Berkshire Strings Presents

Jamie Laval

Thursday, June 29 - 7:30pm

Dewey Hall in Sheffield, MA

Most of us associate Irish music with toe-tapping rhythms, high energy jigs, boisterous drinking songs. In his upcoming concert performance, internationally-acclaimed Celtic performer Jamie Laval promises both the warmly familiar and the bracingly surprising. Throughout the evening, Laval will interweave music with his unique style of story telling, recounting mythic legends from antiquity.

Known for his fiddle wizardry and unique interpretation of traditional music from the Scottish Highlands, Laval will highlight Celtic music from Brittany, the Gaelic-speaking cousin of Ireland and Scotland, located on the western coast of France. Like their northern relatives, the Bretons favor bagpipes and high energy village dances. Yet the minor keys and hypnotic syncopation give the music of Brittany a strikingly exotic quality.

Laval has appeared on the NBC Today Show, performed on Dave Matthews' platinum album Some Devil, and gave a private performance for Her Majesty the Queen. Laval's newest album, Murmurs and Drones, won the popular vote for “Best World Traditional Album” in the 2012 Independent Music Awards.

Currently making his home near Asheville, NC, Laval grew up in the Pacific Northwest where he received his musical training at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Laval made his living as a professional symphony musician, recording studio artist, improvising violinist, and contra dance fiddler. But his passion for the haunting sounds of rural Scottish folk music eventually usurped all other preoccupations, and he now devotes himself exclusively to Celtic music.


Berkshire Summer Strings Benefit Concert

Thursday,  July 13 - 7:30pm

Dewey Hall in Sheffield, MA

Our Staff will  perform their own award winning compositions and the traditional tunes that continue to inspire them. Suggested donation of $20 goes to the Youth Scholarship Fund. 

Concert for the Community

Friday,  July 14 - 5:30pm  

French Park in North Egremont, MA

The grand celebration, Berkshire Summer Strings' musical gift to the Egremont community. Bring a blanket or a chair, or a whole picnic to enjoy on the lawn and be transported to another time through the music and singing of our program participants.

Free Admission.

"This program is supported in part by a grant from the Alford/Egremont Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency."


Cantrip

Friday, July 21st - 7:30pm

Dewey Hall in Sheffield, MA

Cantrip is a leader in Scottish music. For over a decade they have been breaking boundaries in the tradition, touring extensively throughout Scotland and the US. Known for their innovative arrangements, un-produced sound and dry wit this power trio can be seen on some of the largest Celtic stages in the world. From the strong base of its Celtic roots their music branches out into, and takes influence from, the music of other European cultures. Weaving together songs and tunes, both traditional and contemporary, Cantrip takes an audience on a cultural journey, putting their own spin on each style. 

 

 

Past Shows:

Jordan Tice and Horse County

with Pepper and Sassafras

Saturday, March 11 - 8:00pm

Dewey Hall in Sheffield, MA

A Berkshire premier concert of Horse County featuring Jordan Tice, our very own guitar instructor who debuted material from their new album at the Benefit Concert in 2016. Together with Dominick Leslie (Deadly Gentlemen) on mandolin and Zoe Guigueno (Della Mae) on bass, this trio takes Jordan's compositions to new heights and continues his projection as a rising star on the traditional music stage. 

Pepper and Sassafras will set the stage with Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, grand prize winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, teaming up with multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Wendy Sassafras Ramsay in a dynamic Americana duo. Rodgers, also the founding editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine, delivers masterful band-in-a-box guitar work while Ramsay, harmonizer extraordinaire, adds flute, clarinet, guitar, accordion, and her quirky originals to the mix. Pepper and Sassafras were finalists for Best Duo at FreshGrass in 2016 and winners of the New Voices showcase at the Turtle Hill Folk Festival.


Searson - Canadian Old Time

Saturday, April 29 - 7:30pm

Dewey Hall in Sheffield, MA

For over a decade now, Searson has toured the world with their unique blend of high energy fiddling, passionate vocals and intricate step dancing. At the core of Searson, are Colleen and Erin Searson, two sisters who hail from the Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada. Their spirited live shows feature sibling vocal harmonies, and both sisters "pounding the boards" with Ottawa Valley step dancing. Rounding out the band are top-notch Danno O'Shea - performing and composing for over 17 years on drums and percussion with a jazz degree from Humber College - and bass/guitar player Fraser Gauthier, who has studied at Humber College and Capilano University, gradually gravitating towards roots music. Together, this talented quartet performs sets that feature their original style of "Canadian Celtic Pop", which includes a mix of traditional and original instrumental and vocal selections. 

 

Ari & Mia with Lula Wiles

Thursday, June 22 - 7:30pm

Dewey Hall in Sheffield, MA

Ari & Mia, New England's Americana Sister Act, return to the Berkshires and their fast-growing local fan base to perform, this time with Lula Wiles.  Ari & Mia reference the styles of Southern and Northeastern fiddle music and the early American songbook to create a realm where their own compositions cross paths with older traditions. Their stylish and sophisticated music honors the sounds of Appalachian cottages, rural dance floors, and urban concert halls. Combine this with their innovative approach to songwriting and the result is a captivating sound. 

What a perfect pairing with Lula Wiles, another female band deeply rooted in traditional folk music, but equally deep in their devotion to modern songcraft. The songs span from heartbreak-drenched acoustic ballads to honky-tonk swagger to contemporary grit and back again, all anchored by rich vocal harmonies. Their lyrics are fiercely honest, littered with reinvented folk tropes and evocative images.