Bill Cope

We are honored to have Bill Cope as our guest performer at Spring Festival.

Bill is an outstanding multi-instrumentalist and a gifted, experienced teacher who began playing Balkan music in 1975. He’s made many trips to the Balkans and studied with players, including Lyubomir Vladimirov, first chair in the Philip Kutev Ensemble. He also performed with Vassil Bebelekov, Donka and Nikolay Kolevi, Yuri Yunakov, Mile Kolarov and Pece Atanasovski.

Bands Bill has played with Cope Family Band, Zabava! with Dan Auvil, Rich Schultz and Brian Fox;Trio Zulum, with Vassil Bebelekov, Dan Auvil, and singers Maria Bebelekova and Kimberly, Lacey and Joelle Cope, and as Music Director for the San Francisco Kolo Festival. Bill is a musician who loves Balkan music, playing it every chance he gets, and sharing his passion with the world.

Bill is a teacher of Tambura and many other instruments. If you are interested in taking a class from him, please write to Bill via his web site if you have any questions in regard to what instruments you have that might be acceptable.

Hungarian dance music

Danubius is a San Francisco-based Eastern European band, specializing in traditional and Roma (Gypsy) music from Hungary, as well as from other countries in the vicinity of the Danube River. David Skuse started the band in the late 1990’s. The band plays both Western and traditional musical instruments, giving it a unique sound. The band members are:

  • Jutka Mándoki (vocals, kontra, guitar)
  • Barbara Deutsch (clarinet, fluier, soprano sax, vocals)
  • Nathan Ladyzhensky (violin, guitar, prim)
  • Douglas Mandell (string bass)

Tips and donations at
(please choose “Friends/Family” for the full donation to go to musicians, else a percentage is deducted)

Don Weeda

Don Weeda is a master accordionist and well versed in many musical instruments and folk styles. Don bought his first accordion in 1976 with the intention of learning lots of songs for folk dancing and never looked back. He plays with many ensembles, and his folk music career spans over 30 years as a performer, recording artist, and workshop conductor at festivals and camps all over North America. For many years Don has performed at many Texas folk dance organizations and is a friend to the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival. We are honored to have Don Weeda perform for us.

Eva Darai with László Nemessány and Michael Smy

Eva Darai has been a leader and club officer in the Laguna Folk Dancers club for many years, and until the pandemic, led the IFD band “Madison Avenue Folk” for over 30 years. Over those years the repertoire of Madison Avenue Folk has included about 400 dance tunes in the IFD repertoire. If you were dancer who also was a member of Eva’s band, you would be just learning to dance a newly popular dance one month, and Eva would be handing you sheet music expecting you to now play it the next month.
Madison Avenue Folk opened for the Laguna Folk Dance Festival for many years.

At Spring Festival, Eva will perform virtually with her nephew, Laci, who resides in Hungary and makes violins in the tradition of his famed ancestor, Samuel Nemessány. Last year, Laci traveled from Hungary and performed with Eva’s band in the 2020 Laguna Folk Dance Festival. Michael is a long-time member of Madison Avenue Folk and neutrino physics researcher.

Osem i Devet

Michael “Osem” Lawson (accordion) and David “Devet” Bilides (percussion) combine their extensive experience and talent to perform music from the Balkans and beyond. For Spring Festival, Osem i Devet are joined by singers Tedy Dimitrova and Dina Trageser, and bassist Janie Cowan. This versatile group can play hot ‘n’ fast, sweet ‘n’ slow, and everything in between. The music is mostly from Bulgaria, with some side trips to Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia.

tip jar:

Shirley Johnson

Shirley has been singing, dancing, and performing ethnic music since she was 10 years old – from her Croatian heritage to International folk dance music. She is comfortable performing as a soloist, often strolling while playing and singing Italian or French music, or in bands playing Celtic, Gypsy Jazz, Balkan, Klezmer, etc. music. Currently she lives in Austin, TX. She sang with the Duke University Chorale, performing at Carnegie Hall in NYC and at Disney World. From 1992 to 1994 she sang with the “Coro Misto of “L’Accademia della Filarmonica” in Rome, Italy. Shirley’s 3rd CD, “Dancing Angels,” features several of the finest musicians in Texas. She teaches accordion privately (mostly virtually this year) and is co-producer of the “Not Just OOM-PAH!” Accordion Concert and Workshop.

Tips and donations:
Throw down into Shirley’s tip jar (in $5 increments)
PayPal directly to
Venmo directly to Shirley-Johnson-9 (last 4 digits of phone 0422 if asked for it)

Sans Frontières

Sans Frontières is:

  • Barbara Gershman (hammered dulcimer, accordion, and electronic keyboard)
  • Brian Cwik (saxophone)
  • Lance Gucwa (string bass and bass guitar)
  • Marcella Lawson (vocals, guitar, and doumbek)
  • Mindy Belli (drum set, alto and soprano recorder, and doumbek)
  • Lee Otterholt (vocals, violin, and mandolin)
  • Sebastian Otterholt (violin)
  • Terry Gucwa (cello, guitar, and vocals)

It is based in Orange County, CA, and first formed in 2019. Four members — Lee, Marcella, Mindy, and Terry — are regular dancers with the Laguna International Dancers (LID). Lee is Artistic Director at LID and a master teacher of IFD. Sebastian is Lee’s son. Barbara is the VP of the Southern California Dulcimer Heritage and regularly plays with Terry in a Celtic band. Lance is Terry’s brother and plays in the La Jolla Symphony and several Bluegrass bands. Sans Frontières plays at LID events in Laguna Woods, CA, including the 50th Laguna Folk Dance Festival, held in 2020. As the name suggests, Sans Frontières has a wide-ranging repertoire, tackling pieces that are widely danced, but not typically performed by IFD bands. The repertoire tends to be relatively recent music that evolved from, and celebrates, ethnic heritage, but expresses that heritage in modern-day musical conventions.

Tips and donations: Venmo directly to Marcella_Lawson

Tom Pixton

Tom is active as an international, Balkan, and Scottish folk dance musician. He has worked with many of today’s most accomplished dance teachers and musicians as accordionist, pianist, band leader, music arranger, and CD producer.

As a soloist or with the Pinewoods Band, he has provided dance music for dance camps, workshops, and special events in the US, Canada, and Japan. He has provided music leadership for the Boston Branch of the Royal Scottish Dance Society, Cambridge Revels, June Camp, and the Folk Arts Center of New England.

Tom has produced CDs with Flying Tomatoes, BiCoastal Band, and Pinewoods Band. His Scottish recordings include Scottish in Salem (with Lissa Schneckenberger), Saucy Bess: The Piper’s Weird and Live From C Sharp. Tom plays a custom-built 4/5 96-bass Guerrini Classic, tuned to A=440Hz, with double tone chamber, dry tuning, and custom reed switch configuration. It is a magnificent instrument on which any music comes to life with penetrating intensity. It is equipped with the Limex wireless microphone and MIDI system.

Tom publishes the Pinewoods International Collection, a 400-page book of folk dance tunes and songs from around the world. The book has become widely known as a major source of dance music and as a reference volume.

When not playing music, Tom works as a freelance web strategist in the higher education and non-profit space.


Veselba is a Balkan music ensemble based in Los Angeles, California. Its members are:

  • David Hernston (gajda/tambura/vocals)
  • Norm Rosen (tambura)
  • Linda Levin (tambura/dajre/vocals)
  • Marko Danilovski (kaval/zurla/clarinet/saxophone)
  • Laura Yee (vocals)
  • Joan Hantman (vocals)
  • Ian Price (percussion/vocals)

The band plays folk dance melodies and songs from Bulgaria and Macedonia. Its repertoire is more “Bitov” and “Izvorno”. As an LA-based group, Veselba plays for the local folk dance community, particularly at Café Aman in Los Angeles and for other folk dance groups around the area. It also plays at some of the local festivals, particularly at the Laguna Festival and the Macedonian Church Festival. Veselba began life around 2002.

Tip jar link: Venmo @Ian-Price-48


Energetic, soulful, and rhythmically dazzling music played from the center of the dance floor by these musicans:

  • Anastasia Burkett (volin)
  • Bill Cope (gajda,tambura, oud, bouzouki, accordion)
  • Janie Cowan (bass)
    Tom Farris (guitar, tambura)
  • Noa Laniakea (bass)
  • Hilary Musaji (vocal)
  • Michele Simon (vocal, doumbek, tupan)
  • Corinne Sykes (vocal)

Zabava! has been in existence for countless years, with numerous band members, playing a variety of music for folkdancers. Zabava! plays for folk dance parties, workshops and celebrations around California, and has played at balkanalia! and EEFC’s Mendocino Camp. The tunes they play come from from Albania, America, Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Macedonia, Norway, the Romani, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, Sweden and Turkey traditions. The musicians create the vibrant interplay of traditional music and dance from the cultural crossroads.

Website/Social Media: Facebook

Tip jars:
Paypal: PayPal.Me/michelesimonvoice
Venmo: @michelesimon77