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World: Celtic Moods: Mood: Fun Moods: Instrumental Folk: Celtic Folk Folk: Irish Traditional

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Ensemble Toss the Feathers

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Ensemble Toss the Feathers was founded in 2006 by longtime friends/playing buddies Valerie Loomer and Tina Chancey; they were joined by Dimitri Boekhoorn in 2011. The group has performed at festivals and concert series throughout France, and its interpretation of irish and Scottish music on early instruments has won praise from audiences and reviewers alike. For more information, please visit our website.

DIMITRI BOEKHOORN (early harps, Irish whistles), a former teacher at the University of Rennes 2, is Dutch and has a cooperative PhD from the University College of Cork and the University of Rennes 2 in Celtic Studies with a thesis on the Celtic bestiary. Dimitri is principally self-taught, plucking the wire-strung harps with his nails like the medieval Gaelic harpers, which results in a unique playing technique, creating a light, rapid and ornamented style. His repertoire includes music from the Celtic countries and early music as well as his own compositions. A featured artist at the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival; at Celtic Harp Festivals in Edinburgh, Dinan, Porto and Vevey; at Folkwoods; at the Largentière Medieval Music Festival and with the renowned Galician musician Carlos Núñez, Dimitri also performs as a soloist on both modern and early harps. He collaborates frequently with traditional and early music ensembles such as the medieval group Amadis (recorded by France Musique). Dimitri performs throughout Europe and lives in Brittany.

TINA CHANCEY (viola da gamba, early violin) studied at Oberlin College, received an M.A. in viol from Queens College, an M.A. in Musicology from New York University, and a PhD in Musicology, Music Technology and Women’s Studies from the Union Institute. Co-founder and Director of HESPERUS, she plays Irish and old-time fiddle; kamenj, lyra, rebec and vielle; violas da gamba and pardessus de viole on early music, Sephardic, Blues, and American traditional music. Currently a member of Trio Sefardi and Spelman & Chancy storytellers, Tina is a former member of the Folger Consort, the Ensemble for Early Music, the rock band Blackmore’s Night and the improvisation group QUOG. Tina produces recordings for other musicians, writes articles, and directs the SoundCatcher Workshop teaching improvisation and musical skills. Her 3-CD series The Versatile Viol includes Scots-Irish, French baroque and American traditional music featuring the viola da gamba. In 2008 she was awarded a Lifetime Acheivement Award from Early Music America. She lives in Arlington, VA.

VALERIE LOOMER (theorbo, renaissance guitar, cittern) holds a Bachelor of Music summa cum laude from the Shenandoah Conservatory and has studied lute and basso continuo at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Hopkinson Smith. Valerie has appeared and/or recorded with Musica Antiqua Provence, Parnassie du Marais, Ensemble Boréades, Canticum Novum, Poïésis, Hesperus, Troubadours Arts Ensemble and Choeur Odyssee. She performed Monteverdi's Orfeo and many Molière/Lully plays/ballets at the Château of Grignan in a decade of work with La Compagnie Barbaroque. Valerie's performing career began, however, in the fields of mime and puppetry, most notably with the Bill Baird Marionnettes and the Blackbird Theater. She gives workshops in corporeal mime and improvisation in the US, France and Switzerland. Besides early music plucked strings, Valerie also plays banjo and banjo ukulele in old-time, Cajun, zydeco and Québecois music. She uses these in the North American folk tale shows that she creates and tours with La Cie du Beau Sauvage Valerie lives in the Ardèche mountains.