Fiddler-folksinger Lissa Schneckenburger returns to Bates

Lissa Schneckenburger, a rising young folk musician and former Litchfield resident, performs at Bates College at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

A singer and fiddler familiar to Bates and mid-Maine audiences, Schneckenburger is presented by the college’s Freewill Folk Society. Tickets cost $8 general admission and $5 for seniors, students and ages 12 and under. For reservations or artist information, call 207-268-4013; for directions or other venue information, call 207-786-6135.

Called an “exhilarating young traditional performer” by the folk-music magazine Dirty Linen, Schneckenburger has performed in Russia, Western Europe, Canada and across the United States. She has opened for artists such as master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and renowned singer Judy Collins. Her recordings include two solo titles, the widely reviewed Different Game (Footprint, 2001) and The Mad Hatter (Outer Green, 1997), as well as recent CDs with the bands Halali, Phantom Power and Spin.

A product of rural Litchfield, Maine, Schneckenburger picked up the fiddle at age 6 and was quickly recognized as a prodigy. Her teachers included Greg Boardman, a member of the Bates music faculty and a pillar of Maine’s folk music community who brought his young protégé into the state’s thriving contradance scene.

She went on to become a champion fiddler, taking top awards at the Common Ground Country Fair, Maine Festival and East Benton contests, and she later studied with such top bowmen as Fraser, Jay Ungar and jazz artist Matt Glazer.

“It’s been exciting to observe her progress as a performer over the years,” says Boardman, “as her facility, experience and ardor continue to expand.”

Now a Boston resident and a 2001 graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, Schneckenburger teaches and performs solo, with the acoustic fiddle band Halali and with the contradance groups Phantom Power and Spin.

“The bulk of the music I play could be described as a New England fiddle style,” says Schneckenburger. “But I’ve been influenced by plenty of other traditional music along the way — French Canadian, Scottish, Irish, Cape Breton, old-time and klezmer. I’ve used those influences to create a style that is all my own.”

Schneckenburger, who typically divides her sets about evenly between fiddle tunes and vocal music, will be accompanied at Bates by guitarist Ted Davis and bassist Corey DiMario. Boardman, of Auburn, is expected to join his former student on the Olin stage, and members of Wake the Neighbors — a Bates-based contradance band that Schneckenburger co-founded — may also perform.

“I’m very excited to come back to Bates. I had my first recital with Greg there,” says Schneckenburger, also a veteran of Bates’ orchestra and Noonday Concert Series.

“It sounds silly, but the hall feels like an old friend,” she says. “Add to that the fact that many of my old friends will be in the audience, and I can barely wait for this concert to happen.”

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