Fiddle

Though Sarah Riskind was classically trained in violin and often plays in synagogue, church, and choral contexts, her primary focus is now traditional Irish music, with a secondary exploration of other fiddle styles such as New England contra, Scottish, and others. She has been studying with Vermont-based fiddler Becky Tracy since 2020. In addition to traditional music, Sarah composes original tunes and is currently planning an album that will feature them with accompaniment by many of her local collaborators. 

Turas

Sarah joined Turas in January 2023, a traditional Irish band based in Peoria, Illinois. Turas translates to “journey” in Irish, and the band plays a mixture of instrumental dance tunes (such as jigs, reels, and polkas) and songs, occasionally branching out with a Scottish or Old Time selection. The other band members include Jeff Calhoun (lead vocals, banjo, mandolin, guitar), Mike Bergstrom (bouzouki, guitar), AnneMarie Brinton (lead vocals, guitar), Lauri Gannon (tin whistle, accordion, bodhran), and Rose Fahey Wright (Irish flute, tin whistle, harmony vocals). 

Turas performs around 25-30 times a year, mainly in central Illinois but occasionally in the Quad Cities, Chicago, and other locales. Some highlights include the Krannert Uncorked series in Champaign-Urbana, the Peoria Contemporary Arts Center, and the annual Erin Feis/Peoria Irish Fest in late August, which brings in world-class musicians in a three-day celebration of Irish music and culture. In April 2024, Sarah brought Turas to Eureka College to play a joint concert with the Eureka College Chorale, Chamber Singers, and Chamber Ensemble.

Peoria Irish Session

Turas also leads a monthly Irish Session (second Thursdays) at Kelleher’s Pub on the Peoria Riverfront, which brings together local and visiting musicians of many levels of experience to play Irish tunes. The Peoria Irish Session Facebook Group is the best place to watch for updates; there are also typically several tables of listeners and beer-drinkers at each session!

A Metropolitan Guide

Sarah’s partner Brian J. N. Davis is a folk /folk rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pianist who publishes music under the name A Metropolitan Guide. Sarah’s fiddle and vocal harmonies are heavily featured on Brian’s latest album, The One That Isn’t Burned. Brian publishes a weekly Substack called Diary of a Failed Musician in which he explores the creative process, with its ups and downs, and unpacks the music of some of his favorite artists as well as his own songs. His novel The Grand Revolution of Lakeside and his video game memoir A Link to the Past: Stories of Growing up Gamer are available on Amazon

 

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