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Fiddle tune family band: Contranella

Contranella plays fiddle tunes: lively tunes crafted and played with dancing in mind: reels, jigs, waltzes, breakdowns, Celtic tunes, Quebecois tunes, southern old-time, New England, traditional, modern -- all the music found at contemporary contradances. The band features Megan Beller on fiddle, her father John Wobus on piano, and her husband Charley Beller on percussion, banjo, and mandolin.

Contranella will be performing as part of the Folkus Project concert series at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5 at May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church, 3800 East Genesee St., Syracuse. Doors open at 7:30 and refreshments will be available. Admission is $10.

Megan Beller, originally from Manlius, first picked up fiddle from her father, John. She began playing contradances while in high school, went on to Eastman School of Music, and now performs and teaches fiddle and violin in the Rochester area. Megan also plays fiddle with the Twelve Corners Klezmer Band, which has performed throughout New York State, including the Syracuse Jewish Music & Cultural Festival.

John Wobus, of Manlius, has played fiddle and other folk instruments for the sheer fun of it since his college days, and has been accompanying fiddlers on the piano as well. John also plays piano for the contradance bands Hearts Delight and Rosie's Ready Mix.

Charley Beller provides percussion for the band, on djembe, congas, and other drums and percussion. Charley has been involved with music his whole life and is an avid old-time banjo player. Outside music, Charley performs with Rochester's Geva Comedy Improv troupe. Megan and Charley also played with the contradance band Turtle United, which released a CD in 2004.

Fiddle music is dance music, and Contranella has honed its style playing for dances, using traditional, contemporary, and many original tunes. Contranella has been performing over a decade, throughout New York as well as at the New England Folk Festival, and at contradances in Toronto, Ohio, and Indiana.

Contranella's new CD, "Contranella," released November 2006, features a number of Megan's and John's tunes as well as traditional tunes from Quebec, Ireland, New England, and the south.

For reservations to this Friday's concert, email tickets@folkus.org or call 440-7444.

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