Without trying to sound overly dramatic, I could say that meeting Michael Ismerio was a moment that changed my destiny and brought me here to Brasstown. In 2008, my pal invited me to go to a square dance that was happening at an art gallery in Los Angeles. Michael called the dance and Triple Chicken Foot played. I hadn’t square danced since childhood and didn’t know what Old Time music was, but by the evening’s end, I was hooked! Michael’s charisma and teaching style, along with the rip roaring tunes of the band won me over. I saw how the dancing and music could bring all types of people together in a personal way. Because of that night, I became a square dance die-hard, eventually learning to call. I met Bob Dalsemer at Dare to Be Square West in Seattle and that’s how I found out about the Folk School. But enough about me, let’s find our more about Michael…
Michael Ismerio has dedicated his still young life to learning, performing, and calling square dances to traditional Appalachian music. After growing up in California, he moved to Portland, Oregon, home to a vibrant old time music and dance community. Becoming ever more immersed in Appalachian music, he finally made the move to Asheville, NC where he performs, calls dances and teaches fiddle. Michael teaching at the Folk School on March 3-9, 2013. His class, “Beginning Appalachian Old Time Fiddle” will focus on a unique teaching style that involves teaching bowing first and melody second as well as singing the bowing:
“Experience the exciting rhythms, pulses, and drones that give Southern Appalachian old-time fiddling its distinctive sound. We’ll focus heavily on your bowing hand to get your muscle memory used to playing the rhythms, while giving your brain a chance to internalize the melody. All learning will be by ear. This class is geared to beginners, but is open to all fiddlers and violin players who want to learn the distinctive Appalachian old-time style.”
The class is appropriate for Level 1 (Beginning) & 2 (Continuing). It would be an especially great class for those interested in learning about Old Time fiddle bowing. Register for Michael’s class on the Folk School website.
You can see a sample of his teaching technique in a video series on his website called “Michael Ismerio’s Very Short Fiddle Lessons.”
Here is Michael teaching the tune Doodlebug:
In addition to teaching fiddle, Michael is also going to play the Friday night concert (March 8) and call a Saturday Night Square Dance (March 2) with Chompin’ at the Bit Stringband, (featuring Brasstown’s own Lindsey Liden on fiddle). Here is a taste of Michael’s calling:
Don’t miss this incredible teacher, musician and caller! For more information about Michael, visit his very handsome website (which I might call one of my favorite websites of all time): www.michaelismerio.com.
Cory Marie Podielski is a freelance graphic designer, photographer, and writer for the John C. Campbell Folk School. She has been writing for the Folk School Blog since 2012 and enjoys interviewing artists, musicians, and craftspeople. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the banjo, dancing, printmaking, playing in clay, and assisting in Folk School bread baking classes. podielski.com