Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards coming to Annapolis Royal

Crossing boundaries from folk to pop, and jazz

Published on July 15, 2014

Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards are coming to Annapolis Royal later this month.


Propelled by inspired fiddle and cello playing, warm vocals, and arresting original songs, Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards have emerged as one of the most intriguing, versatile, and entertaining artists on the scene today.

Local audiences will have a chance to see the group perform at Kings Theatre in Annapolis Royal on July 25 at 7:30 p.m.

“Laura Cortese is one of the most “in-demand” fiddlers/violinists in the Boston area, I’m just delighted to get her and the Dance Cards to perform at King’s Theatre” says (King’s Theatre) manager, Geoff Keymer. “Although it wasn’t without its challenges, Laura has a very busy schedule she will be in Yellow Knife just before coming to Kings. We had to find her a couple more performance dates in the area before she could come to Nova Scotia. Well thankfully everything fell into place.”

“Laura with her Dance Cards is one of those unique artists that crosses boundaries and moves effortlessly from folk to pop to jazz, all with elegance and style,” continues Keymer. “The two violins (or sometimes one violin and one viola) and cello make for a wonderful background for the layered three part vocals. Just when you thought you have them figured out they blast into a frenzy of Celtic fiddling with jazz overtones. This will be one show in a million, an evening to remember.”

Cortese has a vision for her band's sound: bold and elegant, schooled in the lyrical rituals of folk music and backed by grooves that alternately inspire Cajun two-stepping and rock-n-roll hip swagger. It's appropriate then that the trio, featuring Cortese, call themselves Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards.

Since appearing on Cortese's most recent album, Into the Dark (2013), Valerie Thompson (cello/vox) and Mariel Vandersteel (fiddle/hardingfele/vox) have paired their sophisticated string arrangements and rich vocal harmonies to Cortese's poignant and powerful singing. Seeing the trio on stage, you get the sense that they might snap some fiddle strings or punch a hole in the bass drum. This is post-folk that seriously rocks.

True to their adventurous spirit and wide-ranging influences, the group was recently selected from a pool of 400 bands to tour with the US State Department's American Music Abroad program. From January 22 thru March 3, they set off to India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Bangladesh to perform and teach as artist ambassadors. Such a mission was perfect for this trio, whose music communicates the depth and soul of American roots music, using their own uniquely modern voices.

 "Technically brilliant yet warmhearted fiddling - sprinkled with urbane splashes off cool jazz and hot pop." Boston Globe

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