The Contradictions is Laurie Hart on fiddle, Tom Hodgson on guitar, Rick Manning on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, Dave Davies on bass and vocals
...and often Vikki Armstrong calling dances
The Contradictions is a contradance and couple-dance quartet based in Ithaca NY. We've offered an eclectic mix of fiddle tunes and songs from American and European traditions to dancers and listeners since 1990. Our repertoire ranges from lively Irish jigs, New England double fiddling and French Canadian reels to enchanting Venezuelan waltzes, slick bluegrass fiddle breaks and 1930s hot swing standards, all designed to get your hands clapping and feet dancing. We come from very different musical traditions, and have taught each other a lot over the years. And every now and then we’re asked to do something we'd never done before, like a Greek wedding, and a whole new repertoire is added. (Also check out Dave’s Contradictions webpage.)
East-Tennessee-BluesLady-Be-GoodReel-BeatriceInfideleClick on the triangle above to hear snippets of our demo recordings. See videos of us in concert and at a dance at bottom of page.
We provide music for many kinds of dancing:
  • contradances
  • square dances, singing squares
  • swing dances
  • English country dances
  • waltz, tango, Texas two-step, ballroom
  • step dancing (clogging, Irish, French Canadian)
  • many other traditions (Latin, Greek, Jewish, Scandinavian...)
Event organizers and sound technicians click here for the Contradictions’ technical requirements.
Dave Davies brings jug-band, blues, swing and jazz influences to the group. He is a regular staff musician at Ashokan Western & Swing Week, and performs with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. He occasionally plays guitar or brass instruments as well with the Contradictions.
Tom Hodgson played folk guitar as a teenager, and has gone on to accompany some of the great fiddlers of the Irish, New England and Midwest dance scenes, including Randy Miller and Martin Hayes. He has traveled extensively with a Vermont dance performing group, the Green Mountain Volunteers.
Laurie Hart's bio is here.
Rick Manning began playing music in college in Texas, and has focused on Texas contest fiddling, bluegrass, and swing fiddle and mandolin, as well as harmony singing, composing and song-writing.
Vikki Armstrong, originally from Ottawa, is known for her charm, warmth, sense of humour and graceful teaching style.  She has been on staff at Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, and at the Summer Strings Program at Vassar and Bard Colleges.  Her love of dance and the joy of participation shines through as she draws on her wealth of experience not only in traditional Anglo/American community dance but in many other forms of dance.
This clip is from our July 2007 Cornell Summer Concert. Included are excerpts of seven different tunes:
0:00 East Tennessee Blues
1:45 Over the Top
2:53 L'Infidèle
4:35 Reel de Jos Cormier
6:09 Maiden's Prayer
7:51 Wagoner
8:54 When Love Comes to Call (song)
Videography by Al Grunwell, editing by Laurie Hart.
This clip is from our February 2011 Hands Four contradance in Ithaca. Vikki Armstrong is calling. As Tom couldn't make it, Harry Aceto is playing bass, and Dave has switched over to guitar.
The tunes are:
0:00 John Brain's Reel (also known as Brumley Brae)
3:17 Catharsis Reel
7:08 Reconciliation Reel
Thanks to Ben Werner for taking and posting this video.