About the Stars:
The Gypsy Stars started as a band dedicated to bringing the traditional New England contra dance sound of fiddle and piano to West Virginia. Paula Bickham’s accordion and hand drums add a distinctive gypsy-like flavor that allows them to play a little around the edges of the tradition. Rita Ray plays a solid, yet imaginative piano accompaniment.
The Gypsy Stars have been playing Contra dances since at least 2005, mostly for FOOTMAD (Charleston, WV Friends of Old Time Music and Dance), but recently have been going farther afield, see listing at right.
Bios (l-r in pic: Paula, Paul, Rita):
Paul Epstein has been playing music as an avocation for over 35 years in different bands. He is a prolific writer of songs and tunes and has three CDs of his own and one with Contrarians. He fiddles with the Contrarians, a popular contra dance band that has delighted dancers from NY to GA, Washington D.C. to Asheville, NC.
Rita Ray had talked for years about getting back to the piano when she retired as director of WV Public Broadcasting. Some time early in the 21st century, she decided not to wait, and played her first public dance with the Gypsy Stars in 2005. And now that she's retired, she spends big chunks of time getting better and better!
Paula J. Bickham, Ph.D. has a life-long involvement with music, learning piano at the age of nine and playing for 12 years. She took up accordion when she lived and worked in Louisiana . Recently she has been playing Traditional Celtic and Appalachian music on it with the Gypsy Stars. For over twenty years, she has also focused on hand-drumming and rhythms from West Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
See and Hear
(for bookings, contact paul: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hooting and hollering to an original tune of Paul's, "Allepo" .
Devlin's Jig and The Wild One
Sep. 10, 2016 Charleston, WV FOOTMAD contra dance
Oct. 1, 2016 Roanoke, VA contra dance
May 12, 2016 Carrboro, NC contra dance
FOOTMAD Charleston, WV
Taylor Books, Charleston, WV
Columbus OH contra dance
Copper Pint Pub, Charleston, WV
Charlottesville, VA contra dance
Athens, OH, contra dance
Brasstown, NC John C. Campbell Folk School contra dance