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Leeds Contra Ceilidh: Stringrays, Rhodri Davies

Saturday, 19 May 2018, 19:30 - 23:00
by Richard Gibson

Rodney Miller - fiddle
Max Newman - guitar
Stuart Kenney - bass and banjo

Stringrays is an inimitable trio of musicians all based in New England, USA with a shared interest in exploring great fiddle tunes. Their playing is fueled by a love of the living tradition of New England fiddle music and its cousins. Expect dynamic, lyrical improvisation and fresh, dance-inspired interplay.

Rodney Miller's fiddling commands the stage and the eardrums. He is well-known as both a traditionalist and innovator, with a playful style and soulful tone. He is widely considered to be the foremost exponent of New England style fiddling, although his exploratory style invites in quite a few surprises. Over the past 35 years, he has toured the U.S., British Isles, Australia and Denmark, performed and taught at hundreds of music and dance festivals, and recorded numerous albums, among them the acclaimed New England Chestnuts, Airplang, and Airdance albums. He’s also a respected luthier, building violins like the one he’s holding here.

Max Newman was surrounded by traditional music and dance from an early age. He’s spent a good portion of his life playing dances great and small across the continent, as well as accompanying Irish music. His guitar playing is refreshing, fun, and creative, and has allowed him to collaborate on-stage with a variety of traditional musicians. In the Stringrays, he often alternates between hammering down rhythms and trading licks with Rodney. When not with the band, he’s often playing at his local dance in Concord, Massachusetts.

Stuart Kenney is the go-to player for bass thump and a distinctive banjo thunk at any contra dance. His long career in several traditional music genres includes cutting his teeth with the legendary Dewey Balfa. He followed that with prodigious output with numerous groups and contra dance bands, including Airdance with Rodney and Undertoe with Karen Tweed. Stuart’s musical home is at the Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield, MA, where he plays for and hosts the TopHill Music and Dance Series. He also plays with Quebecois band Tidal Wave and Celtic groove band The Sevens. His solo banjo album The Red Case has earned him numerous accolades.

Stringrays when they last played for Leeds Contra in 2015





Ticket prices £9 advance (students & Children £5), £10 door (students & children £6).


Location: St Chad's Parish Centre, Leeds
Address: St Chad's Parish Centre, Otley Road, Leeds,  LS16 5JT
Contact: 07989 618550 (Richard) or 01535 642684