Praise for Laura Risk
A virtuoso fiddler. Her fluency in fiddle styles from Cape Breton to
Appalachia is remarkable.
The Boston Globe
It was thrilling to hear [Risk's] expressive treatment of reels, jigs and
country dances. She led off the second act of the program with a Scottish
tune that had the elegance of a sonata, as if Mozart had come from the Isle
The St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
Laura Risk plays her fiddle with passion and finesse...Capturing a glimpse
of emotions seldom expressed on any instrument, Risk bows the strings with
a delicate grace, yet draws unbridled passion from them... Startlingly
beautiful and deftly executed. [Her fiddling] gives spark, vitality, and
grace to these unforgettable tunes.
Only in her mid-twenties, Risk has become a formidable player with a clear stylistic vision.
The East Bay Express (California)
Brilliant... Risk's fiddle dances through the music like a live thing, and you can't help but wonder if her nimble fingers have ever missed a note. Her playing is emotional, sincere, gorgeous.
Rambles, on-line cultural arts magazine
Praise for Celtic Dialogue
Top 10 CDs of 1999... At once pastoral and sweeping.
The Boston Globe
The first notes sound classical, with lush and proper piano chords meeting
the high sweet arc of a violin. As the rhythmic pulse thickens, you're sure
it's traditional music, some dark, ancient Celtic air. Then, Laura Risk's
fiddle pushes the melody's pedal to the floor, and you don't care what it
is. It's just beautiful... Celtic Dialogue is a gently daring new CD of
Scottish traditional music... It sounds unlike any music you've heard
before, because it is: Most of its eighteen selections have not been
performed for more than 200 years. Yet they seem almost to have been
composed with the 24-year-old Risk's gifts in mind...
The Boston Globe
These are soul-stirring tunes. Jacqueline Schwab's genius at the piano is
known to me-delicate, bare, and utterly expressive. But Laura Risk's fiddle
is a revelation and achingly beautiful.
Ken Burns, Grammy-winning filmmaker
Beautifully performed... Fiddler Laura Risk and pianist Jacqueline Schwab
give a refined chamber music treatment to some exquisite 18th-century
The Washington Post
Gorgeous... Celtic Dialogue helps unearth a forgotten era in Scottish
fiddle music. This CD is always expressive, freshly contemplative,
The Boston Herald
The tunes have a dreamlike quality that charmed me-and haunted me long
after the disc was over.
Praise for Greenfire
[Greenfire] plays with the soul, emotion, inspiration, and (when needed) the oomph that should be the envy of many a Celtic band... The repertoire runs the stylistic gamut from hornpipes to polkas to slow airs to jigs to strathspeys, and the geographic gamut from Ireland to Cape Breton to Scotland to Chicago, and even to Finland... Fresh, authentic, invigorating.
Exceptional musicians... Greenfire's approach combines a loving respect for tradition and a thoroughly playful sense of creativity. The result is controlled artistry that should appeal to all fans of Celtic music... Clearly this is a 'must have' album for Celtic fans.
Dulcimer Player News
Greenfire, a Baltimore-based Celtic group featuring Ken Kolodner on hammered dulcimer and Laura Risk on fiddle, played an inspiring set of tunes on Thursday, Aug. 16, at beautiful Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa. The perfect summer evening was a fine complement to the musicianship of these two, which, as always, was first-rate. Opening with two Kerry polkas, "Salmon Tails Up the Water" and "Knocknaboul," they moved seamlessly through French-Canadian, old-timey, Scottish and Cape Breton styles, as well as an original tune by Kolodner... The interplay between the hammered dulcimer's precise percussive qualities and the graceful fluidity of Risk's fiddling was a real treat... This was a fine performance by two veterans who obviously enjoy working together.
A Roof for the Rain is an instrumental CD that sparkles through excellent musicianship, a great selection of tunes, and superb production... [It] is assertive but not overbearing, a delight to the ears.
Green Man Review
[Greenfire] explores the spirit and soul and mysticism of Irish music and kindred styles... [On Walking Stones] the combination of Kolodner's deft touch and the dulcimer's shimmering tones inevitably conjure contemplative and sometimes courtly moods, but not before we're treated to a lively set of Irish, Scottish, and Irish-American reels. Risk's aggressive attack, which accounts for much of the music's rhythmic force early on, is later supplanted by a bittersweet lyricism, but it returns again, vigorously. The beauty and the beat of Celtic music are always well served.
The Washington Post
What's most impressive is the tight interplay among the musicians.
The Baltimore Messenger
Praise for Cordelia's Dad with Laura Risk
If traditional American music has a future, it's probably Cordelia's Dad,
a former rock band that discovered the joys of the traditional American
vocal form of shape-note singing and fiddle tunes and became an acoustic
marvel with copies of The Sacred Harp in hand... The foursome brings
dazzling exuberance to this material, along with interpretive
Folk Album of the Month (Spine)... [Cordelia's Dad] examines the full,
rich depth of the American folk tradition with startling conviction... Tim
Eriksen is a charismatically disturbing focus, but he has profound support,
notably from Laura Risk's authentic fiddle, and Steve Albini's courageously
stark production. Absurdly good.
Tim Eriksen, Cath Oss, Peter Irvine, and Laura Risk have been dusting off
the reputation of tradition American tunes as mere 'folk' music and
electrifying them with all the fire, heartache, and lust that befits the
growing pains of a country and its endless personal comedies and tragedies.
Spine is a revelation, a record rich with voice, fiddle, guitar, banjo,
drum, and dulcimer that is so raw, naked, real and up front that if it
weren't for the instruments and singing style, one could easily crown it
the year's only true punk record.
Praise for Laura Risk and Athena Tergis
Laura and Athena play with fury and excitement, weaving together dazzling
harmonies and intricate patterns in strathspeys, jigs, and reels.
The Boston Irish Reporter
Tergis and Risk have become the toast of northern California's Celtic
renaissance... Preeminent promulgators of the Scottish fiddling