Laurie Fisher has been entertaining dancers and inspiring musicians full-time
for the past 17 years. She can fiddle, play piano, call dances, teach
and enthuse with the best of them. The very thriving Asheville contradance
scene has been passionately influenced by her bands and music over the
past 25 years. She is regionally well known as the fiddler for The String
Beings, an Asheville Contradance band whose success has traveled them from
Boston to Florida, and California to Michigan and even Texas. They have produced
and continue to sell three recordings, with many repeat sales to folks who 'just
wore theirs out'. The String Beings are known for their relentless edgy
rhythm and the good ride that it provides, punctuated by exciting, well-executed
musical tricks of the trade. In addition to contra music from many latitudes and
eras, the Beings can put on a swing or couple dance, concert, and the occasional
Jewish wedding. They have been featured at dance weekends and events for
the past 15 years.
Laurie also plays with Karen Gaughan, Asheville's most in demand
contradance piano side-girl. They often perform as a duo, but can't
settle on a good band name. . .so look for them as 'Hair of the Fish', or 'Hot
Flash', or in moments of indecision, 'Laurie Fisher and Karen Gaughan'.
The two provide a full sound, plenty of rhythm and a really good ride for
the avid contradancer or waltzer. The main comment from the
floor when these two play is an amazed, "I can't believe there's only two
of you!" There are two somewhat regular augmentations if this dynamic
duo. . .'Holy Coyote' and 'Fiddlewitch' build on the solid piano/fiddle combo
with the addition of a drum set, concertina or mandolin. . . the good ride
gets better. . . .
Laurie loves to sing and play
guitar in Honky-tonk, Swing and Texas Swing bands. Before graduations and
busy schedules broke them up, she performed with her 'dancers-rule' swing band,
The After Midnight Band of Pleasure (keyboard AND 3-pc horn section,
ooh-la-la!!) She now plays upright bass with Asheville dance band 'Swing Away',
featuring sweet vocals and swingin' fiddle.
In 1989 she founded the Asheville Contradance, a monthly Saturday night dance at
the Jewish Community Center of Asheville. In 1990 she hosted the first Asheville
Summer Soiree, a June contradance weekend in East Asheville. Both dance
productions continue, and enjoy an enthusiastic following although Laurie
retired from full time dance production in 2001. She teaches contradance,
waltz-and-other-easy-couples-dances, and has developed a class 'Dancing on the
Right Side of the Brain' to teach all dancers the mysteries of effortless and
joyful dancing/partnering. Laurie also calls for Appalachian Big Circle and
traditional 'barn' dances for camps, weddings, reunions and retreats. She is one
of the best callers for getting non-or reluctant dancers moving and cheering
whatever their age.
In 2003, Laurie started impersonating a second violinist and continues to
perform with the Asheville based Blue Ridge Orchestra, St. Matthias Concert
Series, and Jubilee Summer Orchestra. She can never get her fiddle bow in
synch with the other players, but continues to soldier on playing in awkward
'non-fiddle' keys and positions and working on vibrato and reading all those
dots and Italian words.
Laurie teaches music, mostly fiddle, piano and guitar, plus the occasional
clawhammer banjo, voice, pennywhistle or bodhran students, primarily at the
oh-so-sweet Acoustic Corner in Black Mountain, NC. New players look
forward to her facilitated jam sessions/workshops where beginners are easily
assimilated and directed.
For vacation, Laurie enjoys attending Ashokan Western & Swing Week, hosted
by some of her heroes, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. . . she hopes to become
a tolerable swing fiddler one day.
Laurie is experienced at a wide variety of crafts, from hair braiding to
blacksmithing. The list is much too long to put here - - but she is
a terrible cook, very bad at math and drives too fast! She has been known to
tell offensive jokes, sleep all morning, and turn rude people into toads. Rumor
has it that she seeks advice from the voices in her head and other channeled
entities. It is well known she regularly stays up too late.
COMMENTS ABOUT LAURIE AND
HER BANDS AND RECORDINGS THRU THE YEARS:
"I have been dancing to
contra music since 1979. Of all the fiddlers I've heard I believe Laurie Fisher
is one of the best contra dance musician in the southeast. There have been many
times when I've been dancing and thought ‘man she’s good.’ Over the years
she has accumulated a vast repertoire of contra dance tunes and all ways plays
them with the dancer in mind. It was her love of dance that made her pick up the
fiddle. Also let’s not forget her waltz music. The best Sunday morning
waltzing at Knoxville has been played by Laurie Fisher. I look forward to hear
Laurie grow and explore new dance music while always keeping the dancer in
Roger, Atlanta Dance
“We have used Laurie and her band here at Camp Pinnacle for the past 8 years.
Her fast paced, high energy, everyone involved program is one of our camper and
staff’s favorite evening programs. It is the one program that campers schedule
their term around in order to be here. As other “special” programs have
priced themselves out of reach, Laurie would still be worth it to us at twice
the price. The one evening program every girl’s camp should have.”
"Lessons are fun and I look forward to them. My other teacher taught
me how to play the notes, but Miss Laurie teaches me how to play music."
Zach, 10 year old fiddle student
"Laurie took my adult need for perfection and my performance anxiety and
turned them into a wolf whistle and a new passion for the fiddle!"
Doc B, age 57
"Dear Miss Laurie, The reviews and thanks are in. Each of the cds
I gave away went to dancers who are busily wearing them out in cd players,
literally across the world. From the tone of the responses, you
would think I had given out something like a naughty adult toy!
Maybe one day I will get a waltz with you (you danced with my wife once and she
wont let me forget that I haven't gotten a dance yet!) "
BBB, dancer from Chapel Hill, NC
. . . also from BBB:
"In the past month, 'Late for the Dance' has been a constant source of joy
to me, its literally been a life saver for me. I cannot find words
to describe the hope, comfort and joy your music opened for me during a very
traumatic period. My 11 year old hyperactive son who generally cannot
stand my taste in music, literally vibrates in time to the music on 'Late for
"Dear String Beings, . . . The music and your enthusiasm made
me want to dance on and on. I'm listening to your cd right now and find
myself dancing across the kitchen floor!"
ML, dancer from Boston, MA
"I thoroughly enjoyed your waltz workshop Sat. afternoon. Finally,
someone taught what dance is really about--movement of the soul! It was
very effective and I got totally lost in the waltz for the first time ever. . .
I felt so clear-headed afterward."
MR, after Gypsy Meltdown
"We enjoyed all of the Beings soo, soo much! You are all such
wonderful Human Beings. We just love you!"
CT, dance organizer from Arden, DE
"Dancing to the String
Beings is like . . . you know . . well . . . it reminds me of multiple orgasms .
. . there's a big thrill . . . and you know there will be more."
RR, dancer from Asheville, NC
"When I listen to their tape in my car it makes me drive too fast."
"I listen to their CD at my house and just have to stop what I'm
doing and spin around."
AA, Boone, NC dancer
" You should tell people they shouldn't listen to your cd while
"The other band was great, buy you guys gave me goose bumps! And there's
only three of you!" LC, caller's wife "Your tape was one of the
three I took to the hospital to have my baby."
BP, dance mother
"You guys . . . you're
just so . . so . . you . . you just know what to do!"
unknown dancer from Raleigh, NC
"I got a $140.00 speeding ticket because of your tape!" K,
time I really like the music I look up at the stage and Laurie's in the
Dr. F, dance gypsy
. . . and last but not least:
"Dear Laurie, I must tell you how much I enjoy listening to 'The
Sweetheart Tree'. It seems I enjoy it more each time I hear it. It
lifts the spirit. I spoke with Auntie Therese yesterday and told her I was
house cleaning and listening to your tape, she said she was cleaning and
listening to your tape also. God certainly gave you great talent. . . I'm
glad you use your talent to make people happy."
May God Bless You, With love, Mom