Friday, November 29, 2019


Orngards' (mp3) (pdf)

Back in September Contratopia gathered at the Orngard family farm, near Pilot Mound, Iowa, to play an outdoor contra dance the evening before the wedding of our good friend (and sometimes Contratopia fiddler) Ehler Orngard and his fiance Emily. I wrote this little polka the week before, not just for Ehler, but thinking of the whole Orngard family, musicians and dancers extraordinaire.

I finally got around to recording it last week although we played it at the wedding dance and in Decorah, with the Western Home String Band, a week or two after that.

The lovely autumn weather is gone now and winter has arrived earlier than it should. The photo above was taken on November 23 near Cresco, Iowa on a rare dry and sunny afternoon.

Hope you enjoy the music.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Swarbrick Sends a Tune to Iowa (live at CMSA 2019)

Medley of solo mandolin tunes from the 2019 CMSA open mic concert on Oct. 10, 2019 in Normal, Illinois. (mp3 of set)

1. Swarbrick Sends a Tune to Iowa (John Goodin) (pdf sheet music)
2. Chief O'Neill's Favorite
3. The Flowers of Edinburgh (James Oswald)

Back in October I attended the annual Classical Mandolin Society of America convention, this year held in Normal, IL. The open mic lunchtime concerts are always special events and I usually play with one or two groups during the course of the week. This year, possibly for the first time, I thought I would play solo. My idea was to give my CSMA friends an example of the kind of thing I have been doing during my solo mandolin nights here in Decorah for the last four years.

I chose to play the set that I almost always open with and it came off better than I hoped. The sound was especially good in the room and I played a little better than usual. So I'm happy to share it around. The focus is a little fuzzy on the video but that's OK with me. There's not much to see anyway.

I originally recorded the tune I wrote in memory of Dave Swarbrick back in August, 2016 and posted it on this blog. You can read more about that here:

I hope you enjoy hearing these tunes, I certainly enjoyed playing them.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.