Paul Oorts is a multi-instrumentalist with a solid foundation
in different styles of music and a solid teaching experience.
In his college days his principle hangout was the Muziekdoos,
a cafe in the cosmopolitan seaport town of Antwerp (Belgium) where
all the local folk musicians, buskers, conservatory students,
and touring performers would meet and jam together and learn from
each other. The eclectic atmosphere of this venue became a major
characteristic of his playing as he learned to back up traditional
Flemish, French, German, Irish, and Scandinavian music on guitar
and five-string banjo, as well as ragtime, old-timey, Latin American,
and classical music. While living in Italy he got interested in
the mandolin as he joined some local bands playing traditional
Italian and bluegrass (!) music. Back in Belgium he joined Rawhide,
a Bluegrass and Old-time band that won the first prize in the
prestigious Toulouse Bluegrass contest. The band was chosen to
represent Belgium in the Euro Country Music Masters, a competition
that was televised in 28 countries.
While pursuing graduate studies in Comparative Literature at
Penn State University he joined the prominent local folk band
Simple Gifts with whom he recorded two CDs of mostly Anglo-American
music with ventures into Klezmer and Scandinavian. He became fascinated
by the hammered dulcimer and started attending dulcimer festivals,
which led to a lasting association with dulcimist Steve Schneider.
With the latter he recently recorded an eclectic album called
"Momentum," containing a selection of classical, pop,
Latin, and contemporary folk music on hammered dulcimer and guitar
(see glowing review in Dulcimer Player News).
His versatility has made him the sideman of choice of many professional
dulcimer players in the Washington, D.C. area where he recently
moved. In the last year he has shared the stage with Karen Asbrook
and Ceoltoiri, Nick Blanton, Walt Michael, Ken Kolodner, Paul
van Arsdale, Jody Marshall (and Moonfire), Rob Brereton, Lois
Hornbostel and others.
He has assisted at Swannanoa Gathering and Augusta music camps
as well as numerous dulcimer festivals including Cranberry in
Binghamton, NY; Mid-Winter Acoustic Fest in Dallas, Texas; Mt.
View Arkansas; Upper Potomac Dulcimer Fest in Shepherdstown, WV
and Houstatonic in Conn.
Most recently he added the musette accordeon to his arsenal,
and he also performs on classical and steel stringed guitars,
bouzouki (octave mandolin), mandocello, and (mando) bass. His
most recent venue is a contradance band called the IVs with Karen
Ashbrook on flute and hammered dulcimer, Andrea Hoag on fiddle,
and David Wiesler on piano. This band will be featured at the
Buffalo Gap Fall Dance weekend.
Paul currently is in the process of finishing a book on ethnic
mandolin styles that will be published by Mel Bay.
In his non-music life, he teaches language at the Peabody Music
Conservatory in Baltimore, MD.
"Momentum" with Steve Schneider, 1997 Salient Musik
"A Place Just Right" with Steve Schneider and Simple
Gifts, 1994 Purple Finch Productions
"Down by the Sally Gardens" with Simple Gifts ,1992
Purple Finch Productions