Lissa Schneckenburger

When New England fiddler and folk singer Lissa Schneckenburger takes the stage at this week’s Crossroads International Celtic Festival, she will be tapping into generations of roots.

What is your own background/ethnic heritage?
I am a regular American Irish/Scottish/German mutt.  My great grandparents on my mother’s side were born in Ireland but met in New York City, my German ancestors are from even earlier generations.

When and why did you start playing music?
I’ve always bee attracted to music, and my parents nurtured that at an early age.  We always had great records to listen to, and friends and neighbors who played music.  I asked for a fiddle when I was five because I had a friend who played.

Are they the same reasons you still do it today?
I love that music connects me to such a vibrant community of musicians and music supporters.  I’ve met so many interesting people, and forged life long friendships through music.  Not only is music a form of creative expression, but it frames the big events of our lives and creates ways to connect with people.

What are the challenges of the vocation?
Being self employed is difficult because there is the temptation to work constantly, but not always a direct reward for the time spent.  When you do what you love for a living it is counter intuitive to take a step back from your work occasionally to stay healthy and recharge, and yet it’s so necessary.  I’ve been working on giving myself boundaries, in an attempt to temper my work-aholic nature.

What are the rewards?
So many!  I love being part of many amazing overlapping communities, creating art, experiencing beauty, discovering new sounds, making people’s lives better, self expression, traveling, connecting to past generations, and connecting to friends and musicians all over the world.

How would you describe your sound today?
I primarily play a mix of traditional New England fiddle tunes and folk songs.  I’m usually joined by Bethany Waickman on guitar, who plays in DADGAD and is influenced by a number of Irish backers.  At Celtic Crossroads we’ll also have the pleasure of playing with my husband Corey DiMario on double bass, which is a really fun way to fill out the sound.

Where do you typically perform?
My band has toured throughout the US, Canada, and northern Europe in almost every kind of venue imaginable.  From house concerts to theaters and everywhere in between.

What makes a good song?
I like a song with a beautiful melody that tells a captivating story.  Being able to tell a story, or even a small part of a story, through music is a great joy.

Is your creative process more ‘inspirational’ or ‘perspirational’?
It’s usually a 50/50 mix of both.

What do you have on tap for the rest of 2013?
I’m currently promoting a new recording project called “Covers” which came out this summer.  It’s a collection of folky interpretations of pop songs from the last 60 or so years that I co produced with singer Aoife O’Donovan.