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Ken Kolodner and Laura Risk
Ken Kolodner - hammered dulcimer
Laura Risk - fiddle

Ken Kolodner and Laura Risk's approach to Celtic music reflects both a deep respect for the tradition and a healthy spirit of creativity, as they effortlessly combine classical ensemble precision and musicality with a mastery of the improvisational freedom essential to traditional music. The duo plays with a lightness, quickness, and precision that captivates audiences of all ages, and their enthusiasm for the music is infectious.

Hammer dulcimer player Ken Kolodner and fiddler Laura Risk are seasoned traditional musicians who found each other in a truly time-honored fashion: through informal, spontaneous playing together. Ken, of the world-acclaimed instrumental trio Helicon since 1986, met Laura at an all-night jam session at the 1996 Winnipeg Folk Festival; the musical chemistry felt between them was something unique, magical, and instantly recognizable. Laura was therefore an obvious choice on Ken's solo dulcimer CD Walking Stones in 1997.

By the end of that recording session it was clear to the musicians and to the record label (Dorian) that a new group had been born. Walking Stones was Allegro Corporation's #1 World Music Title for over three months and was named one of BMG's Top 15 Bestsellers in 1998.

Recent performances include a concert-length Radio Canada broadcast recorded live at Montreal's Maison de Culture, Frontenac; an appearance at Baltimore's Meyerhoff Symphony Hall; concerts at Longwood Gardens (PA) and the Frontier Cultural Museum (VA); headliner spots at the Clarion Folk College and the Texas Acoustic Music Winter Festival; and two appearances as soloists with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. The latter concerts, which included suites of traditional tunes arranged for Ken, Laura and string orchestra, were broadcast to over 500,000 viewers in the Washington DC area on WMAR TV (ABC).

As a soloist and an alum of Helicon, Ken Kolodner has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe. Known for his expressive and improvisational style, Ken has taught at countless festivals and music camps and has been featured in nationally broadcast concerts on NPR, German National Radio, CBC, and the Voice of America. His 1999 appearance as soloist with a combined chorus (The Baltimore Choral Arts) and chamber orchestra from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra was broadcast in an Emmy-nominated CBS-TV Christmas special. His recording "A Winter Solstice with Helicon" recently won an Indie for Best Seasonal Recording.

A California native, Laura Risk began playing Scottish fiddle music as a teenager. Her love of traditional fiddling has led her into a rich journey of performing and teaching the beautifully diverse repertoires of Scotland, Cape Breton and Quebec, where she now lives. Laura has toured extensively as a soloist and as a member of numerous bands (Ensemble Galilei, The John Whelan Band, Cordelia's Dad), performing at venues such as The Newport Folk Festival and Celtic Connections (Glasgow, Scotland). Her credits include numerous CDs - her first solo CD was one of The Boston Globe's 'Top 10 CDs of the Year' - and five years as an Instructor of Fiddling at Wellesley College.

For bookings and info:
Laura: laurarisk@sympatico.ca, 514-727-3171
Ken: kenkolodner@aol.com, 410-243-7254