The Parson Sisters (Mirinisa Stewart-Tengco on fiddle and Clara Byom on keys) is a duo based in Albuquerque, NM, specializing in global folk dance music, including Balkan, Irish, contra, and English Country. Mirinisa and Clara became instant friends and musical collaborators after being introduced by mutual friends in January 2018. The New Mexican folk music and dance communities are at the heart of The Parson Sisters’ work, as they’ve been independently active in two important local organizations—New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society and Southwest International Folk Dance Institute—and hope to encourage a new generation of dancers and musicians to embrace and share these cultural traditions.
Website - www.theparsonsisters.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/TheParsonSisters/
Instagram - www.instagram.com/theparsonsisters/
Albuquerque, NM, native Mirinisa Stewart-Tengco plays violin/fiddle in this band, and percussion (and some other things) in other contexts including with Rusty Tap, an Albuquerque band specializing in contra and English Country dance. Coming from a musical background of twelve years in the Suzuki Method of classical violin and seven in the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program, she took some time off in college to delve more seriously into West African drumming, non-classical violin and various other instruments, ultimately deciding to stick with those after graduating and returning to NM. She is a lifelong dancer with various groups in and around the city as well, most often to be found at international folk dance, and is rather grateful for the thriving music, dance, and other arts community that exists in the state.
Clara Byom is an Albuquerque-based multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, and accordion), musicologist, and educator. She performs contemporary classical music and a variety of folk dance music, including Jewish klezmer, contra, English Country, Balkan, Scottish, and Irish. Clara is a founding member of Di Kavene Kapelye, Edith Boulevard, The Parson Sisters, Odd Butterflies, and co-founder/co-director of New Mexico Contemporary Ensemble. Additionally, she performs regularly with Dust City Opera and serves on the board of the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society. As of Fall 2018, she serves as the first Development Director of the newly founded nonprofit organization, The Klezmer Institute. A graduate of the University of New Mexico (Master of Music in Clarinet Performance and Musicology), Clara has researched mid-century American klezmer music for her master’s thesis entitled “Mixing in Too Much Jewish: American Klezmorim in New York City from 1950-1970.” Since the Summer of 2014, she has done archival work for the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York City, primarily digitizing and cataloging the field recordings of 2015 National Heritage Fellow Michael Alpert, a leading figure in the klezmer revitalization. In 2012, Clara received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College in Decorah, IA.