music has taken him across the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom, where he has played large festivals, tiny New England grange halls, in the dusty Nevada desert, and many a night with friends by a wood stove in the chilly north of Alaska. His playing has been profiled in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine.

https://www.maxnewman.com/

8 PM - Alex Cumming

Alex Cumming is a traditional Singer, Accordionist, Pianist and dance caller hailing from Somerset, England, now living in Greater Boston, MA, USA. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America with a great depth of knowledge of the tradition. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic dance-able accordion style, strong voice and his fun and engaging stage presence.

http://www.alexcummingmusic.com/


NEFFA February

Sunday, February 20:
Brendan Taaffe and Larry Unger

7 PM

Deeply versed in Irish and American traditions, it is on the mbira that Brendan Taaffe has found a truly distinctive voice, blending old-time ballads with traditional Zimbabwean rhythms. The ripple of the mbira, an instrument over a thousand years old, and Taaffe's lush tenor casts old songs in a new light, creating "the kind of hushed, lonely warmth you experience sitting by a fire in a drafty house."

A multi-instrumentalist on guitar, fiddle, banjo, and mbira, Brendan has toured with many different groups, including nationally acclaimed dance band Magic Foot and the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble Northern Harmony. In addition to performing solo, he currently directs The Bright Wings Chorus, a vocal ensemble, and is the frontman of The New Line, a band that blends mbira with banjo, electric guitar, and percussion, creating a bridge between American and African traditions.

Originally from Minnesota, Brendan now lives in Brattleboro, Vermont and tours regularly throughout the U.S. and Europe.

https://www.brendantaaffe.com/

8 PM

A full-time musician since 1984, Larry Unger has traveled the world playing for traditional dances, at festivals and in concert. Larry has a broad understanding of traditional music, and he enjoys telling the stories about the origins of his music and the people he learned from. Larry spent many hours playing blues with Etta Baker, John Jackson, Turner Foddrell, Ted Bogan, and other masters of the style. His trips south also included numerous sessions at old-time fiddle conventions.

Larry has composed more than 5000 tunes! His tunes are widely played at contra dances everywhere. He has published three books of original tunes and has recorded two entire CDs of original waltzes (with Ginny Snowe).

Larry's compositions and recordings have been featured in four different Ken Burns television documentaries. His tune "Door County #2" was played on the Grand Ole Opry by Mike Snider. "That Schoenberg Rag" was performed by the San Luis Obispo Symphony Orchestra.

https://www.larryunger.net/

 


Sunday, January 23:
Liza Constable and Pete Sutherland & Oliver Scanlon

7 PM
Singer and guitarist Liza Constable presents a sweet collection of American jazz - “America’s classical music”- songs from the 20s to the surprisingly recent. A master of understatedly intense vocal styling, Liza's smooth, elegant voice gets beneath the lyric to the deeper meaning in the words.

8 PM
A warm voiced singer-songsmith and accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Pete Sutherland is known equally for his potent originals and his intense recreations of age-old ballads and fiery fiddle tunes. The American Festival of Fiddle Tunes said Pete “covers the map and shines with a …pure spirit which infuses every bit of his music, and cannot fail to move all who hear him.” He has been on staff at dance and music camps coast to coast and is a widely known year-round teacher and performer at home. Sutherland is a veteran of many touring and recording groups including Metamora, Rhythm In Shoes, The Woodshed Allstars, Woods Tea Company, Ira Bernstein’s Ten Toe Percussion and is a founding member of the long running ‘contradance jamband’ The Clayfoot Strutters. He is also a producer with over 80 projects under his belt, and a prolific songwriter covered by the likes of Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Nightingale and Altan.

A soulful multi-instrumentalist and spellbinding composer, Oliver Scanlon began his journey of musical discovery playing the viola with the Vermont Youth Orchestra when he was nine. Shortly after he was introduced to his mentor Pete and the immense parallel universe of fiddle music! His keen interest in fiddling led him to seek out further learning and performing opportunities through Mark Sustic’s “Fiddleheads” program, and soon he began attending music camps where he studied various styles with Alan Jabbour, Kimberley Fraser, Andrea Beaton, Eric Favreau and other master fiddlers. In 2008, Oliver and a few talented middle school friends formed a group, The Irregulars, a six piece outfit that has played scores of local dances and festivals, and took first prize in the 2011 Young Tradition Vermont talent contest! Then in 2013 he both co-founded the Posse and became the youngest member of Pete’s long running dance band The Clayfoot Strutters. He released his solo album “The Pond Jam” in 2014, which was both his senior project before graduating high school and a testament to his passion and artistry. Recognized not only for his mesmerizing playing, but also for being a meticulous sound tech, Oliver stays quite busy when not on the road with the Posse!

https://www.petesposse.com/


2020-2021

Videos:

 


Programs:

 

Jacqueline Schwab and Max Newman & Julie Metcalf

December 19, 2021:
Jacqueline Schwab and Max Newman & Julie Metcalf

7PM

Jacqueline Schwab's piano improvisations have been heard worldwide, most notably on the soundtracks for nine of Ken Burns' documentaries, including the Civil War, Baseball and his most recent series on Mark Twain. She has performed at the White House in 1997 for former President Clinton and also at the Smithsonian (on a former White House piano).

Jacqueline performs solo concerts of vintage American music, tango, and traditional music from England, Scotland, Ireland and parts beyond. For many years she has also performed with the Bare Necessities quartet at English country dances and festivals throughout the United States and in England.

She has performed and recorded with Scottish fiddlers Alasdair Fraser and Laura Risk, Scottish singer Jean Redpath, fiddler Andrea Hoag, glass harmonica player Dean Shostak and others. Jacqueline has three solo recordings (Mad Robin, Down Came an Angel, and Mark Twain's America) and has played on over forty recordings.

http://www.jacquelineschwab.com/

8 PM

Max Newman has made a career playing dances based out of New England, drawing from a childhood of great music exposure in Fairbanks, AK. He primarily plays guitar with the Stringrays, a cast of luminaries headed by contra dance fiddling legend Rodney Miller. Music has taken him across the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom, where he has played large festivals, tiny New England grange halls, in the dusty Nevada desert, and many a night with friends by a wood stove in the chilly north of Alaska. His playing has been profiled in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine.

https://www.maxnewman.com/

Julie Metcalf's fiddling is renowned in New England. Her lyrical and tasteful virtuosity make her a favorite fiddler for any dance. Even when she's not playing, musicians know they may spot her on the dance floor where she is equally appreciated. While seemingly knowing no bounds, her knowledge of old-time music is her not-so-secret weapon. Her secret weapon is jaw harps. Lots of 'em.

Julie and Max join forces to bring you an uplifting, soul-filling dance music experience!

9 PM - YOU!! Meet and greet, Q&A with performers, social hour!

 

Lissa Schneckenburger, Benjamin Foss

Benjamin Foss and Lissa Schneckenburger

Benjamin Foss

Benjamin Foss is a musician and luthier based in Brooks, Maine. Benjamin grew up in southern New England attending and playing for contra dances and building fiddles and banjos out of everything he could find.
Benjamin plays in several contra dance combinations on fiddle, guitar, tenor banjo, and occasionally other stringed instruments and on rare occasions can be found calling dances. When he’s not playing, he’s building and restoring guitars, banjos and mandolins in Brooks. Some of Benjamin’s other pursuits include restoring player pianos and reed organs, stacking firewood, and finding forgotten fiddle tunes and dances to bring back into circulation.
https://benjamin-foss.bandcamp.com/

Bennett Konesni grew up in Appleton, Maine, 10 miles downstream of Maine Fiddle Camp. He was naturally drawn into the strong communities of old-time music, sailing, and farming in the area. At thirteen he shipped as a deckhand aboard local schooners, sailing Penobscot Bay and learning the traditional work songs of the tall ships as he raised sails and hauled anchor. Later, at Middlebury College, Bennett co-founded the student farm and spent six months studying Zulu farming songs in South Africa. He was awarded a Thomas J Watson fellowship to spend a postgraduate year in Tanzania, Ghana, Mongolia, Vietnam, Switzerland, and Holland studying worksongs of sea, field and steppe.

Together Bennett and Benjamin play dances around Maine, teach at Maine Fiddle Camp, and help stack each other’s woodpiles.

Lissa Schneckenburger

When fiddler and folk singer Lissa Schneckenburger joins double bassist and tenor guitar wizard Corey DiMario for a live performance, they deliver a stunning tapestry of delicate ballads, original fiddle tunes, and gorgeous re-imagined pop classics. As a duo the two have performed together for over fifteen years, since meeting in the Klezmer ensemble at The New England Conservatory of Music where they each earned a Bachelors degree in performance. Ms Schneckenburger grew up in Maine as an active member of the folk community, where she learned to play at the feet of some of the most venerable musicians in New England. She has released numerous solo albums as an accomplished fiddler and singer, leading to “Thunder in My Arms" (released May 2019) which includes several memorable moments with Mr. DiMario on double bass as well. A diverse musician, Mr. DiMario adds rock solid, low-end accompaniment and driving rhythm to any musical situation. A founding member of the string band sensation Crooked Still, he brings a diverse musical palette and energetic approach to every performance.

Individually they have performed with an amazing array of folk bands including Crooked Still, Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka, Bill Keith, Pete Wernick, Eric Weissberg, Richie Stearns, Noam Pikelny, and The David Wax Museum (DiMario) and Solas, Cherish the Ladies, Childsplay, Halali, and Long Time Courting, (Schneckenburger). www.lissafiddle.com

 

Sunday, September 19th:
An evening of sea music and more with Chris Koldewey and Nicole Singer & Becky Wright! 

7 PM

Chris Koldewey sings work-songs from the days of sail, songs of love and parting, ballads and story songs of the supernatural, and songs our forebears might have sung “just for the fun of it.” Each song carries with it the stories of its origins, meanings contained therein, or significance as it relates to contemporary issues. These stories connect us to our past, and thereby to who we are today. These are the stories of those who came before, built and nurtured their families and their country, and who left some of those stories in their music.

Chris uses skills learned as a Public School music teacher and interpreter at Mystic Seaport Museum to engage with audiences, and invite them to participate during concerts in the hopes of making the music more their own.

https://chriskoldewey.com/

8 PM

Becky Wright and Nicole Singer started singing together at Swarthmore College over a decade ago and have been dear friends, music partners, and roadtrip buddies ever since. With Becky’s background in shape-note music and Nicole’s in sea music, they wind up singing a variety of old songs with haunting harmonies, beautiful poetry, and fun choruses that get everyone singing along. They have also collaborated on many other projects, including as co-founders and organizers of Youth Traditional Song Weekend. Their first duo record, Two in a Garden, was released this summer and is available at beckyandnicole.bandcamp.com.

www.nicolesinger.com


Sunday, July 18:
Storytelling with Rochel Coleman, and song with Sophie et Adam!

Rochel Garner Coleman is an artist whose main purpose is to create stories that educate, enlighten, empower and entertain, with a specific emphasis on engaging and inspiring young imaginations. Rochel reaches approximately 80,000 children and young adults a year with his broadcasts and performances in schools, hospitals and youth facilities throughout the United States.

Rochel has been a working actor since the age of ten and a veteran of more than two hundred professionally staged productions. Rochel maintains a busy schedule performing, directing and teaching across the United States and in Canada, Europe, Africa, and the West Indies. He presents living experiences that sweep audiences into a world of imagination colored with the stuff of life.

Sophie et Adam is a duo inspired by many singing traditions they have crossed paths with on their musical journey. Pub Songs from England, Cabaret chansons from 1940s Paris, 18th century Sacred Harp singing, Milongas from Argentina, Scottish Ballads, and Sing-Songwriter repertoire from Chile... Regardless of the origin or the time period, they share music that moves them with their audiences. Individually they collaborate musically with some of the most vibrant ensembles in New England: The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Early Music Festival, The Lorelei Ensemble, A Far Cry, Blue Heron, Harvard University, the Trinity Church of Boston, etc. But as a duo, they create a warm and intimate moment in which time stops, and music from around the world speaks.


About our fabulous musicians:

-Amy Larkin learned folk music at her daddy's knee, he being a fifer in the Lincoln Minute Men. Based on Cape Cod, Amy is a contra dance catalyst who runs the gamut from Cajun/Zydeco and Latin to 60s rock and roll and Irish pub music. Dancers love her driving melodies and harmonies, and joyful interactive energy!

-Rose Clancy’s unique fiddle style embraces Northern Irish, Scottish, and some French Canadian influences. She is the proprietor of The Chatham Fiddle Company, where she also builds and repairs instruments.

-Accomplished guitarist Max Cohen balances tremendous sensitivity with driving rhythmic power. Poet Jane Yolen says, "We know we are in the best of hands when Max is in the band."

-John Alden on bass has been a stalwart of the Cape music and dance scene for decades, and was a long time organizer of The Cotuit Dance (formerly Marstons Mills).

-Clayton March, who leads a dual musical life as a clarinetist and Irish fiddler, will be providing technical assistance and joining in to make the evening a triple fiddle feast.


Mar 21, 2021:
Alex Cumming, The King’s Busketeers

7 PM - Alex Cumming

Alex Cumming is a traditional Singer, Accordionist, Pianist and dance caller hailing from Somerset, England, now living in Greater Boston, MA, USA. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America with a great depth of knowledge of the tradition. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic dance-able accordion style, strong voice and his fun and engaging stage presence.

7:45 PM Liza Constable

Singer and guitarist Liza Constable presents a sweet collection of American jazz -“America’s classical music”- songs from the 20s to the surprisingly recent. A master of understatedly intense vocal styling, Liza's smooth, elegant voice gets beneath the lyric to the deeper meaning in the words.

8:30 PM The King’s Busketeers

The King’s Busketeers are a high-octane party folk group from Massachusetts (and a little bit Rhode Island) that makes traditional songs from the British Isles and North America shake the rafters, with some bardic acapella hollering and floor-stomping originals added in for flavor.

9:15 PM - YOU!! Open Mic - bring a song, story, or tune to share!!

 


February 28th, 2021
Peregrine Road (Karen Axelrod & Rachel Bell), Homegrown String Band (Georgianne, Rick & Annabel Jackofsky), Andy Taylor-Blenis

7 PM
Peregrine Road -- Karen Axelrod and Rachel Bell (on piano and accordion) perform energetic Celtic reels, heartbreakingly beautiful waltzes, mesmerizing French village dance tunes, lively originals, elegant English country dance tunes, tasty blues riffs, and more.
Website

8 PM
Homegrown String Band -- This “family that plays together” has been performing around the country, from the National Theater in Washington, DC, to Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, since 1997. Inspired by the rural string bands of the early 20th century, this 21st century incarnation of the traditional family band utilizes unique instrumentation including guitar, banjo, dulcimer, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica, and jaw harp to put their own stamp on a repertoire drawn from the classics of rural American music.
Website

9 PM
YOU!! We will have a few different breakout rooms for social time together!
(To optimize your breakout room experience, please update to the latest version of Zoom: https://zoom.us/ )

-Andy Taylor Blenis, joyful dancer and master teacher will lead a Polynesian & Japanese dance performance and workshop!
Website

-Q&A with Peregrine Road!

-Q&A with Homegrown Stringband!