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 bodhran. 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 (2006).
Eric Anderson and Alan Roberts with Sande Gillette
Alan and Eric met at a workshop in 1999 and soon started playing dances Alan's strongest fiddling influence is southeastern United States. Eric's influences on piano are New England and Cape Breton. Their diverse backgrounds blend to form a unique sound. As one dancer noted, "Do you believe only two people are making all that music?" At FolkMADness they will be joined by Alan's wife Sande Gillette. Sande is a symphony musician who also plays contra and English country dance.
Dr. Kathy Bullock is chair of the Department of Music at Berea Col- lege, in Berea, Kentucky. There she directs the Black Music Ensem- ble, a 70-voice choir that specializes in performance of African- American sacred music. Dr. Bullock shares a deep appreciation of music’s beauty, power and spiritual possibilities and an infectious excitement in the performing and sharing of it with others.
Second Nature specializes in English Country Dance music but can rock the house with contra as well! Karina Wilson began playing violin at 5 years old. Her life has since been ruled by music and dance, from symphonies to African dance. Della O’Keefe began playing piano at 8 years old. She was classically trained but after moving to Santa Fe, she discovered traditional English and Celtic music and be- came an instant devotee.
Madison, Wisconsin caller Carol Ormand is beloved throughout the dance community for her smooth and unflappable style, wickedly fun dances, and penchant for keeping all the dancers on the floor smiling. Carol’s enthusiasm, paired with her clear and efficient teaching, creates a delightful dancing experience for beginners and veteran dancers alike.
Noted for her spot-on selection of dances and sense of humor, Florida native Dana Parkinson has hit the national contra dance scene with a bang! For beginner to seasoned dancers of all ages, Dana brings that Florida heat to the dance floor with her infectious energy and youthful enthusiasm. With her calm teaching and short walkthroughs, she always brings the party with her wherever she calls!