nordic fiddlers bloc

And suddenly it’s October. Among other things – pumpkin patches, Yom Kippur, the World Series, Halloween – that means we’re two days from First Thursday, Portland’s monthly gallery hop of new shows. This week’s visual art calendar is a doozy, from open studios to Warhol with lots between.

A few of the highlights:

James Lavadour Ruby II, 2016 oil on panel 32" x 48"

James Lavadour, “Ruby II,” 2016, oil on panel, 32″ x 48.” PDX Contemporary.

James Lavadour at PDX Contemporary. It’s always a good day when new work by Lavadour, the veteran landscape expressionist from Pendleton, comes to town. This show, called Ledger of Days, furthers his exploration of the land and its mysteries. “A painting is a structure for the extraordinary and informative events of nature that are otherwise invisible,” he writes. “A painting is a model for infinity.” Lavadour is also one of the moving forces behind Pendleton’s innovative and essential Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year. Watch for what’s coming up.

The new Russo Lee Gallery: 30 years. What you’ve known for years as Laura Russo Gallery is celebrating three decades with a showing of new work by its distinguished stable of artists – and with a new name. The name is a fusion of the gallery’s long tradition and current reality. After founder Laura Russo died in 2010, her longtime employee Martha Lee bought the business and continues to operate it. This show promises to be a statement of sorts, and will have a catalog available.


Nordic Fiddlers Bloc preview: Dancing with the devil

Dark spirits and mythical creatures from Shetland and Scandinavia animate the music of renowned traditional fiddle trio


It is a testament to the resilience of folk music, and the irrepressible need to boogie, that folk fiddling has survived centuries-long suppression by organized religion. In northern Europe’s dark winter worlds of centuries past—where the most invigorating times of the day were the treks out to the barn to do the milking or to mend tattered fishing nets—the need to move the body, to clasp warm hands and wrap an arm around an unfamiliar waist must have been overwhelming.

Of course any kind of sensuality, especially the kind that involves spiritual transport — have you ever lost yourself in the smooth, mechanical swirl of a well danced contra? — has been a target of church edicts for centuries, with the fiddle the corrupting tool that must be restrained, reviled, or repressed. God forbid the folk to ease their woes: the stress of family, the shame of lust, the dark tutoring of loneliness. If any one of these ills is left without a temporary cure, social disease is sure to follow.

Nordic Fiddlers Bloc performs October 7 at Portland's Nordic House.

Nordic Fiddlers Bloc performs October 7 at Portland’s Nordic House.

But have no fear, the Nordic Fiddlers Bloc (NFC) will surely ease those tensions and free the constricted spirit. Halloween may be weeks away but the horned god will be at Portland’s Nordia House on Oct. 7 in the form of three talented (and handsome) fiddlers who are touring in support of their long awaited 2016 release, Deliverance. The concert promises to be an enthralling journey into the sonic landscape of Nordic fiddle music. The beauty of the newly constructed Nordia Hall, the warmth and openness of its great room, and its intimate forested surroundings will surely transport the listener to the mythical lands of high seas, cruel winds, deep forests, dark nights, and dang good dancing.


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