Not easy to pigeonhole, Rare Birds combines the talents of accordionist Nova Devonie, violinist Ruth Dornfeld, and guitarist Cyd Smith in a high-flying mashup of exotic and domestic musical styles. From fiddle tunes to Sun Ra to swing to singer/songwriter, this power trio joyously explores the flights of fancy inspired by years of deep experience in a broad range of genres.
“Really cool combination of musical and songwriting voices.”
“We love your music, and so did all our guests. Two of the more well-travelled guests remarked that much of the music reminded them of being in a Paris cafe.”
“Your brilliant performance the other night lifted my spirits.”
“Fun, imaginative and extremely musical!”
“Excellent musicians, all three, and an intriguingly eclectic bunch of songs.”
“… one of the sharpest songwriters you are likely to hear…her tasteful arrangements move from sensuous bluesy to hip and funky. Her songs are… tender… tough…and impeccably crafted.” – KBCS
Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Cyd Smith began studying classical guitar in her early teens, but was soon captured by a love of the rich treasury of American folk music, especially bluegrass and vintage country music. From there it was a smooth transition into 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s swing music, and she has delved deeply since into the guitarists, vocalists, and songwriters of that era. All these influences feed into her own sophisticated and inventive songwriting and interest in exploring the unexpected–lyrically, harmonically, and melodically. She has produced two albums featuring her songs as well as the playing of some of the Northwest’s finest acoustic musicians.
A versatile guitarist and bassist, over the years she has performed with many luminaries of the national acoustic music scene, including Rebecca Kilgore, Casey MacGill, Russ Barenberg, Mary Flower, and Laurie Lewis. She has been a cornerstone of many Northwest bands in a wide range of styles from Americana to Classic Rock.
Cyd is also well known as a music educator and teaches at prestigious music camps around the country, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, California Coast Camp, and Augusta Heritage Festival.
“High-Style Queen of Accordion,” Nova Devonie has performed with such notable groups as Ranch Romance, Jo Miller and Her Burly Roughnecks, and Miles and Karina. Nova has a well-earned reputation for artful accordion playing, sonorous singing, a dry wit, and a sideways fashion sense.
“…a revelation, an endlessly inventive player with remarkable fluidity.” – fRoots Magazine
Fiddler extraordinaire Ruthie Dornfeld rounds out the trio with her big tone, fierce rhythm, and an engaging style that draws from Irish, American old-time, Scandinavian, and Eastern European traditions. She has performed for over forty years throughout the USA and internationally, as a soloist and with The American Cafe Orchestra, guitar master John Miller, Danish guitarist Morten Alfred Høirup, 3Fiddlers, 3Traditions, and Tangoheart. Ruthie also plays and composes for the 5 string medieval fiddle (vielle)