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Laura Risk

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 of Skye.
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 melodies.
The Washington Post

Gorgeous... Celtic Dialogue helps unearth a forgotten era in Scottish fiddle music. This CD is always expressive, freshly contemplative, hauntingly emotional.
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.
Dirty Linen

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 thoughtfulness.

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.
Magnet, U.K.

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 tradition.