Pols Machine

Pols Machine was a Scandinavian folk dance band that we had going for several years in and around the Austin area. We have since gone on to other projects, but I've put this page up for historical reference as an homage to many years of great performances and a lot of fun and friendship.

Lisa Anne
Photo courtesy of John Rammage

Featuring:
Lisa Schneider- fiddle
Anne Alexander- fiddle

often joined by:
Don Weeda- accordion
Yoshimi Masuo- fiddle, viola, vocals
Eric Vormelker-bass, guitar, percussion, vocals

Scandinavia has a rich folk music tradition, the majority of which features the fiddle. Pols Machine was a local fiddle duo featuring Lisa Schneider and Anne Alexander. They were both drawn to Scandi music because of the incredible freedom of improvisation and lush harmonies, as well as its many moods.

Pols Machine
Photo courtesy of Carol Russell

Lisa has played with a diversity of Austin bands, but has specialized in playing a wide variety of international folk dance music. Scandinavian folk music has definitely found its place in her heart as a personal favorite both to perform, dance, and listen to for hours on end.

Anne started her musical career as a cellist. However, after she discovered folk dance, a well-meaning friend talked her into trying the fiddle ... and then the saz came along ... and then she inherited a tapan and a doumbek and the fascinating world of Balkan and Middle Eastern rhythms suddenly opened up. Before she knew it she'd cheerfully thrown ten years of classical training out the window and hasn't looked back since. Anne has played in several local folk-music groups including Pols Machine, Austin Slavadillo , 1001 Nights Orchestra, Ojalá, Homegrown Contra Band, and performed with the Austin Csárdás Hungarian Performing Dance Group.

Pols Color
Copyright 2004 Dale Rempert. All Rights Reserved.

The expanded version of the band also included the expert international accordion playing of Don Weeda, the dulcet fiddle tones and vocals of Yoshimi Masuo, and the rollicking, vibrant, and exuberant bass and guitar playing of Eric Vormelker.

Don Weeda's quintessential international folk accordion playing can regularly be found reverberating through the hearts of dancers and listeners all over Texas and beyond with many fantastic bands including his own Austin Slavadillo, Austin based Arabic/Persian ensemble 1001 Nights Orchestra, Rubinchik's Yiddische Ensemble and several other local musical configurations. He frequently plays his accordion for international folk dance groups in Texas, Oklahoma, and points beyond and has resolved never to let his "real life" interfere with his quest to learn every folk dance tune in creation.

Pols BW
Copyright 2004 Dale Rempert. All Rights Reserved.

Eric Vormelker (bass) is a dedicated porch-picker, though he'd been playing bass in Austin area bands for years and years, including 1001 Nights Orchestra, Kolorash, Rubinchik's Orkestyr, Salem Tree, Irie Jane, and many more. He also led his own international folk dance band, Igrati, which specialized in a variety of mostly European folk music including Croatian, Serbian, Hungarian, Rom (Gypsy), Greek, and Bulgarian.

Yoshimi Masuo (fiddle, viola, hurdy-gurdy, vocals) was a relative newcomer to her instruments, but had a lifetime of vocal and dance performance and training that brought depth and remarkable ease to her instrumental pursuits. She regularly performs with her own band, Annoying Instrument Orchestra (AIO), Austin Csárdás Hungarian Performing Dance Group, Igrati, and several other folk music and dance groups around the Austin area.

Most of Pol Machine's repertoire consisted of music intended for a variety of regional and village dances from all over Scandinavia which they learned over the years from a number of sources including Scandinavian music teachers and recordings. A pols, where Pols Machine gets its name, is a type of Norwegian turning dance typical of many of the tunes they play. All of the members of Pols Machine particularly enjoyed celebrating international cultures and played (and danced) a wide variety of folk music from around the world.

You could often find Pols Machine playing for the Austin International Folk Dancers and performing for wedding ceremonies in the Austin area.

Selected featured performances

proclamation

November 2, 1995 was proclaimed “Lisa Schneider and Anne Alexander Day” by the City of Austin and mayor Bruce Todd

duo