"Christiania Waltz" by the Foot-Notes
|Link to Foot-Notes website|
The Foot-Notes band originates from Decorah, Iowa, and represents a rich Norwegian-American musical tradition from the surrounding areas of northeastern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, and western Wisconsin. Collecting tunes from a variety of local musicians, the Foot-Notes have made a name for themselves as bearers of Norwegian-American dance music that reaches back to the house party and barn dance eras in the Upper Midwest. The Foot-Notes also carry on the spirit of the region’s musical heritage by performing at monthly dances in the historic two-room schoolhouse in Highlandville, Iowa, an event that began in the mid-1970s with Spring Grove, Minnesota fiddler Bill Sherburne and his band, warmly referred to as the Spring Grove Symphony by local devotees of Norwegian-American folk music. Fiddler Beth Rotto, a graduate of Luther College, apprenticed with Bill Sherburne and become heir to his extensive repertoire of Norwegian-American dance music. After Sherburne’s death in 1991, Beth established the Foot-Notes along with her husband and guitarist John Rotto, Spring Grove, MN native and bass player Bill Musser, and mandolin player Jim Skurdall, who has since moved to Norway. Together they have performed at local events such as weddings and Highlandville dances, but have also appeared on regional, national and Norwegian radio, at the Smithsonian's Festival of American Folklife in Washington D.C., the Festival of Iowa Folklife in Des Moines, IA, and performed as part of the "Masters of Tradition" series at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC. They have produced two CDs together; Decorah Waltz in 1996 and My Father Was a Fiddler in 1998.