Known for lyrical playing and fearless improvisation on the fiddle coupled with a driving and dynamic backup guitar style, Kathleen Fownes and Everest Witman of Nova are a force to be reckoned with in the North American dance and music scene. They have created bal folk events with Jeremy Carter-Gordon at Youth Dance Weekend 2018, Dance Flurry 2019, and Swing into Summer at Pinewoods in 2019, using their experiences living and traveling in Europe to create as authentic an experience as possible. In place of Guillaume, joining them will be accordion player extraordinaire Jesse Ball, who brings an unbridled musicianship and creativity to the table that will be a joy to dance and listen to!
Eloise & Co. features the combined creative force of two of the country’s most sought-after dance musicians, Becky Tracy (fiddle) and Rachel Bell (accordion). Becky and Rachel are brimming with excitement about the North American bal folk scene and have been spreading joy across the continent at a dynamic variety of events, from crammed-full house parties to festivals. Before Becky and Rachel even knew each other, they each spent time in France to immerse themselves in French and Breton music. Their love for bal folk has grown exponentially since their first gig together in 2014, and they have quickly developed a reputation for playing bal folk with a balance of authenticity and innovation. Their first recording, “More, Please”—which includes plenty of French tunes!—was released in July 2018.
After literally stumbling by accident upon dance in Paris, Jeremy Carter-Gordon has spent the past decade learning, dancing, studying and teaching bal folk around Europe and the United States. Jeremy holds an MA in Dance Knowledge, Practice, and Heritage, and has completed a year-long training in Swedish folk dance at the Eric Sahlström Institute in Sweden. A natural teacher, Jeremy’s gift for transmitting the essence of a style quickly gets participants dancing rather than just following steps.
– Also Featuring –
Mike MacNintch & Alex Bartholomew
Mike plays a variety of bagpipes including Scottish highland and lowland pipes, Central French cornemuse, the Breton binioù koz and veuze, and the bombard. An interest in all forms of bagpipes led him to discover the music of Brittany and Central France in 1980, and to travel to Brittany several times to play with Bagad Bro Kemperle. Mike is a founding member of Bagad New York. He has played for dances and workshops throughout the northeast US including Pinewoods, NEFFA and the Flurry.
Since first learning bagpipes at the age of 11, Alex has loved Celtic music and dance in all its many forms. His first experience was in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and Alex’s exposure to Breton music began shortly after he learned bagpipes. Alex visited Brittany in 2010, learning bombard with the band Kerlenn Pondi. In August of that year he became the first non-Breton to play bombard in a Grade 1 bagad at the Lorient Interceltic Festival. Alex is a founding member of Bagad New York and has been the Penn Soner (musical director) for ten years.
Lisa has danced and taught bal folk for 14 years. She has also taught traditional dances including lindy hop, balboa, blues, contra, and Appalachian clogging since 1989 both locally and nationally. After attending bal folk events in Europe including Gennetines, CaDansa, Les Nuits Basaltiques, and Ététrad, she wanted to introduce more bal folk back home by teaching bal folk at local Pittsburgh dances and at regional events such as NEFFA, Gonzo Balfolk, and Pittsburgh Balfolk Blast.
Leslie discovered French traditional music in the 1980s and has been traveling to France to learn and play ever since. Her focus has been the fiddle styles of the Massif Central, especially the old bourrées of Auvergne and Limousin. Lately she has been exploring the music of other regions as well, particularly Gascony, Poitou, and the Alps. She has studied with several French master musicians, and has played for bals here and in France. At home in Washington, DC, Leslie is an elementary school music teacher.
Lynn has taught a variety of traditional dances such as bal folk, swing, balboa, waltz, vintage tango, hambo, and Appalachian clogging for the past 30 years, both locally and nationally. Bal folk is a more recent passion that she developed after attending the grand-mère of balfolk events, Gennetines, in France in 2000. Since then she has continued to attend Gennetines whenever she can and shares her love of bal folk with US community by teaching workshops at NEFFA and locally in the DC area. (If you think her experience parallels Lisa Tamres’, you are correct! They co-taught for 12 years while Lynn lived in Pittsburgh.)
Box and String is the duo of Bill Quern and Sarah Gowan, who have been playing and dancing to French dance music since the Sidmouth Folk Festival in 2004. For more than 20 years, they have taught workshops and hosted jams featuring their French, English, contra, Scandinavian and cèilidh music and dance repertoire. They teach yearly at the North-East Squeeze-In and Ashokan Family Camp and have attended Jeremiah McLane’s French weekend. The duo performs with the Philadelphia-based French band Cabriole, as well as Coracree, Live Wire, The Big Phat American K-Lee Band, FiddleKicks Cloggers, and Kingsessing Morris.