Down the years with Laura Cortese at The Rogue. I took this one in 2007
1. Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards, Saturday May 27th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall at St. James (3214 West 10th Avenue)
This concert is strongly recommended for anyone who loves fiddle and cello, lush vocals, contemporary as well as traditional songs, and with an interest in Celtic and / or Scandinavian fiddle tunes, folk song and / or acoustic pop. That's quite a wide swathe of interest, so come on down and see if you have better luck describing this eclectic and unique musical potpourri!
Down the years with Laura Cortese at The Rogue. I took this one in 2010
American fiddle player and singer songwriter Laura Cortese returns to The Rogue for her sixth show at the Mel Lehan Hall with a new trio and a new single and a second release on the prestigious label Compass Records since her most recent show here in 2018. Her first Rogue show (2007) was memorable, and showcased her debut CD, Even The Lost Creek. In 2010 she was joined by trad singer Jefferson Hamer, and in 2011 she brought the Dance Cards for the first time, and they returned two years later with another fabulous album, Into The Dark.
A graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Laura was given her first fiddle at the age of 4 by her grandmother. She gained a passionate love of Celtic music at Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon fiddle camps amongst the Redwoods of Northern California before heading over to Berklee to further her musical education.
Down the years with Laura Cortese at The Rogue. I took this one in 2013
Laura has also demonstrated a love of contemporary song, as evidenced by her excellent debut CD. She enhanced her reputation as a singer of traditional as well as original songs on her next visits to Vancouver, before she headed over to Europe, where she now resides with her Belgian partner and their 3 year old daughter. Her 2013 CD, Into The Dark, contains some of my favourite Laura Cortese compositions, including I Am The House, and Heel To Toe. Spending time in Sweden in 2016 she made the superb CD, All In Always, incorporating trad Swedish tunes into her ever-expanding repertoire - including the deliciously and intriguingly titled original tune "The Dyslexic Undresser"! - and then she signed with Compass Records for whom she has recorded two CDs, 2017's California Calling, and 2020's Bitter Better, which embellishes her enthralling sound with shades of tasteful electronica and scintillating cello and fiddle.
On this tour she is joined by versatile cellist Kaitlyn Reitz, who is equally at home playing a Beethoven string quartet, touring with Fretless fiddler Ben Plotnick in the duo Oliver The Crow, playing South Asian music with tabla player Shawn Matilevsky, or finding herself performing at venues as famed and varied as Carnegie Hall and Nashville's Station Inn! Amongst her academic credits she has earned a Master of Music degree at McGill. On bass is Laura's long-time collaborator, Zoe Guigueno - who was born and raised on the Gulf Islands and who is also a member of the very fine Pacific NW Stringband The Faux Paws.
Down the years with Laura Cortese at The Rogue. I took this one in 2011
In 2009, Laura played Newport Folk Festival with Pete Seeger and sold-out Madison Square Garden shows with Michael Franti and Patterson Hood for Seeger’s 90th birthday. She also played the iconic Carnegie Hall in New York with Band of Horses in 2009 and played with Uncle Earl on their 2007 UK tour.
With a keen interest in community building, Cortese co-founded the Boston Celtic Music Festival in 2003, and in 2011, co-founded Miles of Music Camp with Kristin Andreassen of Uncle Earl, which brings together repertoire-based folk musicians with contemporary songwriters. She is also the co-founder of the monthly Bright Lights Session in Ghent, Belgium: a collaborative show featuring Belgian songwriters. She has toured across the globe acting as an Ambassador of American Music on behalf of the U.S. State Department by performing and teaching in India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Estonia, Greece, Ukraine, and Montenegro.
Tickets for the live show are available here,
or, for the Watch-At-Home alternative series, click here.
2. A special edition of The Saturday Edge On Folk airs Saturday May 27th from 8am to noon on www.citr.ca
On this week's show I will be marking CiTR's 85th Anniversary. 85 years!! Incredible. This radio station has been home to renowned broadcasters like Pierre Berton, Lister Sinclair, Wallie Oppal, and Narduwar the Human Serviette! It's amazing to think that I have been on the air at CiTR for almost half those years (1985 to 2023, that's 38 of the 85!) I will spin some tunes dating back to 1937, as well as interviews and songs and tunes from some of my favourite moments at CiTR, including several from Jericho Beach Park when we aired the show from the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
There will also be a tribute to Tina Turner, and Cream lyricist Pete Brown, as well as new releases from the likes of Eliza Gilkyson, Leftover Salmon, Brighde Chaimbeul, Bela Fleck, Eilen Jewell, and more. Plus a feature on Laura Cortese and a look ahead to this Summer's Edmonton Folk Music Festival, whose lineup was announced this week.
I hope you will tune me in and turn me on again this Saturday from 8am to noon on www.citr.ca for this very special show!