(Longer Bio: HERE)
~ Laura has learned from many tradition bearers on both sides of the Atlantic, and has herself been recognized as a Master Folk Artist (Minnesota State Arts Board). She has been lauded as a "Celtic music wizard" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a "High priestess of Celtic music" by Minnesota Public Radio.
~ Of Scottish heritage, Laura's people (MacKenzies and Rankins) came to America by way of Nova Scotia and Northern Ireland.
~ From production work (and appearance) on A Prairie Home Companion to fieldwork in ethnomusicology, from rockin' out in Boiled in Lead to national touring with Lorie Line and her Pop Chamber Orchestra, MacKenzie has enjoyed vast and varied experience in the worlds of music while developing as a performing artist.
~ Laura has received an abundance of honors and awards over the years, including being selected for the original Cherish the Ladies series, featuring noted women in Irish music in America, plus multiple performing arts awards and fellowships. In recent years, Laura was awarded a coveted Bush Foundation Artists Fellowship in Traditional and Ethnic Performing Arts as well as a McKnight Foundation Performing Artists Fellowship.
~ In 2014, the City of St Paul declared "Laura MacKenzie Day" by official proclamation for Laura's contributions to traditional music in Minnesota.
~ Among other notables, Laura has performed in extended productions with Frank McCourt (Pulitzer prize winning author of Angela's Ashes), T.R. Knight (of Grey's Anatomy, on stage at the Guthrie Theater) and Katie McMahon (of Riverdance). She also performs and records with Dáithí Sproule (of Altan), and with Billy McLaughlin.
~ As a player and producer, MacKenzie is often engaged for live shows and studio projects, and can be heard on numerous recordings and several documentaries. One of her studio productions sold over 585,000 copies. Laura both produced and performed in the popular and festive "Charladies Christmas" and "Gaelfest!" shows.
~ In performance, Laura currently appears as a solo artist, in duos with Dáithí Sproule, Gary Rue, Ross Sutter, in Willow Brae with harpist Andrea Stern, in the ensembles Laura MacKenzie and the Lads, The Frothy Band, Cumar (Irish/West African collaboration), her "big band" Brass Lassie, and in SimpleGifts with Billy McLaughlin.
~ Laura's powerful array of wind instruments includes wooden flutes, many whistles, concertina, Scottish smallpipes, Border pipes, French Cornemuse, Spanish Gaita, Medieval English Greatpipes, Leicester smallpipes, gemshorn and voice.
"Northfield's Laura MacKenzie - Celtic Music Wizard"
by historian Susan Hvistendahl (2013)
"Catching Up with Celtic Music Wizard Laura MacKenzie" by Susan Hvistendahl (2016)