2012 Staff

We’re gearing up for another exceptional lineup of musicians and callers at YDW 2012! Below find info about who’s playing, calling, and teaching, updated as things develop.


Playing for contras, English, and couples dancing

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Formed on a rundown sidestreet in Portland, Maine, the men of RIPTIDE have spent the past few years roaming the United States searching for barbecue ribs and terrifying dance communities with profane chords and inexplicable screaming. Featuring dance favorite Glen Loper on the mandolin, Irish-style fiddle player Alden Robinson, and Owen Marshall, Notary Public, on guitar, RIPTIDE plays vivid, imaginative music that has been thrilling dancers up and down the east coast and beyond.

The Sail Away Ladies

Playing for contras, English, and couples dancing

The Sail Away Ladies combine three of the most exciting, versatile, and accomplished young performers in the contemporary folk scene: Ari Friedman, Mia Friedman, and Eden MacAdam Somer.

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Ari Friedman, a classically trained cellist from the Boston area, is one of few musicians to be challenging the boundaries of cello-playing. She studied cello performance at Northwestern University, and also received a masters of music in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory. She tours internationally with Scottish National Fiddle champion Hanneke Cassel, plays with New England’s highly acclaimed fiddle band, Childsplay, and has taught at fiddle camps from New England to New Zealand.

Mia Friedman started playing violin and singing at an early age. She has her roots in Americana and old-time Appalachian traditions, and blends this with contemporary experimental music in her compositions. Now in her final year at New England Conservatory, she is an active composer and performer, and tours around the United States with Ari & Mia, performs with Merryville Grammar School, and has her own solo act.

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Eden MacAdam-Somer’s music transcends genre through soaring violin and fiddling, sweet vocals, and percussive dance. She has been a featured soloist with symphony and chamber orchestras, jazz and swing bands, and Eastern European and American folk ensembles. As a member of Notorious she has traveled across the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, India, Iceland, the UK, and Afghanistan, delighting audiences with her unique style and flair. Eden has Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in classical performance, and is currently working on her Doctorate at the New England Conservatory in the groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation department.

At YDW this year the Sail Away Ladies will be joined by Max Newman and Owen Marshall on guitar.

Mary Wesley

Calling contras and singing squares

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Mary Wesley is a dance leader, caller, and organizer for contras, squares, morris, and family and community dances. A native of Vermont, she travels throughout New England and beyond to follow and share her love of dance. Whether at a scheduled dance, a school event, a wedding, a festival or a private party, Mary’s friendly enthusiasm is sure to please.

Miriam Newman

Calling English

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Miriam first started calling in 2006 at the Swarthmore College Folkdance Club, taught by Joanna Reiner; after college she moved to New York City and participated in Country Dance*New York’s ECD caller’s apprenticeship program. She has called for everything from a sixteen-person contra dance on a roof in Brooklyn to some of the most established dances in the United States, and has enjoyed every calling experience along the way. She now lives, dances, and calls primarily in Boston, Massachusetts. Visit Miriam’s website

DJ Improper

Friday night technocontra

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dJ improper started playing music for contra dances in late 2010. He is now the resident DJ for the Folklore Society of Greater Washington’s “Contra Sonic” event, which features Contra Dancing to a wide variety of music. He has played up and down the east coast and has been featured at events such as Contra Evolution and the Lake Eden Arts Festival.