Charleston-based quartet ContraForce may be deeply rooted in traditional folk music and the contra dance scene, but when it comes to composing and recording their own tunes, they certainly don’t shy away from musical experimentation.
Fiddler Andrae Raffield, Percussionish/handpan/saxophonist Joey Dorwart, guitarist Jimi “Two Nails” Peirano, and Vocalist Karin Mcquade have collaborated on old standards and new originals, working in and around the Celtic and Appalachian folk styles normally featured at contra dances. Karin McQuade has been an enchanting vocal element, joining a few years after the band formed.
Raffield started playing violin at the age of six, training classically through middle school. In his teens, he began picking up on various folk styles, playing fiddle, guitar, and bass.
Dorwart dabbled in saxophone as a kid in Pennsylvania before moving to South Carolina when he was 10. Inspired by Primus’ Les Claypool and Fishbone’s Angelo Moore, he began playing the electric bass as a teen and switched over to sax and drums by the time he started jamming with experimental metal and punk bands.
Raffield and Dorwart go way back with contra dance music. They performed together for years in the contra bands Anna’s Bananas and Shady Groove before enlisting Peirano to form ContraForce.
The Band mixed their entirely instrumental debut album in a home studio at Dorwart’s East Cooper home. According to Dorwart, they recorded all of the tracks in one take with no overdubs. The final result is an eclectic, and occasionally psychedelic collection titled “Rise of the Folk Organism”. Soon followed by a Waltz album “THIS”, a more focussed studio album pulling in more experimental and contra elements together “Mongrel Vibrations”, and an intense psychedelic album “RoboMate’ and the Funeral Pranksters”