Lisa Ornstein and Dan Compton relish in musical conversation. They transcend the form of the fiddle-and-guitar duo by playing completely together from somewhere deep inside the music. Although they are both accomplished virtuosos on their instruments, what is really exciting about them is the interplay between the two. They’re definitely awake and listening – and no two performances are ever quite the same.
Fiddle virtuoso Lisa Ornstein is an outstanding interpreter of the traditional music of French Canada and Appalachia, blending compelling and inventive playing with impeccable tune choice. Befriended by North Carolina fiddle legend Tommy Jarrell while she was in her teens, Lisa quickly became an accomplished fiddler in the Round Peak style. A musical friendship with Franco-American fiddler Louis Beaudoin set her on a path to Quebec in 1978. When La Bottine Souriante — Quebec’s internationally renowned traditional supergroup — invited her to join the band, Lisa’s projected six-month stay began to stretch, eventually lasting twelve years. While in Quebec, Lisa spent countless hours visiting with older musicians and playing in kitchens and dance halls. She also squeezed in a master’s in folklore on the life and music of master fiddler Louis “Pitou” Boudreault. She has taught, concertized, and toured extensively in North America and Europe with some of Quebec’s finest musicians, and recorded for both Smithsonian Folkways and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Her music appears on a number of La Bottine’s albums, and on critically acclaimed CDs with former bandmates André Marchand and Normand Miron.
Multi-instrumentalist Dan Compton has been part of Pacific Northwest folk music scene for many years. With a strong background in classical guitar (MM in guitar performance) and traditional Irish fiddle (numerous trips to Ireland), Dan melds both worlds in exploring what the guitar can do in traditional music. Equally adept with a flatpick or fingerstyle, he uses an array of textures and a sophisticated sense of harmony to take traditional music new places. Dan is also a noted composer of tunes: a number of them have been paid the ultimate compliment by being absorbed into the tradition, surfacing at sessions and dances here, there and everywhere. Dan’s playing can also be heard on the CDs Walking in the Neighborhood (solo guitar), Session at the Cottage and The Rambler, with button accordion player Fran Slefer, The Gloup, with flute player Mark Roberts, and Cut Up the Floor, with the contradance band Jigsaw. Dan also plays with Massachusetts-based Irish fiddle player Laurel Martin, as well as Portland folk icons Steve Einhorn and Mick Doherty.