Here is a short snippet from each of my 8 CDs to date from newest to oldest (5 minutes total). Click the triangle below to start.

My specialties

  • Irish / Celtic
  • Contradance
  • Swedish & Norwegian
  • French Canadian / Québécois
  • French & Breton
I also play
  • Old-time / Appalachian
  • Bluegrass
  • Texas
  • Scottish & Cape Breton
  • English Country Dance
  • Latin Waltzes & Tangos
  • Greek wedding dances
  • Jewish wedding music
  • Russian & Gypsy
  • Danish & Finnish
  • Baroque & Classical

“I was totally mesmerized by your performance...your relationship with your instruments was awesome. You created joyful music and joyful images of life.” -- Barbara, Corning NY

“The more we hear others, the more we are truly able to appreciate the difference you bring to fiddling.” -- Marybeth, Ithaca NY

“Laurie's music reverberates in my soul...nyckelharpa, Hardanger fiddle...oh, to be so gifted with strings and a bow...” --Diana, Colorado

“You are one of the most precise fiddlers I have come across at contradances. You are an excellent example of what good fiddling for dances should sound like. Every note is played perfectly and perfectly placed.” --Tim, Syracuse NY

My Instruments & Biography

Mostly I play my regular violin, which I call a fiddle since I primarily play traditional (folk) music on it. But I also play some other fascinating fiddle-like objects. A radio show was devoted to my solo playing of nyckelharpa and Hardanger fiddle in 2006 (listen here).

The Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, or hardingfele, dates back to the 1600s and is played in Western and Central Norway. It has ink flower drawings and inlay of abalone, bone and ivory. Four strings are played by the bow, usually two at a time. Meanwhile below the fingerboard, five sympathetic strings ring along and create the hardingfele's unique resonance. Click on Bridal March in the audio player at left to hear a sample. For more info visit the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America.

The Swedish keyed-fiddle, or nyckelharpa, dates back to the 1300s. Its stronghold is the province of Uppland. I play a chromatic type, developed in the 1920s. It has 16 strings, 12 of which are unbowed sympathetic under-strings. Instead of using fingers on the melody strings to change their pitch as on fiddles, the nyckelharpa has rows of wooden keys attached to pegs which touch the strings. Click on Polska efter Ellika Frisell in the audio player above left to hear a sample. For more info, visit the American Nyckelharpa Association.

The hurdy-gurdy, (vielle à roue in French, vevlira in Swedish) dates to the medieval era and was played throughout Europe. Mine has two melody strings and 4 drone strings. It has keys like the nyckelharpa, but instead of a bow against the strings, it uses a rosined wheel, turned with a crank. A buzzing bridge on one of the drone strings creates a percussive rhythm as the wheel changes speed. Click on Blekinge-Polska in the audio player on this page to hear a master-player. Find more hurdy-gurdy info here. My French hurdy-gurdy, made by Jean-Luc Bleton, is for sale! Get in touch for details.
A poster of my instruments is free with purchase of any CD or book from my catalogue.

Biography

Laurie Hart is a fiddler from Ithaca in central New York State. She specializes in Irish, Québécois, Scandinavian, French and American dance music. She also plays Swedish nyckelharpa, Norwegian Hardanger fiddle and a bit of hurdy-gurdy. Laurie is known for her beautiful tone, agile bowing, large repertoire, and fidelity to the diverse styles she plays. She has seven albums in her growing discography, created the soundtrack for two documentaries, and appears as a guest artist on many CDs.

Laurie has performed since 1986 at contradances, concerts, weddings, festivals and dance weekends across the U.S., Canada and Northern Europe. Laurie’s ensembles include: Scandinavian music with Stefhan Ohlström and Andrew VanNorstrand; the trio Alizé, which plays music of France and Brittany; and her long-standing contradance quartet, the Contradictions.

Laurie's passion for fiddling, dancing, languages and travel has led her on research and tune-collecting expeditions to Ireland, Québec, Scandinavia and France, which in turn have led to writing magazine articles and books, and to new recordings and workshop offerings. She was the recipient of a Fulbright Award to study the music and dance of Norway and Sweden. She is now working on a five-volume CD/book series entitled Scandinavian Fiddle Tradition.

In Québec Laurie performs and records with guitarist/singer Paul Marchand. Her highly respected book Danse ce soir!: Fiddle and Accordion Music of Québec, with co-author Greg Sandell, was published by Mel Bay in 2001.

Laurie attended Eastman School of Music as a violin major, and began offering fiddle lessons in 1990. She often teaches fiddle classes at Ashokan Northern Week, Ithaca College, and at Suzuki institutes around the Northeast.