Reviews and tune list of Infinite Winter Squash: New Maine Fiddle Music

Original New England-style dance tunes written by Hope Hoffman, recorded by Hope with Kittlish (

Purchase CD at (now available also as single-track downloads) or at Maine retailers.

[Download & print sheet music as PDF file]


Greg Boardman, longtime Maine fiddler and teacher, says:

"Pure New England fiddle music, proud of its rural past, relishing the present … The feeling of a warm kitchen above a well-stocked root cellar …

"The performances are inviting, warm, energized and straight ahead, with a bit of mischief thrown in ...

"It's nice to hear the viola given a chance as it is here several times, played on some of Hope's own tunes, bringing out their unique character.

"The eccentric 'Cows Go Sailing,' while purely traditional in form and texture, carries an air of contemporary whimsical melancholy; it's a good example of the collection's avoidance of pure nostalgia."

Listener Sara E. Randall of Maine says:

"This is a great CD and it embodies the spirit of Maine and its people. Lively, cheerful, impish, warm, and thoughtful all wonderfully describe this CD. If you are fan of traditional Maine folk music and/or are a fiddle player, this CD is a must-have."

Storyteller and teacher Michael Parent says:

"Eating ployes for breakfast while listening to this lovely CD -- what a nice way to start the day. Some of the tunes provoke me to tap my feet and drum on the table, while others inspire me to dance a waltz
(which is not easy to do while eating ployes, I must say). I'm enjoying it very much. A terrific gift!"

Will Gottlieb of Maine's Coastal Journal wrote in a concert review:

"Hoffman … plays a fine, rhythmically charged fiddle informed by time spent with Don Roy and other Maine fiddle monsters. Her original fiddle tunes … are beautiful and authentic, and make great contra dance and/or kitchen music."

Tunes on the CD, with links to sheet music:

1 ~ Westmanland Schottische (From the playing of Fritjof Jacobson)

2 ~ Dining Room Polka (H.H.)/ Snowshoe Polka (H.H.)

3 ~ 8th of February (H.H.) /Quadrille de Mont-Cäns (trad.)

4~ Out on the Water (H.H.) [waltz]

5~ Neofa Farewell (H.H.) [waltz]

6~ Jamie Allen (trad.)/Saut de Lapin (trad.)/Superinsulated House (H.H.)

7 ~ Prosper Barter (H.H.) [hornpipe]

8 ~ Saint Anne's Reel (trad.)/ Ross's Reel (trad.)

9 ~ Flowers of Edinburgh (trad.)/Sweet Pea (H.H.)/Those Little Crumbs (H.H.)

10 ~ Bean by Bean (H.H.)

11 ~ Out the Window (H.H.)/Out of the Woods (H.H.) [jigs]

12 ~ First Day of Autumn (H.H.)/ Infinite Winter Squash (H.H.)/ Kindness (H.H.) [jigs]

13 ~ Cows Go Sailing (H.H.) [waltz]

Compositions by Hope Hoffman, & traditional melodies arranged by Hope Hoffman & Kittlish.

[Link to printable PDF file of tunebook]

Fritjof Jacobson was a potato farmer and fiddler in New Sweden, Maine.

Hope Hoffman & Kittlish:
Larry Burkett: guitar, bouzouki
Hope Hoffman: fiddle, viola
Hugh McGinness: cittern, cross-tuned guitar

Recorded live at Klarity Multimedia, Root Cellar Studio, & rehearsals. features a review written by Jeff Trippe. Click here to visit Maine Folk Music and read the review in full. Here is an excerpt:

"The fiddle is an important link - maybe the crucial link - between musical generations in America ... it is the voice of the fiddle which takes us back much further than that, across ancient seas to our origins in the British Isles, Europe, and elsewhere. Now and again, you'll hear this essence in the playing of a musician who knows it intuitively: a phrase of notes, a certain lilt, a driving passage, and suddenly the dark mysteries of other worlds ... are opened to us.

"Maine's own Hope Hoffman ... has captured much of this rich landscape on her new CD, Infinite Winter Squash: New Maine Fiddle Music.

"Hope's original works, such as 'Sweet Pea,' 'Those Little Crumbs,' and 'Superinsulated House,' fit seamlessly into medleys with traditional tunes such as "St. Anne's Reel" and "Flowers of Edinburgh." Her "8th of February" is as lively a piece as anything one might hear at an authentic New England contra dance.

"With this music, if the fiddler is lucky, he or she may have an accompanist who also has these cadences and tempos in his bones. Hope has two: Larry Burkett on guitar and bouzouki, and Hugh McGinness on cittern and cross-tuned guitar.

"These two fellows ... create that sense of drama, that suggestion of narrative, which is so crucial to instrumental music, and especially dance tunes.

"As is tradition in Celtic music, bouzouki or cittern [often] doubles the melody with fiddle, so that the layered richness of the bowed string and the plucked string together elicits that immediate response even in the uninitiated listener: 'Yes, I know this sound. Where have I heard this before?'

"Hope's waltzes ... 'Out on the Water' and 'Neofa Farewell' convey an original sensibility, with particular passages which more hip reviewers might be inclined to call 'edgy,' and yet she has captured the sweetness of the waltz, that faraway quality which speaks to our instincts for things which exist simply for the sake of their own beauty.

"My favorite tune on this album is 'Cows Go Sailing,' another new waltz. Its lovely walk-down melody is wistful, until it begins to spiral outward and outward into the blue like…well, like cows who have gone sailing. This is a highly original composition which is somehow both childlike and complex at once, a finger-painting done by a master illustrator, if you will.

"Even though these tunes are performed with precision and clarity, they are live studio performances, and the spontaneity comes through.

"This music must have a communal quality to it, as the players take visual cues from one another, plunge in together here, follow and respond to one another there."

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