The traditional music of New England can be as warm and comforting as a winter fire or as potent and exhilarating as a summer thunderstorm. Fiddler and singer Lissa Schneckenburger is a master of both moods: a winsome, sweet-voiced singer who brings new life to old ballads and a skillful, dynamic fiddler who captures the driving rhythm and joy of dance tunes old and new. Raised in a small town in Maine and now living in Vermont, Lissa grew up with music. She began playing fiddle at the age of six, inspired by her mother’s interest in folk music and a friend who was a professional violinist. Soon she was studying with renowned Maine fiddler Greg Boardman and sitting in with the Maine Country Dance Orchestra. By the time she was in high school Lissa was playing concerts on her own, specializing in the sprightly New England dance tunes that combine influences from the British Isles and Quebec with homegrown twists that have been evolving since Colonial days. Lissa was deeply influenced by the diverse musical community that she found at fiddle camps, where she played with and learned from a wide variety of musicians including noted Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. In 2001 she graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in Contemporary Improvisation. She has been performing around the US, Canada, and Europe ever since for a growing audience of enthusiastic listeners. She has recorded nine CDs, (six solo and three with various groups). In concert and in the studio she is regularly accompanied by some of the world’s finest musicians including guitarist Bethany Waickman and piano accordion player Jeremiah McLane. Her latest CD “Covers” released in June 2013, is a mix of beloved pop songs from the 1950s to today re-imagined with the luscious foundation of fiddle on each selection. Co produced with Aoife O’Donovan (of Crooked Still, The Goat Rodeo Sessions, and I’m With Her), Lissa’s sixth solo album reinterprets beloved classics by artists like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Nelly, Weezer, The Magnetic Fields, Dire Straits, and many more. “To me, folk music is anything that creates a feeling of community,” Lissa said. “Music that people want to sing along to, dance to, fall in love to… music that brings people together. These songs are part of all of us, and it’s an honor to have had the chance to record them.” Whether playing interpretations of ancient or contemporary music, Lissa brings to the stage enthusiasm, energy, and the bright future of New England’s musical traditions.
- Sarah Bird
- Pam Brandon