“Joyful and sophisticated”
— Dáithí Sproule, Altan
Brass Lassie - short Bio
Scottish and Irish Music Enlivened by Uncommon Instrumentation, Top-Notch Arrangements and Remarkable Musicianship
BRASS LASSIE, a bold new band based in the Twin Cities of St. Paul/Minneapolis, combines traditional tunes, songs and style with dazzling modern horn lines, sparking their own genre of eclectic, remarkable music. 10-member strong, the ensemble performs extraordinary takes on Scottish, Irish and French music, traditional and new, featuring a powerful 4-piece horn section, a terrific rhythm section, fine fiddles, flutes, pipes, vocals and some fabulous step dancing. Smart, joyous horn arrangements by top notch jazz arranger Peter Enblom, plus some great band arrangements from Dr. David Milne.
Some notable recent performances have been at McNally Smith concert Hall, The Celtic Junction Arts Center (St. Paul, MN), The Irish Fair of Minnesota, The Rock Bend Folk Festival, The International Vintage Band Festival and a major stage at the Minnesota State Fair.
BRASS LASSIE released their debut studio album September 2018.
BRASS LASSIE's members come from a broad world of expertise and experience: Traditional music, big bands, show bands, jazz, orchestral, step-dance, world music.
BRASS LASSIE is:
Laura MacKenzie - wooden flutes, whistles, concertina, pipes, vocals; founder
Mary Vanorny - fiddle
Danielle Enblom - fiddle, step dance
Patrice Pakiz - piano, oboe
Kate DeVoe - trumpet, flugelhorn
Tricia Lerohl - French horn
Lauren Husting - trombone
Brooklynne Audette - bass trombone
Marc Anderson - percussion
Enrique Toussaint - bass
In addition to concert hall and festival performances, BRASS LASSIE offers presentations and workshops for schools, colleges and festivals on traditional "Celtic" music, Irish and Scottish music, step dance and percussive dance, traditional styles and instrumental techniques, brass ensemble playing and arranging.
FOR LONGER BIO: See Downloadable Files above.
BRASS LASSIE's extraordinary repertoire, enriched with brass, fiddles, flutes, pipes, vocals, dance steps, classic and ethnic percussion, bass and piano, includes....
--Modern and traditional Irish reels, jigs, hornpipes
--Scottish and French Canadian tunes
--Ancient Irish airs featuring brass
--Cape Breton dance tunes and puirt à beul (mouth music)
--New arrangements of Scots Gaelic waulking songs
--Music from Brittany and Central France
--Scots and Scottish Gaelic ballads
--Latin-infused Celtic dance tunes
A notable feature of BRASS LASSIE's music is the loving treatment of the tunes and songs. Without being dissected or transformed, the melodies are set to shine through the arrangements. In a fan's words,"To have horns on traditional tunes was an unexpected and dynamic change that did not lose the songs or tunes in the transition but actually brought them forward."
Public Radio Features
BRASS LASSIE on Minnesota Public Radio
"With Brass Lassie, MacKenzie brings muscle to her music..." -- Interview with Euan Kerr, MPR arts reporter
BRASS LASSIE on PRX/KBEM Jazz88
"Flutist, piper, concertinist and singer Laura MacKenzie has added horns to the mix, giving Brass Lassie a jazzy feel..." -- Interview with Phil Nusbaum
Praise for Brass Lassie
"Pioneering Celtic Fusion" --Phil Nusbaum, KBEM Jazz88
"The joyful and sophisticated sounds of Brass Lassie fully achieve what in my experience is a very rare feat of genre-blending - combining traditional Irish, Scottish and French music played and sung by a brilliant frontline with authoritative and tasteful jazz and rock influenced arrangements from a great full horn section and some fabulous drums and bass. I enjoy every minute of their music!" -- Dáithí Sproule, of the Irish super-group Altan
"With Brass Lassie, Laura MacKenzie brings muscle to her music." -- Euan Kerr, MPR news
“Brass Lassie takes a solid rhythm section, a group of stellar Celtic musicians on strings, woodwinds and a variety of instruments, adds a big BOLD horn section. The result, thanks to superior playing and fresh arrangements, is absolutely infectious. It isn’t watered down Irish and Scots music; it isn’t big band. It’s a driving fusion of Celtic and soul music, with a touch of jazz that is unique. It astonishes me, makes me laugh, it makes me want to dance, and most of all it makes me want to hear MORE Brass Lassie.” -- Dan Pinkerton, Minneapolis playwright & lyricist
FOR MORE QUOTES: See Downloadable Files above.