Midnight in Montague is named for the eponymous CD that David Kaynor and Betsy Branch recorded in 2010.
David Kaynor is a long time caller, contradance musician, storyteller, mentor and teacher who lives in Montague, MA. Just watch the intro for David on the Northern Roots 2013 youtube video. Kaynor has an entertaining, eclectic style that brings joy to dancers and listeners alike. You can get a feeling for his wit and style from the bio on his website davidkaynor.com. David’s sister is a long time resident of Fairbanks who misses him and will be glad to have him visit Fairbanks. David was the guest caller for Dance Camp North in 1994. It has been far too long.
Betsy Branch has been a mainstay of Portland’s English and contra dance community since 2001. Her exuberant dance fiddling has delighted dancers on both coasts. She plays in several contra dance bands including Wild Hair and Night Owl, and she collaborates with musicians from all around the U.S. for English and contra dances. Betsy is also very active in Portland’s Irish music community, playing for sessions, concerts and sean-nos dancing. She is the associate music director of Portland’s Revels theater company and their house fiddler. Betsy’s primary passion is teaching and mentoring fiddlers and dance musicians. She teaches privately out of her home in Portland and for workshops around the region. Her warmth and engaging smile extend beyond the stage and draw in dancers and listeners alike.
Besides contra dances and dance camps, Betsy plays for English Country Dancing, couples dancing, and concerts. Her recordings include Picassiette, with her husband and music partner Mark Douglass; and A Portland Play Along Selection, with Sue Songer and Clyde Curley. In addition, Betsy is a sought-after fiddle teacher, and associate music director of the Portland Revels. Betsy works closely with Sue Songer on the artistic direction of The Portland Megaband, and is a tune editor of The Portland Collection, Volume 2 and of the upcoming Volume 3. Look for her editing work in the recently-released folio of tunes from the album Across The Black River by Kevin Burke and Cal Scott.
Max Newman was born and raised in Alaska and has been surrounded by traditional music and dance from an early age, often playing alongside his dad for local contra dances and enjoying Irish music sessions. Now living in the Northeast, he plays with Boston-based dance band Norâ€™easter and with Rodney Millerâ€™s Stringrays as well as numerous other contradance bands. He enjoys bringing his dynamic and varied guitar and mandolin playing to a variety of situations and is especially interest in the craft of playing for dancers. In addition to making music, from 2009-2010 Max worked at the Country Dance and Song Society as Youth Projects Intern, leading workshops and developing materials for dance organizers, callers and musicians. He serves on the committee of Youth Dance Weekend, an event dedicated to developing leadership among the next generation of contra and English participants.
Here’s a video of David and Betsy playing a set of tunes at, appropriately, Fiddletunes.