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Notorious brings dazzling fiddle, brilliant accompaniment

By Staff | Oct 15, 2012

Lauded as “sparkling” and “exhilarating”, Notorious musicians Eden MacAdam-Somer and Larry Unger return to Shepherdstown for a concert on Friday Oct. 12 and a day of workshops and jam sessions for musicians on Saturday, Oct. 13.

For those who have not heard them yet, it won’t take four beats to realize that this isn’t just any ordinary folk band. Sweet vocals and virtuosic fiddling coupled with driving rhythm and snappy guitar solos make for a thrilling musical experience in genres that span many continents. Declared “guitar genius” by Sing Out Magazine, Unger combines talent with exciting and versatile young violinist Eden MacAdam-Somer whose classical and jazz background merges with Larry’s driving style to push the envelope toward swing, blues and Gypsy modes. Their performances feature traditional American, Celtic and Eastern-European tunes and songs, swing, blues, classical music and the group’s original compositions.

At home in the worlds of both classical and popular music, Eden MacAdam-Somer is one of the most exciting and versatile young violinists and singers performing today. She has been a featured soloist with symphony and chamber orchestras, jazz and swing bands, bluegrass, DAWG and American folk groups. Eden is also well-versed in the music of other cultures, including Irish music, Eastern-European music and European music from the Medieval and Renaissance periods. She has been an artist at the Aspen and Beijing International Music festivals, soloist at Texas and Wimberly jazz festivals, performer at Texas and St. Louis Renaissance fairs and has appeared on numerous recordings in folk, rock, jazz and classical genres. She holds a BM and MM in music performance from the Moores School of Music (University of Houston) and the Shepherd School of Music (Rice University), respectively. In 2009 MacAdem-Somer was accepted as the first doctoral student in the groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation department of the New England Conservatory of Music where she now chairs the CI Department of Preparatory and Continuing Education.

Larry Unger has been a full-time musician since 1984 and has presented a diverse range of musical performances across the United States, Europe and Scandinavia. Titled “master guitarist” by Dirty Linen, Unger has played with many top contra dance bands and has accompanied such fiddlers as Judy Hyman, Matt Glaser and Lissa Schneckenburger. Unger’s original waltzes and fiddle tunes have been played and recorded by musicians around the world and can also be heard in the Ken Burns documentary, Our National Parks. Initially studying blues guitar with Etta Baker and John Jackson and later taking up the banjo and bass, Unger has become one of the most sought-after rhythm players in the country. He has a great breadth of understanding of traditional music to complement his considerable technical proficiency and enjoys telling stories about the origins of his music and the people who taught him.

The concert is the second program in Shepherdstown Music and Dance’s 2012-2013 International Concert Series which celebrates music from the Americas and beyond with established masters and some of the finest proponents of the next generation of traditional music. The concert takes place on Friday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. at Shepherd University’s Reynolds Hall. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, $12 for members and $8 for children and students. Shepherd University students get in free with their Rambler ID. For more information call (304) 263-2531 or see the web page at www.smad.us.

The duo will be teaching workshops for musicians in playing for dances and other situations, a sort of dance musician’s bootcamp. The morning will be spent presenting and working on several tunes in a large group and then dividing the students into smaller groups for individual band coaching As one of the country’s most popular dance bands, they will have lots of ideas and feedback for musicians looking to improve their arrangements and medleys for dances. For information on the workshops, musicians can look at the web page at www.upmw.smad.us for details and an application. Advance registration is highly recommended.

For contact information: call Joanie Blanton (304) 263-2531