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Corvallis Contra Weekend Talent for 2005

Bands

Abracadabra (Seattle WA)
Dave Bartley: mandolin, guitar, other strings Anita Anderson: Piano Deb Kirkland: Fiddle
The Nettles (Corvallis OR)

The Nettles Publicity Photo

The Nettles are the West Coast's Folkadelic contra dance band. They take traditional music and create a strong rhythm groove under soaring improvisations. Rhythmic drive and melodic fluidity are the key ingredients of their Folkadelic music. They weave together the strands of an American Oldtime fiddler, a jazz trumpeter, a rock guitarist, a soul drummer and a swing bass player. The Nettles tailor each tune they play for the dance so that band, dancers and caller become a single joyful organism.

The band is:

Laura Brophy: Fiddle
Improvisational fiddler, Laura is known for her fiery playing. She first picked up a fiddle at the age of 11 and hasn’t put it down since. Laura’s distinctive technique combines lyrical melodies and rhythmic innovation to give each tune a new twist. Her fiddling first enlivened street jams in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After coming to Oregon in 1986 she began playing for dancers and developed the exciting style that fills the house and raises the roof at festivals and dance events throughout the region.
Laura loves to jam with friends onstage or off. "The excitement of a musical conversation is a real high for me. Our energy goes out to the dancers and comes back to us tenfold."
Kevin Johnsrude, Guitar
Kevin, polyrhythmic guitarist, singer and artist, is The Nettles’ Rhythm Monster, “driving the band wherever it wants to go.”
Kevin proves that for guitar-players there is life beyond boom-chuck. Kevin’s guitar style combined with keen harmonic intuition propels the improvisation of Laura and company into the stratosphere.
“I like The Nettles,” says Kevin, “because we play traditional music from Ireland and around the world but we keep the music fresh. Our music remains true to its roots but we add something new to the music each time we play it. Traditional musicians can and should improvise to keep the tradition alive.”
Michael Proctor: Bass
Michael cut his musical teeth on the violin, and began playing double bass a few years later. Guitar, harmonica and other instruments came along soon after, as he began playing folk music and rock.
Beginning in the 1970s, Michael played in Willamette University’s Pit orchestra, was principal bassist in the OSU Symphony, played in the Stage Band and then with regional groups American Beauty and Lip Service. He has also toured with Roadmasters (R & B) and played with the Predictors. Based in Portland, he played with Ellen Whyte before moving to Corvallis.
Brian Bucolo: Percussion
Brian is the heartbeat of The Nettles. In a previous life, Brian toured the West Coast with Calobo for six years before he decided that "viewing the world through a windshield of a van and meeting inebriated strangers at 2am may not be the road to greater fulfillment." Brian is now King of the Groove in The Nettles.
Rob Birdwell: Trumpet
The Nettles are often joined by trumpeter Rob Birdwell, who loves playing rhythm, sometimes joining Laura with improvisational counterpoint.

Callers

Erik Weberg (Portland OR)
Erik is unusually good at conveying the feel of the music he would like for each of the dances he calls. Band members then have a clear idea about what to play, and dancers reap the rewards when they experience a wonderful synergy between the dance figures and the music. Erik's ability to connect with dancers and his sly sense of humor insure an upbeat, congenial atmosphere on the floor as well as a terrific dance experience. This combination of attributes explains why he is in continual demand as a caller at week end and week-long dance camps as well as a favorite on Friday and Saturday nights in his home base, Portland, Oregon.
Susan Petrick (Redwood City, CA)
By profession Susan Petrick is a cognitive psychologist. In contra dance circles, she has been calling contra dances since 2000. Her greatest pleasure is to program interesting, varied dances with great flow, and to teach them clearly and concisely. She has enjoyed working with wonderful bands, traveling and calling throughout the country in addition to up and down the West Coast. Susan is well known for her exceptionally clear teaching, expert pacing, and gracious manner. Her efficient guidance makes even complex dances accessible to all.
 

Sound

Wayne Leeds (Eugene, OR)
Wayne dances, and so knows what dancers need to hear! He works closely with each musician to ensure they have what they need to sound their best.