In nature, when two flowing bodies moving in opposite directions share energy with each other, the process is called countercurrent exchange. In this musical duo, the exchange between Alex and Brian produces a potent flood of music that is astonishingly greater than the sum of its parts. This flux of energy between two musicians, between musicians and caller and dancers; is why the band is called Countercurrent.
Alex Sturbaum is a one-of-a-kind performer. Steeped in musical traditions from both sides of the Atlantic, they are equally comfortable performing for dancers in a crowded grange hall, singing original songs at an intimate house concert, belting out sea shanties at a pub sing, or playing bluegrass music at a festival. Alex’s love for the music and joy in performing it is evident in every note they play. Alex grew up in Cincinnati OH, on the banks of the Ohio River. Born into a musical household, they soon fell in love with the jigs and reels of Irish and Scottish music, the sea songs of the Canadian maritimes, the fiddle tunes and ballads of Appalachia, and more. Alex studied at the Riley School of Irish Music in Cincinnati before attending Oberlin College, where they began playing music for contra dances and never looked back. When not performing music, Alex also organizes community music events, produces albums for other musicians, teaches lessons on many instruments, and enthusiastically educates friends about marine biology.
Brian Lindsay has been dancing since he could walk, singing since he could speak, and holding a fiddle to his chin for most of his life. Surrounded by both contra dance and Irish music and dance throughout his childhood, Brian spent much of his youth going to sessions in the NY area and studying with respected Irish fiddle player Brian Conway. An accomplished performer and Mid-Atlantic Irish Fiddle champion by the age of 17, Brian also finds the influences of many other musical styles and traditions make their way into his playing. The dynamic, living tradition of contra dance embraces the new and the old, and the creativity in Brian’s playing draws on both a wealth of traditional influence and an enthusiasm for new things. Brian is also a competent and sensitive sound engineer, both for recording and live sound applications. He lives in Pierce County Washington, and often finds time outside of music to pursue his passions for farming, woodworking, and rock climbing.
Nils Fredland has been calling dances with admirable skill and infectious energy since 2000. Respected for his expertise as a teacher and caller, sensitive leadership, and generosity, Nils is one of the busiest and most sought-after callers in the business. He draws on a large and varied repertoire of dances, presenting material from centuries-old "chestnuts" to cutting-edge contemporary choreography.
Nils is also known for breathing new life into traditional singing squares, and he has co-authored two books on the topic with master callers. Nils studied classical trombone at Indiana University, and has played his horn in ensembles ranging from symphony orchestras to ska bands. In Elixir Nils brings together his myriad talents in one thrilling package. Nils also works as the American Dance Publications Coordinator at the Country Dance and Song Society.
Jacqui Grennan is a contra dance caller, choreographer, and dance organizer in the Los Angeles contra dance scene.
A fixture in the Los Angeles contra dance community since 2010, Jacqui currently calls at contra dances around the nation and in her home community of Los Angeles, CA. Jacqui produced and organized the 3rd Saturday contra dance series held at the Woman's Club of South Pasadena, CA, from 2014 to 2016. She also calls English dances.
Jacqui's teaching is accessible to all, her calling is precise, and she is happy to take on… and beat… the challenge of programming an evening's or a weekend's dance; creating an experience that everyone enjoys.
In addition to calling, Jacqui is a choreographer who has written a dozen contras. She plays the ukulele, is a member of the Westside Ukulele Ensemble (WUE) in West Los Angeles… And she is reputed to stay busy with work when she's not doing anything else.