Sharing a mutual love of old time music, Charlie Beck and Charmaine Li-Lei Slaven began performing together as the duet, Squirrel Butter, in spring of 2005. Meeting at the Portland Old Time Gathering earlier that year, they discovered that they lived merely blocks away from each other in Seattle. The pair began street performing, and soon realized that their individual styles, sense of rhythm, and tendency towards the quirky and obscure blended well together. It wasn't long before they began performing at venues off the street.
Charlie Beck, hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, is a highly accomplished musician. His mastery of guitar and banjo come from years of consistent study. He is well versed in jazz and swing, is an avid enthusiast of old American blues and string band music. His repertoire includes a bushel of traditional folk tunes along with many jazz numbers. A talented songwriter, Charlie's original compositions combine modern approaches with traditional styles, giving his songs a unique sound. Charlie is an outstanding vocalist, and also plays brilliantly on fiddle.
Charmaine "Lady Li-Lei" Slaven, from Stevensville, Montana, is a gifted dancer, and her skill at traditional percussive buckdancing is phenomenal. She is also an adept rhythm guitarist, ukulele player, and vocalist. Her clear, strong singing style is reminiscent of the Carter family. She brings a fine repertoire of traditional ballads to the duet, along with several of her original works.
Squirrel Butter performs frequently around Seattle, and you can often catch them at local farmer's markets, community events, and venues such as The Tractor Tavern and Conor Byrne Pub. In addition to this project, both Charlie and Charmaine perform with The Tallboys, a four piece old time string band focusing on high-energy traditional dance tunes.