We are three fiddlers from three very different backgrounds – Danish, American, and Native American – who love to play together. Jamie’s Métis tradition, evolved from the melding of French Canadian, Irish and Native American music, has a Celtic flavor with a hint of Native American drumming. Kristian’s Danish tradition combines bright Nordic melodies with a powerful rhythm and lively fiddle seconding. Ruthie’s old-time American style is syncopated and bluesy. We like to show how each culture brings its own voice to the fiddle. But sometimes we just combine our styles and see what happens!
Our performances feature the fiddle at its purest – unaccompanied – in each of our solo sets. Together, we play in duets and trios, using fiddles and sometimes foot percussion for accompaniment. We also feature a few tunes on the 5-string medieval fiddle (“vielle”). Most of our music is traditional, but we have some distinctive originals as well.
Jamie Fox is one of the most coveted and well-known young players of the Metis fiddle music, a tradition crossing and bringing together Celtic, French, and Native American music cultures.
When Jamie was five she used to go around and make like she was a fiddle player. A fiddle came to her that Christmas. The Michif tradition of fiddle playing on the Fort Belknap Reservation was on its last legs just as Jamie fell in love with the tunes. Old Fatty Morin was still around, and the Doney Brothers were still playing, but that was about it. Jamie, through their love of the Michif tunes, brought a new healing to an old discord between cultural sectors of the tribal society. As word got out, others on the reservation and along the Montana Hi-Line were incredibly enthused to see youngsters taking on a music that was in jeopardy of vanishing.
Jamie has been fortunate to play with master traditional Métis fiddlers Jimmie LaRocque and Mike Page of the Turtle Mountain reservation, Johnny Arcand of Saskatoon, and Fatty Morin in Montana. Additionally, she has been mentored by Métis elder Al Wiseman of Choteau, an archivist of Michif fiddle tunes. Jamie was brought into the fold of contemporary fiddle performance through family friendships with nationally renowned pianist Philip Aaberg and fiddler Darol Anger, both of whom have nurtured her talent. Although having expanded musical interests, and learning numerous tunes and styles from many traditions, her experience with elder Métis fiddlers is exceptional and singular. Those old-style, traditional-lineage players firmly root Jamie in the Métis tradition that reaches deep into the 19th century. Coming from within the tradition herself, she represents the continuance of this generation, maintaining a style and repertoire that dates back to the fur trade era of the 17th century and the first generation of European and Aboriginal mixing in the upper reaches of the North American continent.
(Nicholas Vrooman, Helena Indian Alliance)
Kristian Bugge is one of the busiest folk musicians rooted in Danish music. Born in Næstved, Denmark, his family lived in Sweden for two years and then settled in Vejle in Eastern Jutland, Denmark. He attended a Rudolf Steiner School where, when asked in the fifth grade which instrument he would like, he chose the violin. Soon the two of them were inseparable. His mother, Lise, found a local music school offering ensemble playing for young people and that was where Kristian first met traditional music. He was fascinated by the catchy tunes, the close connection between music and dancing, and the spontaneous joy of playing among other young musicians – an experience which was to decide the direction of his musical career. He experienced music as a means of communication unhindered by national or cultural borders while travelling with the youth ensemble Fandango.
After graduation, Kristian studied at Raduga Art College in Moscow where he was taught by Mikhail Tsinman, first violinist of the Bolshoi Theatre. In 2000, he studied at Malung Folk High School, Sweden, were he received lessons in traditional dance from Ami Petterson followed by fiddle classes with the distinguished Swedish fiddler Kalle Almlöf. It was an inspiring year which again confirmed his love of traditional music. He spent the Spring of 2001 in beautiful Stockholm, Sweden and later that year he was admitted to the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense, Denmark as a major in folk music.
Since then Kristian has met with many young European musicians, including the members of the English/Finnish/Danish band Baltic Crossing, featured in the recording of Kristian´s debut album. In 2004 Kristian Bugge became the first musician ever to receive the Radium Award, awarded by the team behind the music programme Radium, which at that time was broadcast every evening by Danish Radio´s P2.
The CD was nominated in four categories at The Danish Music Awards – Folk 2006. Kristian received awards that year for “Danish debut of the year” and “Danish Folk Instrumentalist of the year.“ That was the beginning of an impressive series of awards he’s received both as a soloist and in ensembles, including ”Danish Folk Artist of the Year” at the Danish Music Awards 2011 (Danish Grammys) and “Danish Folk Musician of the Year” at the Danish Music Awards 2016.
Kristian is very active in the Danish, Scandinavian and North American folk music scenes, both as performer and teacher, specializing in the strong Danish folk music traditions in his groups Jensen & Bugge, Kings of Polka and Gangspil. For about 10 years he played in a duo with the legendary late accordionist, Karl Skaarup. Kristian has a strong love for traditional music but also really enjoys experimenting in crossover projects, such as his work with classical percussionist Ronni Kot Wenzel in the duo Wenzell & Bugge, and in the exciting Danish folk big band Habadekuk.
Ruthie Dornfeld’s big tone, fierce rhythm and fluid style, along with a wildly eclectic repertoire, have won her popularity among dancers and concert audiences alike. Fluent in a wide range of traditional styles (Irish, American old-time, Scandinavian and Eastern European, for starters), she has performed and taught for over forty years throughout the U.S. and abroad, from the Manaus Operahouse in the Brazilian Amazon to the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland.
Ruthie started out learning classical violin on an instrument handed down from her German-American grandfather, in Corvallis, Oregon. It wasn’t until she was 18 that she discovered and shortly thereafter plunged into the world of fiddle music. This began with Balkan music played for international folk dancers, then continued with old-time American, Irish, Cape Breton, Quebecois, and Hungarian.
Meeting and trading tunes with other West Coast musicians, she then traveled to Ireland and spent half a year there soaking up the music. Eventually Ruthie landed in New England and stayed there for 15 years, as she became a mainstay fiddler in the thriving contra dance scene, studied jazz at Berklee College of Music, played in the stringband The Poodles, and founded The American Cafe Orchestra with Danish guitarist Morten Alfred Høirup. The American Café Orchestra was a Scandinavian and American collaboration, cross fertilized by players from Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway; they toured for a decade and recorded 4 albums. In 1996 Ruthie returned to the Pacific Northwest and has been in Seattle ever since.
Currently, besides 3Fiddles 3Traditions, Ruthie is a member of the tango band Tangoheart and the original music trio Rare Birds. In addition to the modern violin, Ruthie also plays the medieval fiddle (vielle). Her compositions for vielle are featured in her recording, “Lay of the Waves,” for which she received grants from Artist Trust and the Jack Straw Foundation.
More info at www.ruthiedornfeld.com