NOAH VANNORSTRAND is known for his playing with The Great Bear Trio, one of the hottest and most influential dance bands in the country, as well as the Andrew and Noah Band and Giant Robot Dance. His driving rhythm, epic dynamics, creativity, and uniquely rocking style have given him a loyal following.
A versatile multi-instrumentalist and prolific composer, Noah most often plays fiddle, foot percussion, and mandolin, along with didgeridoo and drums (and a few other surprises). He grew up steeped in music and started performing with Great Bear at age 10. Since then he has played at numerous dance weekends, festivals, and music camps, including a performance on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” with his brother Andrew.
JULIE VALLIMONT performs nationwide with the band Nor’easter and her collaboration with accordionist Rachel Bell. She is known for her driving piano style, skill in matching tunes to dances, and music with heart. She also plays accordion for contra, English, and French dancing.
Julie’s compelling, rhythmic piano style draws on her study of New England contra piano and traditional Quebecois, Irish, and Cape Breton music, along with elements of rock and jazz. A former classical pianist and organist, she fell in love with traditional music and dance, and since then has gone on to perform at numerous festivals and music camps. Drawing on teaching skills developed over fifteen years as a natural science educator, Julie enjoys teaching and leading workshops. She also works as a sound engineer and organizes the BIDA dance in Boston, MA.
Since forming in April 2014, the buddies have taken the country by storm, playing in more than 15 states. Selected appearances:
- Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF), Black Mountain, NC
- Dance Flurry Festival, Saratoga Springs, NY
- Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Hillsdale, NY
- Contradancers’ Delight Holiday, Morgantown, WV
- A New Year’s Affair, Jonesborough, TN
- Shenandoah Shindig, Dayton, VA
- Fiddling Frog, Pasadena, CA
- University of Chicago Dance Weekend, Chicago, IL
- Mountain Madness, Jonesborough, TN
- Spark in the Dark, Cambridge, MA
WHAT THE BUDDIES CAN DO
- Contra dances (we play as an acoustic duo, sometimes with a third musician)
- Dance weekends and festivals: Buddy System can be an acoustic band, and play electronic for late night.
- Live techno contras! (Come party with us!)
- Workshops – ask us about workshop ideas!
WORD ON THE STREET
“Love Love Love calling with this band!” – Will Mentor, caller, VT/MA
“What a collaboration! Julie’s pulsating rhythms drive the music with purposeful intent, like a steadily beating heart, while layers of melody and sound create a backdrop for Noah’s exhilarating fiddling. And when that jawharp comes out, look out! There will be fire under the dancers’ feet, and sparks flying from the stage whenever these two amazing musicians perform!” – Jean Gorrindo, caller, Los Osos, CA
“That was the most exciting contra music I ever heard. I couldn’t believe what you did to those tunes!” – Kathie, dancer, Bellingham, WA
“Wow! Buddy System combines masterful musicianship, driving energy and creative versatility to provide unique and amazing dancing experiences. Dancers’ feet will not stop moving and their smiles will not stop beaming whether you are running a traditional or techno contra. Their visit to our community has been the dancing highlight of the year!” – Rick Smith, caller, Denver, CO