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Evie Laden — Evil Diane

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Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014 1:00 pm

The polyrhythmic heat of Evie Ladin’s clawhammer banjo, resonant voice, real stories and rhythmic dance have been heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Celtic Connections, Lincoln Center to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

Known as a driving force behind San Francisco’s Stairwell Sisters, Evie’s solo debut Float Downstream (2010), co-produced by Mike Marshall and Keith Terry, was quickly followed by Evie Ladin Band (2012), which won Americana Album of the Year by the Independent Music Awards Vox Pop Vote.

On Saturday, Sept. 6, she brings all that and more to Bluegrass at the Lake with the Evie Ladin Band, aka Evil Diane, accompanied by Keith Terry (on bass, body music, vocals) and Erik Pearson (guitar, banjo, vocals).

Tenacious, innovative string musicians/dancers with a quirky neo-trad soul, the ELB throws down soulful folk songs with an unusual live show. Their 2012 eponymous release Evie Ladin Band won Americana Album of the Year from the Independent Music Awards Vox Pop Vote. 

“You don’t often hear words like ‘traditional,’ and ‘authentic’ paired with ‘innovative’ and ‘unique,’ but Evie Ladin & Keith Terry have brought them together brilliantly in the self-titled, debut album of the Evie Ladin Band, and the result is truly a high point in new old-time music.” — Folkworks

Keith Terry

Keith Terry  (bass, body music, vocals) is a renowned percussionist/rhythm dancer, and the founder of the International Body Music Festival . A pioneer in contemporary body music, Keith produces large-scale intercultural collaborations and educational outreach. Keith brings a cinematic ear to playing bass as tonal percussion, with bells, box, body and toys. 

Erik Pearson

Erik Pearson  (guitar, banjo, vocals) is a musician’s musician with the Crooked Jades, storyteller Diane Ferlatte, and his solo projects. His original banjo tune Fork & File was the soundtrack for a rapids rafting scene in Sean Penn’s movie Into the Wild.

Evie Ladin

Evie Ladin grew up with traditional American music and dance, clogging, step dancing and playing clawhammer banjo at music festivals all over the East Coast. Her childhood home was a hostel for musicians and dancers traveling through the New York/New Jersey area during the Folk Revival of the early 1970’s, and much of her training was informal, through constant contact with traditional artists. It was not unusual to travel to a weekend party or festival in North Carolina, sleeping in the corner at a square dance or jam session. Evie’s dad is an avid music-appreciator and her mom was an International Folk Dance instructor. From an early age Evie performed with her sister Abby, dancing clogging duets and singing country harmonies.

An athlete in high school, Evie studied dance, choreography and anthropology at Brown University. After graduation she pursued a Fulbright Fellowship, studying music and dance among several groups in Eastern Nigeria. She found in her African studies a parallel to the old-time folk culture, where music and dance are an integral part of social communication. That experience continues to inform her educational work with the roots of American music and dance, as well as musical collaborations with other performers of music of the African Diaspora.

On her return from Nigeria, Evie studied tap and jazz dance in New York, before moving to Bloomington, IN. While based in the Midwest, Evie toured nationally with the music and dance ensemble Rhythm In Shoes of Dayton, OH. Her eight years with the company was her professional training, performing and teaching rhythm tap dance, clogging, step dancing, and body percussion, as well as choreographing for the company. Evie has appeared in countless prestigious concert halls and at festivals throughout the country.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Evie appears as a versatile dancer, musician, vocalist, songwriter and square dance caller. She regularly performs in venues ranging from fine arts theaters, epic outdoor festivals and rowdy bars to school auditoriums, libraries and dance halls.

Evie has produced a popular DVD “Buckdancing for Beginners: The Basics of Southern Appalachian Flatfoot Clogging” (2002) on Crosspulse Media. The Instructional Video features live music by Suzy’s Floozies (Suzy Thompson, Maxine Gerber and Kate Brislin) and a room full of dancers. The video is designed to teach not only steps, but how to dance to old-time music.

Solo, Evie is a much sought after performer and instructor in percussive dance and banjo. She choreographs for choirs, theatre and school residencies. In 2005, Evie started organizing and calling rowdy, popular Square Dances in the Bay Area. Inspired largely by the plentiful, driving old-time bands erupting in the scene, Evie wanted folks to experience the joy of dancing to the music in easily-followed, accessible ways, while giving the musicians leeway to play however they like. She is embedded in the Bay Area old-time music and dance scene, reaching thousands of fans, kids and music lovers annually.

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