This year’s contra dance features caller Jim Hemphill from Arcadia, Missouri and innovative trio, Baba Yaga’s Stew.
Baba Yaga’s Stew has tunes boiling and bubbling from all over the world! Their music arrangements are custom crafted to spin you down the contra dance floor. These ladies are veterans of the contra dance world, and the Chicago and Indianapolis’ music scene; they will leave you cackling for more! Here they are at the Sugar Hill dance weekend.
A bit more about two members of the group:
Lucia Thomas, violinist/multi-instrumentalist, grew up skipping between Irish pub sessions and orchestra halls, sinking ever further into the joy and passion within her wooden friend. After classical music school, she narrowly escaped a life of symphonic martyrdom by hopping atop a bicycle bound for the land of blood and honey- the Balkans! Her insatiable curiosity led her into many a jam, dance, and stage, playing with musicians from Germany, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, and more. She has returned to Chicago and continues to play and collaborate with musicians from all over the world. Lucia seeks to build bridges across communities through music, dance and song, bringing people together in celebration and appreciation of music, culture and diversity.
Dianna Davis began her career as a classical pianist and clarinetist but has since expanded into styles such as folk, Eastern European, jazz, and improvisation. After experiencing a gypsy band thrill an audience and move them to dance wildly to music, she knew that that’s the kind of music she wanted to play. An Indiana Arts Commission Grant winner, Dianna received her Masters of Music in music performance from Indiana University. She has since then studied music all over the United States and abroad to expand her world music repertoire including Macedonia, Ireland, and multiple gypsy jazz and accordion camps in the states.