You can bow your own way – North American Fiddle

Day 1 Wednesday 14|02


North American Tunes & Fiddle-singing

Day 5 Sunday 18|02


Workshop 1 You can bow your own way – North American Fiddle

For fiddlers who can quickly learn melodies by ear and have some experience with North American music (Appalachian, Cape Breton, Québécois, and New England). Viola’s and cellos are also welcome!

Laura will present a workshop focusing on groove in North American folk music. After learning each tune, she will dig into how the bow is the key to groove and expression. Together, we will explore how to translate different grooves and rhythmic patterns to hidden gems in the North American repertoire. Our goal will be to leave the class with a tool kit of possibilities to translate to favorite melodies at home. We will also work to distill our own instrumental strengths toward an unmistakable personal style.

Workshop 2 North American Tunes & Fiddle-singing

For fiddlers who can quickly learn melodies by ear and always wanted to try fiddling and singing at the same time. No experience with American music is required. Viola’s and cellos are also welcome!

In this workshop, we zoom in on North American repertoire: classic jam tunes and songs from the Appalachian Mountains, Cape Breton, Québéc, and New England,… traditional tunes, and newly composed ones. Laura will teach chopping/chord accompaniment basics on the fiddle and the grooves of standard dances and tunes. And we zoom in on singing while fiddling, including fiddle-singing basics and chopping/chord accompaniment basics on the fiddle.

Laura Cortese

Laura Cortese has built a distinguished career as an Americana fiddler, songwriter, and vocalist. She is now one of the most in-demand musical collaborators on the folk circuit. Born and raised in San Francisco, CA, she moved to Boston, MA, to study at Berklee College of Music, immersing herself in the city’s vibrant indie music scene and enjoying a busy touring and studio career, which included appearances with Band of Horses at Carnegie Hall and Pete Seeger at the Newport Folk Festival.

In March 2024, Laura Cortese is launching what she intends to become an annual collaborative tour in her adopted home of Belgium with a rotating cast featuring some of today’s most exciting roots musicians in North America and the UK. The first edition features New York-based old-time banjo phenom Nora Brown, Scottish songwriter Kris Drever, and seasoned multi-instrumentalist Eli West. With Laura at the helm, these four musicians will create a unique performance showcasing their strengths as players, singers, and songwriters.

Furthermore, she tours internationally with her band, the Dance Cards – bold and elegant, schooled in the lyrical rituals of folk music and backed by grooves that alternatively inspire Cajun two-stepping and rock’ n’ roll hip swagger. Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards have appeared at venues and festivals throughout the US, UK, Sweden, Canada, India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Estonia, Montenegro, Greece, and Bangladesh, pairing sophisticated string arrangements (two fiddles, cello & bass) and rich vocal harmonies with poignant and powerful singing.

Laura has shared the stage and created opportunities for fellow folk musicians throughout her career, including co-founding Miles of Music Camp and the Boston Celtic Music Festival, which just enjoyed their 13th and 20th editions, respectively. Laura has taught violin and singing at Newcastle University in England and the University of Limerick in Ireland. She regularly gives violin, singing, and dance workshops at many fiddle camps: Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Fiddle School, Mark O’ Connor’s Nashville Fiddle Camp, Sierra Fiddle Camp (US), Folkworks Youth Summer School in Newcastle (UK) and Fiddlers on the Move.

photo © Filip Verpoest