Santa Fe Performance Exchange
Bringing local and national musicians to Santa Fe venues
Laura Cortese

Friday, May 17, 2013, 7:30 pm Laura Cortese with Mariel Vandersteel Admission: $15 | $18 at the door

"Ambition often follows talent, and Laura Cortese has an embarrassment of both. Her open-armed approach to her art reveals a determination to spread the word about folk music without watering down its distinctiveness."– John Wenzel, Denver Post

At home in any number of styles, Laura Cortese has traveled the world as a solo artist and as a supporting musician (on fiddle, vocals, and bass) including appearances with Rose Cousins, Jocie Adams (of The Low Anthem), Uncle Earl, Tao Rodriguez Seeger, Band of Horses, Patterson Hood, Michael Franti, and as part of Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden. 

On the heels of four collaborative releases since 2010, the increasingly prolific Laura Cortese debuts a batch of dark yet hopeful folk songs on her newest release, Into The Dark. Known for her velvety vocals, endless creative energy, and highly visible work as a supporting musician, the San Francisco-born, Boston-based performer has embraced the constant travel of the modern troubadour. In fact, she maintains, it is the people she meets who are her greatest inspiration, including her newest songs. Written in an almost confessional style, Cortese’s latest work explores the timeless vulnerability and hope of people in adverse situations. Her own lyrics may say it best: “In the dark I would sing a song whispered lowsinging for the people in the shadows.”

Due out in spring 2013, Cortese’s current arrangements echo the vivid emotion of her songs in a cinematic blend of British Isles folk, bluegrass, vintage R&B, and fresh Americana on fiddles and cello. Her band (featured on both 2010’s “Acoustic Project” and the forthcoming album) is a four-piece collection of folk music’s brightest young string musicians featuring Natalie Haas (cello), Brittany Haas of Crooked Still (5 string fiddle) and Mariel Vandersteel (fiddle and Hardanger fiddle).

Laura will appear in Santa Fe along with Mariel Vandersteel, who was born and raised in Northern California, got the opportunity to study traditional Irish music in Dublin, attended and graduated from the Berklee School of Music, moved to Norway where she took up the Hardingfele, also known as the Hardanger fiddle. (Using eight or nine strings compared to the usual four found on a traditional violin, its used mainly in the southwest part of Norway, whereas the ordinary violin (called ‘flatfele’ – ‘flat fiddle’ or ‘vanlig fele’ – ‘common fiddle’) is found elsewhere. The Hardingfele is used for dancing, accompanied by rhythmic loud foot stomping.