Three women who like to Fiddlaround

By From page B1 | January 11, 2013


FAIRFIELD — Annie Marie loves Mardi Gras. And she loves to celebrate it before the beginning of Lent. After all, she noted, Mardi Gras starts with the Epiphany and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday.

“I can’t tell you how many Mardi Gras parties I’ve played a week into Lent,” she said.

That won’t be happening on Jan. 19 when Marie and her fellow members of Fiddlaround – Maureen Coyle and Diane Dutra – perform at the 851 Music Studio in Benicia. To top off the Mardi Gras fun, Marie and Dutra will celebrate their Jan. 18 and Jan. 22 birthdays, respectively.

The three women met years ago in a Cajun zydeco band, Tee Fee Swamp Boogie. Fiddlaround combines Marie’s fiddle with Coyle’s accordion and Dutra’s bass.

The band likes to weave swamp boogie blues, Cajun, zydeco, Latin and country with their three-part harmony. The music has its roots in Louisiana, Texas and California.

The group recently recorded its first CD, which is self-titled and features Americana roots music. They went for a natural sound, Marie said, noting they didn’t use technology, such as pitch shifting, where the original pitch of the sound is raised or lowered.

“Almost everyone uses (pitch shifting),” Marie said. “My fear is that if kids grow up and only hear perfectly tempered music, pure music may disappear from our culture.”

The CD earned a certification from RealSing, a collective of music professionals who acknowledge recordings done without computer-assisted vocals.

Marie began playing the fiddle when she was 9. Her parents also insisted she study the viola and classical music.

Coyle, Dutra and Marie are bandmates and friends, Marie said.

“We like each other. We can talk about things easily,” she said.

However, they don’t like to be labeled “a girl band.”

“It’s like a slap in the face. Like you don’t know what you are doing,” Marie said.

In a genre that’s been dominated by guys, it’s been tough, Marie said. Once she had a producer tell her Fiddlaround would get more gigs if they had a guy fronting them.

Those attending the Benicia show can expect to hear tunes from the new CD, as well as traditional blues and New Orleans tunes.

“You can sing along if you know it (the tune),” she said.

Fiddlaround recently ventured into the world of steampunk, complete with costumes and retro music. They performed at the Mad Hatter’s Ball in Vallejo.

“I never thought I’d get my rear end into a corset,” Marie joked about the costume. “It helps your back. They are comfortable.”

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Annie Marie & Fiddalaround

  • 8 p.m. Jan. 19
  • 851 Music Studio, 1043 Grant St., Benicia
  • 747-0851
  • www.fiddlaround.com
Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

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