Welcome to the Contra Pulse Project, a series of interviews with contra musicians about contra music.

As you walk up the steps to the dance hall, you can already hear the strains of the piano and fiddle slipping out into the night. Then you open the doors; see the roomful of dancers and hear that glorious music in full – propelling everyone on the dance floor. It’s uplifting, it’s energetic, it’s fun, it makes us move, it brings us together.

Where does contra music come from? Why does it sound the way it does? How has it changed over time? In this project, we will be attempting to take the pulse of contra music today through a series of conversations between host Julie Vallimont and prominent contra musicians from all corners.  Join us in this journey through music, dance, time, space, and community.

Episode 1: Dudley Laufman

Julie interviews Dudley at Maine Fiddle Camp - filled with classic stories from Dudley's long career as both a contra dance caller and musician. Diving into what makes the perfect contra dance band sound, tune. And medleys? Who needs 'em.

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Episode 2: Charlie Pilzer – Part 1

Julie interviews Charlie Pilzer at the NEFFA, the New England Folk Festival, in 2019. They talk about this history of the contra dance scene, Charlie's diverse musical experience, and even dive into some music theory on what makes a great contra dance tune!

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