CARTHAGE – Fiddler and singer Lissa Schneckenburger will perform traditional New England-style music with guitarist Matt Heaton and double bassist Cory DeMario Wednesday, March 12, at Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center. The concert will begin at 7 p.m., with a preshow jam at 6:30.

Schneckenburger is a winsome, sweet-voiced singer who brings new life to old ballads as wells as a dynamic fiddler who captures the driving rhythm and carefree joy of dance tunes, old and new.

Now living in Vermont, Schneckenburger grew up with music in Lewiston and is well-known in the Lewiston-Auburn area where she played fiddle at a young age. In fact, she began playing fiddle at 6, inspired by her mother’s interest in folk music and a family friend who was a professional violinist. Soon, she began studying with influential Maine fiddler Greg Boardman and sitting in with the Maine Country Dance Orchestra. By the time she was in high school, she was playing concerts on her own, specializing in the sprightly New England dance tunes that combine influences from the British Isles and Quebec with homegrown twists that have been evolving since Colonial days.

Another of her major influences was the diverse musical community she found at fiddle camps, where she had a chance to play with and learn from a wide variety of musicians, including noted Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. In 2001, she graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in contemporary improvisation. Since then, she has been performing around the United States and internationally.

Recently, she has been studying the roots of the Downeast traditional music that she first heard as a young girl. Her latest project is a pair of CDs dedicated to reintroducing some largely forgotten songs and tunes from New England that she uncovered through archival research at the University of Maine and elsewhere. (See accompanying story.)

Skye Theatre is at 2 Highland Drive off Winter Hill Road U.S. Route 2.

Concert tickets are $10 at the door, with reservations suggested. Call New England Celtic Arts at 562-4445. For more information, log on to www.necelticarts.com.

She will release a CD in April

Next month, Lissa Schneckenburger will release a new album, titled “Song,” on her own Footprints Records. It is the first in a planned pair of CDs dedicated to reintroducing some largely forgotten songs and tunes from New England’s rich musical heritage.

Known for her lively and uplifting fiddling and her gentle, evocative singing, Schneckenburger is regularly accompanied in concert and in the studio by guitarists Keith Murphy, Matt Heaton and double bassist Corey DiMario.

“Song” contains 10 timeless ballads that trace as far back as the 18th century that Schneckenburger set to modern arrangements. “There is currently a lot of focus on traditional American music from the South, and many bands are exploring and recording the repertoire,” she said in a prepared release. “But no one is getting to hear the amazing wealth of traditional music from the North. This is my first attempt at getting some of that music out there for people to enjoy.”

The second recording, “Dance,” is scheduled for release in 2009.

While researching music for “Song,” Schneckenburger discovered that one of the most fertile places to find pieces was in the repertoire of old logging camps, or shanty towns, in the Northeast. “I was surprised that these communities were at one time the breeding ground for some of the best folk music I ever heard. … They sang a diverse repertoire of ballads on various topics, including love, work, drinking, food, fun, sorrow to name a few. They’d make up bawdy songs or tributes to the people they knew, as well as sing their own versions of old Irish and Scotch ballads that they learned from their families.

“I was so impressed with the collections I found that a good portion of the music on this CD is taken from the logging camp song tradition.”


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