2019 Instructors & Performers
Shauncey Ali began playing viola in the 3rd grade strings program. After years immersed in classical training, he went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a full viola scholarship, where he played in the symphony by day and in clubs by night. Branching into the folk scene, Shauncey gained attention with the rock quintet Kadence on Autumn Let Me Know (2002) and with singer-songwriter Blake Thomas on the critically acclaimed albums Real Like Theater (2005) and 40 Minutes (2007). After discovering fiddle music, he co-founded the Old Tin Can String Band (with Graminy guitarist Chris Powers) and toured with SweetGrass, honing his bluegrass and old-time chops. Shauncey is the fearless creator and director of MadFiddle, a hugely popular youth ensemble that explores and performs fiddle music from around the world. Along with their adult backing band Highway 151, they perform at venues ranging from saloons to opera houses. In 2014, he placed 1st at the prestigious RockyGrass fiddle competition in Lyons, Colorado. That fall he joined the Boston-based Katie McNally Trio, whose highly-anticipated sophomore album, The Boston States, was released in 2016. Most recently, Shauncey was named 2016’s Teacher of the Year by the Madison Area Music Association! Shauncey is also the creator and owner of Strapsey, offering a colorful line of case straps for stringed instruments and more.
Flip Breskin is internationally famous as a co-founder of PSGW. A major player in the Northwest folk scene since the 1970s, Flip is an inveterate song catcher. She plays old and new folk songs with great sing-along choruses, songs of compassion, outrageous songs, and sweet solo fingerstyle guitar. Peter Berryman says of Flip, "I'd listen to Flip sing the phone book." And Bob Franke adds, "I never met a songwriter more grounded in musical and moral values than Flip. She cares more about telling the truth than most people you're likely to hear and she does it well: At the same time she's a lot of fun to listen to."
Choroloco has been sharing the joy of choro music with our audience for over seven years now. We make every attempt to keep the music authentic to its roots, while infusing it with our own diverse backgrounds. As well as working to keep this music alive by playing concerts and festivals, giving workshops and facilitating jam sessions, we study and perform with some of Brazil's greatest choro and samba musicians to ensure that we keep growing, and that we are keeping it real.
John has been playing Swing, Western Swing and Gypsy Jazz guitar for many years along with Old Time String Band and Bluegrass music. He’s played in bands around Whatcom and Skagit counties since the early 80's playing guitar, mandolin, dobro and bass
The DiTrani Brothers
The DiTrani Brothers play original and traditional tunes drawing influence from western and eastern-European folk music, Roma swing, and early American jazz and ragtime, delivering raucous performances that allude to past traditions with a contemporary sentiment.
A veteran of the Pacific Northwest bluegrass scene for over 25 years, you can catch Kevin playing locally with Queen’s Bluegrass, Broken Bow Stringband and Katie & Kevin - Fiddle & Banjo.
Colleen grew up in Bellingham playing mostly Irish music with family and friends. Her adventurous spirit has since lead her to discover new places and sounds, broadening her mind and her repertoire. But it wasn’t until 2013 when traveling by bicycle through Europe that she began composing songs for singing. In order to bring those songs to life, she found ways to accompany her voice with her fiddle...and discovered a world of magical possibilities!
Giant's Causeway was formed in Bellingham in 2008, and has been playing and performing ever since. The band, now a five-piece, plays lively Irish, Scottish, and American tunes. Giant's Causeway is comprised of Cayley Schmid, fiddle, Clea Johnson, cello, Sam Vogt, guitar, Zach Bauman, mandolin, and David Pender Lofgren on bodhrán.
John Hatton was born into a family of a Hawaiian Steel player, and exposed to a wide spectrum of music covering various styles of guitar playing. He settled on listening and learning Old Time Hillbilly backup guitar. No codified music was injured in the process as this was primarily an aural tradition.
Tanya Hladik is a local singer, songwriter and guitar player. She was raised in Whatcom County, and grew up playing classical music before she found her way to folk music while at Fairhaven College through the Folk Music Experience class. In addition to playing music she is a massage therapist, birth doula, and works on an organic vegetable farm in the summer. She has training in various movement practices including Iyengar Yoga, Pilates, and tai ji and loves to integrate mindful body awareness into everything she does.
Coty Hogue is a singer and multi-instrumentalist whom Alice Gerrard (of Hazel and Alice) has called "an impressive young talent." She has released three albums and been featured on BBC radio Sirius XM satellite radio. Her rendition of the traditional song 'Going to the West' charted #1 on the FOLK-DJ radio charts and another, "Oh Wind," written by collaborator Tanya Hladik, is featured in the independent film, Neon Sky. She performs throughout the Northwest and teaches banjo, guitar, and songwriting both privately and at music camps. http://www.cotyhogue.com
Spanning the generations, this contra dance trio consists of the sprightly melodies of champion fiddler Brian Lindsay (fiddle, foot percussion), the textured talents of multi-instrumentalist Eileen Sterns (mandolin, banjo, accordion), and the experienced, driving rhythms of Michael Hobart (guitar). Their sets include a unique and eclectic admixture of tunes from northern and southern contra dance traditions, which will leave dancers with happy and tired feet, a satisfying musical experience, and a yearning for more.
Carl Jones is an American songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Born in Macon, Georgia, Carl presently lives in Galax, Virginia. He studied music near Muscle Shoals, Alabama and was influenced by seeing Roy Orbison, Steve Goodman, and Mac Macanally record there. Carl is widely respected for his instrumental talents and original songs about the joys and tribulations of day-to-day life in the South. Carl’s songs have been recorded by The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Kate Campbell, Rickie Simpkins with Tony Rice, and others. His song Last Time On The Road was on the grammy-award-winning album Unleased by the Nashville Bluegrass Band. In the 1980’s he played mandolin with James Bryan, Norman and Nancy Blake as part of the Rising Fawn String Ensemble. Today he tours the world with his wife, fiddler Erynn Marshall. Carl is known for his fine musicianship, charismatic teaching, sense of humor, and powerful songwriting. www.dittyville.com
Kathy & Carol
Kathy & Carol’s unique sense of harmony is remarkable for its use of shifting intervals, haunting dissonances, counterpoint, and unisons. Their a cappella songs send shivers down the spine. Carol’s original songs have timeless appeal. Their renditions of Carter Family songs are unique, yet they have a ring of authenticity because Kathy & Carol have roots in traditional American and British Isles music that run very deep. Roots music is in their bones. Kathy Larisch and Carol McComb began singing together in high school in Southern California. During the 1960’s these two gifted singers worked the folk circuit, sharing the stage with the New Lost City Ramblers, Bill Monroe, Taj Mahal, Phil Ochs, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, Jackson Browne, the Kentucky Colonels, Mason Williams, Linda Ronstadt and many others. They played major folk festivals from Berkeley, CA to Newport, Rhode Island. After decades of pursuing separate careers Kathy and Carol reunited in 2005 to perform again. In the past few years, they have been featured artists at the San Diego Roots Festival, the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, the Ark in Michigan, the California Autoharp Gathering (where they received Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2008), the Mtn Laurel Festival in Pennsylvania, smaller venues, and numerous house concerts.
Josh Larios co-founded Seattle's "Slower Than Dirt" slow/beginner old-time jam in 2012 with his wife Cam to give beginners of all ages a gentle introduction to jamming. He's played for contra and square dances in and around Seattle, and enjoys learning new tunes from YouTube videos, recordings old and new, and local musicians at jams. An enthusiastic amateur who took up old-time fiddle in his thirties, he believes it's important to promote folk music as something that everyone can participate in, not just consume.
Medicine Line is a project that tells the story of the cultural intermixing of Aboriginal and European in connections through the fiddling tradition. Through the fiddling and stories told in the performance will define what it is to be mixed (Metis) heritage and take the audience into an unknown territory of mixed culture throughout North America.
Ted O’Connell is an award-winning fiction writer and member in good standing with The Prozac Mountain Boys and The Scarlet Locomotive. He has performed at the Lincoln Theater, McIntyre Hall, The Subdued Stringband Jamboree, The Hovander Bluegrass Festival, SPACE in Chicago, and ye olde Green Frog. He teaches writing at Skagit Valley College.
Southern Gent and Banjo Slinger. Formerly of Crow and the Canyon and The Sam Chase and the Untraditional, Quattlebaum steps out on his own on the tale of his sophomore release, EP Vol 1. Quattlebaum’s playing style is rooted in traditional southern bluegrass, but his stage presence and improvisational nature have morphed it into something all his own.
Patti Rathbun is a charter member of the Bellingham Ukulele Orchestra and has played the uke for 10 years. She has a Master of Adult Education degree from Western Washington University and has taught uke to adults at the Bellingham Folk Festival, to fourth and fifth graders at private schools, adult and youth beginners at the Bellingham Ukulele Group (BUG) and adults at the library’s SkillShare.
Erynn Marshall is an old-time fiddler who lives in Galax, Virginia and is known internationally for her traditional music. Erynn learned the nuances of Appalachian old-time fiddling from rare recordings and visiting 80-95 year-old southern fiddlers. Still she puts her own spin on the traditional music she plays – sounding authentic, archaic and transportive while playing in a smooth and effortless way. Erynn performs at festivals, teaches at music camps around the globe, and tours with her husband - songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Carl Jones. Her tunes are becoming common repertoire in fiddle circles. Erynn won 1st place fiddle at “Clifftop” (The Appalachian Stringband Festival) and was the first woman to do so. She has recorded six albums and appeared in five films (Voices of Virginia, the Clifftop Experience I’ll Fly Away Home, Conversations with Old-Time Musicians,” plus the upcoming Never Met a Stranger). She is coordinator for Swannanoa Old-Time Week near Asheville, NC. www.dittyville.com
Katie McNally has made waves in both the American folk music scene and abroad since the release of her debut album, Flourish, in 2013. Her latest project synthesizes her elegant and powerful fiddle playing with the talents of genre-crossing pianist Neil Pearlman and bluegrass phenom Shauncey Ali on viola. The trio recently travelled to Cape Breton to record a brand-new album released in Fall 2016. In addition to her busy touring schedule, she is a devoted educator whose teaching style was molded by years of attendance at fiddle camps where learning music is about joy and community and fun! This is her approach whether working with her private students, in workshops, at fiddle camps, in musical outreach programs or at Boston’s Symphony Hall.
Multi-instrumentalist, stepdancer and host of podcast TradCafe, Neil Pearlman is a vital and distinctive voice in contemporary traditional music. Described as “a tremendous pianist” on BBC Radio Scotland and “a force to be reckoned with” by WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan, Neil is recognized in many Celtic music circles for his unique approach to the piano. Rooted in traditional Cape Breton piano styles, he adds jazz harmony and the syncopations of funk, Cuban, and Brazilian dance music to create a unique and infectious sound. Neil’s website is www.neilpearlman.com. TradCafe can be found at www.tradcafe.org.
Paul Russell is an internationally performing musician, independent music teacher, and workshop leader whose mission & passion is Connecting Hearts with the Musical Arts. Paul serves as Creative Catalyst & Musical Mentor for the dedicated and flourishing music students in his lesson studio, The Musical Mandala. In The Mandala, students develop clarity of artistic vision, confidence in innate creativity, a deeply felt understanding of music fundamentals, fluency in creative expression, and delight in creative communion!
Sarah Schermer is a dancer, teacher, and film maker who loves to sing and play bass. She has taught therapeutic movement, and Pilates for the last 10 years and is deeply committed to helping people move comfortably in their bodies while doing what they love. She is interested in exploring Japanese modern dance and is currently working on her next short film based on an original ballad. Sarah is a certified Pilates instructor, holds a BFA in modern dance performance and choreograph, and plans on being a life-long student of the creative process.
Laura has been involved in the music scene in Bellingham since 1979. Primarily a singer and old time banjo player, she’s especially interested in American fiddle tunes, Celtic fiddle tunes, recently composed tunes, old time duet singing, and folk music. She has taught a variety of classes at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop for over 30 years and banjo at the American Banjo Camp for 15 years.
Tracy Spring has won multiple awards for her singing and songwriting. She displays a style all her own while combining blues, swing, old R and B, jazz, and folk on guitar and tenor mandola. Spring is a seasoned performer, known for her compelling vocals and versatile guitar playing in folk venues and festivals throughout North America and Australia. When at home in Bellingham, she teaches guitar technique, vocal arranging and performance art.
Despite growing up in a house full of music, Harper didn't start playing until his 20s, when he was visited in his dreams by long-dead blues musician Son House. Thereafter his appetite for plucking strings became insatiable, and every instrument he found became a new vessel to chase the trance and follow the feeling he got in that dream. A few thousand hours of solitude later and he'd gathered a basketful of tunes on the banjo ranging from klezmer waltzes to 17th century Irish harp pieces to old-time mountain music and new-fangled ragtime jams.
The Tango Cowboys is a Northwest duo formed in 2016 by Rich Hinrichsen (voice) and Tom Bourne (guitar). The group is the latest incarnation of a country band that began in Ellensburg, Washington in the early 80s. The Tango Cowboys specialize in tangos, boleros, cowboy songs, and traditional American Folk Songs and have played at many points between Portland, Oregon, and Blaine, Washington.
Eli West is a Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist. With an interest in angular phrasing and non-traditional improvisation within the historic precedents of bluegrass and old-time music, his guitar playing has been called both unique and strong. He has released a solo record in 2016 including duets with Bill Frisell and John Reischman, and three records as half of the new/old-time duo Cahalen Morrison & Eli West. He also collaborates with Ben Winship, Joe Walsh, Norwegian fiddler Olav Mjelva, and others.
Seven-time all-Ireland champion John Whelan is one of the world’s best living Irish button accordion players. John was raised in the vibrant London Irish music scene of the 1970s, and learned his craft from such legends as Lucy Farr, Roger Sherlock, Paddy Taylor, Mick O Connor and his teacher Brendan Mulkaire. He moved to the USA in 1980 and has been inspiring Celtic musicians and fans ever since. Along with his All-IrelandChampionships, he was twice awarded musician of the year from the Irish Music Association. He has over 15 CDs and has performed on Late Night with Conan Obrien. John Is also a sought-after composer and producer. His music has been featured on such TV shows as Sex in the City and History’s Mysteries and History Detective. Today John performs with the John Whelan Band and has recently teamed up with his old pal Brian Conway forming the group Gailfean, which also features Máirtin De Cógáin and Don Penzien. Gailfean has recently released a new CD.
Past Instructors & Performers
Elias Alexander - Linda Allen - Amy Alvey - Annie Schermer - Marcel Ardans - Danny Barnes - Zach Bauman - Charlie Beck - Laurel Bliss - Nathan Bontrager - Pam Borso - Bryan Bowers - Flip Breskin - Broken Bow Stringband - Kat Bula - Devin Champlin - Choroloco - Casey Connor - Sean Connors - Colin Cotter - Clyde Curley - John Daughtrey - Abigail Dickmann - Ruthie Dornfeld - Jack Dwyer - Marie Eaton - Erin Esses - La Famille Léger - Melanie Flink - Foghorn Stringband - Andy Friedlander - Gallus Brothers - Gallowglass - Giant's Causeway - Geoff Goodhue - Alicia Guinn - Happy Valley Sluggers - John Hatton - Christy Hays - Hen's Teeth - Lucas Hicks - Tanya Hladik - Coty Hogue - Hoot & Holler - Jim Horbett - Ben Hunter - Mark Killanski - Caleb Klauder - Nadine Landry - Josh Larios - Louis Ledford - Jeff Lefferts - The Lil' Smokies - Stephen "Sammy" Lind - Jens Linell - The Lowest Pair - Arielle Luckmann - MAC - Nakos Marker - Forrest Marowitz - Ryan McKasson - Norah McLaughlin - John Miller - Mjelva/West - Olav Luksengård Mjelva - Geof Morgan - Margo Murphy - Jacob Navarro - Rosie Newton - Northern Contraband - Ted O'Connell - Carol Olson - Open Door Jubilee Singers - Jan Peters - Chad Petersen - Janet Peterson - Terry Poth - Queen's Bluegrass - Quickdraw String Band - Rain City Ramblers - Patti Rathbun - The Revelers - George Rezendes - Kim Richey - Rattletrap Ruckus - John Roberts - Leif Ingvar Ranøien - Reverie Machine - Jenny Rose - Janie Rothfield - Paul Russell - Scarlet Locomotive - Anna Schaad - Sarah Schermer - Cayley Schmid - Richard Scholtz - Mike Schway - Joe Seamons - The Shadies - Channing Showalter - Charmaine Slaven - Dorothy Smith - Richie Stearns - Jamie Stillway - Harper Stone - SVER - Clea Taylor - Daniel Ullom - Jenna Bean Veatch - Sam Vogt - Eli West - West of Roan - Reeb Willms - Elaine Woods - Woolly Breeches - Meghan Yates