Wild Asparagus is the iconic contra dance band. For over 20 years this band, Wild Asparagus, has been touring and entertaining nationwide as well as in England and Canada. Originating in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont, Wild Aspragus became one of the premier performers of New England’s traditional dance- contra dancing. It draws heavily on the rich Irish repertoire interspersed with music from Canada, Brittany, south Africa and the Caribbean. Add to this, original tunes and songs, deep bass rhythms, the beat of the bodhran( the Irish drum), sax, piano or guitar riffs, and you’ve got a truly rockin’ band. Anni D’Franco summed it up at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in upstate N.Y. a few years ago.” Youse guys kick butt”, she said.
George Marshall – In the mid 70’s when George first heard this music being played by one of his college schoolmates, he rushed to find the source of the sound and announced that he was going to form a band and play this music. Then he had to pick an instrument. His unlikely choices were concertina and the Irish drum, the bodhran. Since then, George has been devoted to these instruments and to developing the art of calling the dances.
Ann Percival- Artist, musician, visionary. Ann used to spend time with her Norwegian grandparents including trips to the local Sons of Norway hall where everyone danced to and played traditional music. Ann learned to swing dance from her mom, and she was on stage singing show tunes at the Gloria Rosetti school of the dance starting at the age of 4. Ever since then music has played a big role in her life. (Even while she completed her double major in ceramics and social work she also sang in a bluegrass band and learned how to back up dance tunes on the piano .) Ann remains our main vocalist as well as playing guitar and piano.
David Cantieni - Meet David Cantieni: Primarily playing Irish style wooden flute, he has been making people dance to his music for more than two decades. David switched to playing traditional music from Bach and Stravinsky on oboe (music which he still adores) after developing a passion for the traditional New England dance- contra dancing. The love of music and dance infuses all of David’s many activities which might include performing with the well known bands Swallowtail and Wild Asparagus or leading a parade of costumed campers at family dance camps.
Becky Tracy-You could say New England traditional music is in her blood. Simsbury, Connecticut was Becky’s home. And while she was growing up and learning to play the violin, she backed up her father’s calling for contra and square dances. Even while she was teaching math in southern Connecticut, she continued to play. Becky has been with Wild Asparagus now since 1984. She lives in Brattleboro, Vermont also playing with another well known band, Nightingale.