MACKENZIE & BISSONNETTE
UPCOMING: (Check back as dates are added)
March 30th, 2023 8-10pm @ 318 Cafe, Excelsior, MN
See the SCHEDULE page for more information!
MacKenzie & Bissonnette bring twenty years of collaborations and mutual admiration to a dream duet. Building on their studio work together in Irish and Scottish music and their individual trainings on a broader spectrum, multi-instrumentalists Michael and Laura have developed an exciting program and are delighted to present their duo at last.
Michael Bissonnette, originally from New Bedford, Massachusetts, has been studying drum set and percussion since he was 10. Some of Michael’s notable musical residences have been in California, including six years at Tibbies’ Music Hall in Huntington Harbor and six and a half years at Knotts’ Berry Farm. At Knotts, Michael befriended the Mesoamerican performers there who generously shared their culture and taught him how to make many of their traditional percussion instruments. From there, he dove into learning percussion instruments and styles from around the world. Once grounded in Minneapolis, Michael began performing with a variety of outstanding musicians and ensembles, including Katie McMahon (of Riverdance), Boiled in Lead, Stella Roma, East Side, Louis and Clarke and The Everest Expedition. Michael met Laura MacKenzie in 2001 while they were both performing with Katie McMahon, and since that time Laura and Michael have collaborated on numerous projects and recordings.
Laura MacKenzie has learned from many noted tradition-bearers on both sides of the Atlantic and performs on an array of wind-powered instruments including wooden flutes, various whistles, concertina, unusual bagpipes, gemshorn and voice. Featuring the music of Scotland, Ireland, England, Central France, Galicia and more, Laura has founded a number of ensembles including Laura & The Lads and Brass Lassie (Celtic music big band-style). She also performs regularly with Billy McLaughlin & SimpleGifts, with Willow Brae (duo with Celtic harpist Andrea Stern) and with Dáithí Sproule. Her training and love for these musical traditions have enabled her to bring the sounds of traditional wind-powered music to diverse settings near and far, from shady glades to community halls, from festival stages to theatrical productions. St. Paul declared a “Laura MacKenzie Day” in 2014 for her community contributions to Scottish and Irish music and culture in Minnesota.