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About the band:
Halali's repertoire spans the gamut from lively jigs and reels to more sensitive slow numbers and inspiring vocals.  We perform new music, as well as timeless traditional classics, and cleverly arranged covers.

Hanneke Cassel
fiddle, piano

Laura Cortese
fiddle, vocals

Lissa Schneckenburger
fiddle, vocals

Flynn Cohen
on guitar

Once upon a time long long ago there were three charming (ah hem* wicked loud and boisterous) fiddlers who became friends at Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, and then continued to develop their friendship and musical partnership as they attended college in Boston. It was there that they met a red-headed guitarist who became their rhythm section, as well as the person they constantly made fun of. The quartet was called HALALI, and on gig nights no strathspey or pop song was safe from the fiery touch of their fiddle bows or scorching humor. Although the group soon faded into the realm of fabled legend, their die hard fans still haunt the sidewalk outside of Club Passim diddling their favorite 4 bars of "I'm Too Sexy For My Djembe" in hopes that Halali will rise again. Every three years when the moon is high, the whiskey flows, and Club Passim gets a new menu, the spirit of Halali rises again and makes music long into the night.  Although now long out of date, the photos on this web site have been maintained for historical accuracy.

Each member of Halali also has numerous individual accomplishments:

"Exuberant and rhythmic, somehow both wild and innocent, delivered with captivating melodic clarity and an irresistible playfulness," says the Boston Globe about Hanneke Cassel 's playing. Such charismatic fiddling has brought the native Oregonian many honors and awards.  She is the 1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, she holds a Bachelors of Music in Violin Performance from Berklee College of Music, and she has performed and taught across North America, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, China, and India. Hanneke's latest release, Dot the Dragon's Eyes features an all-star cast of musicians - including Mike Block, Rushad Eggleston, Jeremy Kittel, Keith Murphy, Christopher Lewis, Dave Wiesler, Ryan McKasson, Cali McKasson Kovin, and Ariel Friedman. Influences from the Isle of Skye and Cape Breton Island fuse together with grooves and musical innovations from the hip Boston bluegrass/Americana scene to give Hanneke a uniquely American approach to Scottish music. She creates sounds on the cutting edge of acoustic music, while retaining the integrity and soul of the tradition.

Laura Cortese grew up in San Francisco and moved to Boston to study violin at Berklee College of Music. She has since immersed herself in the city's vibrant indie music scene and enjoyed a busy sideman career, as well as being front woman for the fiddle-based group Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards.
Since the release of Cortese's most recent album, Into the Dark (2013), Cortese hasn't shied away from heavy subjects. On "Brown Wrinkled Dress" she writes from the point of view of a woman who discovers her husband's infidelity; on "Village Green" she sings in the voice of a servant who yearns for something more. Both songs echo traditional themes - "Brown Wrinkled Dress" is a murder ballad in the most classic sense - but others have an undeniably modern cadence. You can hear pop in Cortese's deftly-written hooks and rock 'n' roll in the syncopated pulse that propels even her gentlest melodies. Her cover of Laura Veirs's "Life is Good Blues" perhaps captures this spirit best: when Cortese sings, "Life is good when the band is smokin' hot," it's easy to believe her.

Lissa Schneckenburger's playing is...quietly virtuosic...her voice is pure and clear, full of simple emotion," says All Music Guide.  The traditional music of New England can be as warm and comforting as a winter fire or as potent and exhilarating as a summer thunderstorm. Fiddler and singer Lissa Schneckenburger is a master of both moods: a winsome, sweet-voiced singer who brings new life to old ballads and a skillful, dynamic fiddler who captures the driving rhythm and joy of dance tunes old and new.   Her latest CD "Covers" released in June 2013, is a mix of beloved pop songs from the 1950s to today re-imagined with the luscious foundation of fiddle on each selection. Co produced with Aoife O'Donovan (of Crooked Still, The Goat Rodeo Sessions, and I'm With Her), Lissa's sixth solo album reinterprets beloved classics by artists like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Nelly, Weezer, The Magnetic Fields, Dire Straits, and many more.  Whether playing interpretations of ancient or contemporary music, Lissa brings to the stage enthusiasm, energy, and the bright future of New England's musical traditions.

Flynn Cohen Acoustic guitarist and mandolinist Flynn Cohen has performed all over the world with many notable acts in traditional and contemporary acoustic music. In addition to playing with Halali, Flynn has performed with Low Lily, legendary Irish Accordion player John Whelan, modern bluegrass band Tony Watt & Southeast Expressway, The Sevens, Aoife Clancy, Cathie Ryan, Lawrence Nugent, Skip Healy, Joe Derrane and Frank Farrell, Adrienne Young, Jake & Taylor Armerding, Gail Davies, Jilly Martin, Malibu Storm, Bruce MacGregor, Women of Ireland, The Vancouver Symphony, Revels, Christmas Celtic Sojourn, and Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, among others. He studied Music at Dartington College of Arts in Devon, England and at Mills College in Oakland, California and when he is not touring, he manages a large roster of students in his private studio in the Boston area.

For a trip down memory lane, click on one of the photos above, or read our bios from like 1999 (!!?).

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Web design & photos unless otherwise noted:
2001 Yellowcar Music & Design | superstar@yellowcarmusic.com

Lissa's photo 2000 Susan Wilson.
Flynn's photo 2001 Kelly Sullivan.