Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Richard Cifersky (SK) back from USA & new project

Alison Brown, musician and founder of Compass Records said of Richard, "His truly remarkable and his solo banjo recordings have established him as one of the leading banjo players in the world."

Richard has recently returned from the USA and, in his own words, this is what he has written about it that trip:

"I had a great tour in the US teaching, recording, and performing. I was one of the teachers at Steve Gulley & Dale Ann Bradley - Arts In The Gap/Acoustic Music Week on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN. I also taught a banjo workshop at the world famous ROMP festival in Owensboro, KY. I also played some great music with Velvet Blue and WestWend. The most exciting thing for me was recording the first promo single for my upcoming CD with amazing players like Kenny Smith - Guitar, Brandon Godman - Fiddle, Alan Bibey - Mandolin, and Marshall Wilborn - Bass. More information about that song will be on my website soon."

Pictures of Richard's travel can be found on his Facebook page.

After his travels, Richard has announced the newly formed RC PROJECT:
"This is a brand new band which plays my original music with new arrangements. We want to introduce banjo music to a new audience and show them that the banjo can move them in ways they didn’t realize before. The band includes: Richard Ciferský on the banjo and guitar, Oldo Petráš - drums, Dano Axmann - mandolin and harmonica, and Andrej Jeriga - bass."

For news of the RC Project and other endeavours, visit Richard's website.

Residential Workshops in Andalucia Sept 27th - Oct 4th - A Few Places Left

 La Fuente de Musica
Residential Music Workshops in Andalucia, Southeastern Spain

There are still places available for the Old-Time American Music & Song workshops to be held in Andalucia  between September 27th and October 4th.

The workshops will be led by legendary singers and instrumentalists Alice Gerrard & Beverly Smith and other teachers of traditional American folk and Bluegrass music and will be held in a remote valley in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Classes will be held for fiddle, banjo, guitar & individual and group singing.

More information about this, and the American Percussive Step-Dance workshop (scheduled between October 25th and November 1st) can be found here.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

SURROUNDERS at Nocturama Concert Series

Scheduled to appear at La Roche Bluegrass Festival, Surrounders (from Spain) recently appeared at the Nocturama Concert Series... here is a report from the band

Hello to all,
Just wanted to share the great experience we had last July 17th at the Nocturama Concert Series opening for local legend Pajaro in our hometown of Seville, Spain. A nice crowd of 800+ people gathered for a warm night (25º C at midnight!!) of awesome music. It was a mixed set as Surrounders and Pajaro blended styles and musicians throughout the night to everybody´s enjoyment mixing Andalusian Surf rock with bluegrass, old-time and swing.

We made a lot of new friends and introduced a large audience to bluegrass music which they seemed enjoy greatly.

In the picture from left to right Manuel R. Dastis (Surrounders), Raul Fernandez (Pajaro), Paco Lamato (Surrounders), Roque Torralva (Pajaro), Javier Dura (Surrounders), Ramon Ramos (Surrounders).
See you all in La Roche!
Un Abrazo 


More information about Surrounders can be found on their website

Banjo Weekend in Slovakia with Richard Cifersky, 26-28 Sept 2014

Richard Cifersky and Velvet Music Agency proudly announce the 1st Annual Music Weekend For All Lovers Of Banjo and Bluegrass Music!

This music retreat will be held in the beautiful hills of central Slovakia, where you will get the chance to meet your fellow banjo players and bluegrass musicians from all over Europe in a unique music environment.

This exciting event will be held at the Penzion Hradisko, only a short drive from Interstate 66 and the village of Nemecka. The Penzion Hradisko is a great venue and provides everything we need for a wonderful weekend of making music and memories. Directions to the venue can be found here

For more information, check out Richard's website or send him an email:

New iPad App for learning bluegrass banjo by ear


Bennett Sullivan, a banjo player and educator living in New York City, recently partnered with Jiri Markalous, a Czech iPhone/iPad developer to create a brand new learning tool for banjo players based on a teaching method Bennett came up with.

The app is called Listen & Learn: Banjo, and is available on the App Store for $1.99.

EBMA is now looking for someone to test the app and write a review for our blog. If you are interested, please send us a quick e-mail and tell us, why you're the one. First come - first served.

Bennett has been performing and teaching for the past 10 years.He's currently involved in a new musical written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, called "Bright Star," that is scheduled to hit broadway in early 2015. His personal website/blog is

Friday, 18 July 2014

Horse Mountain report from 26th North Wales Bluegrass Festival, Conwy

Set in the immediate vicinity of World Heritage Site Conwy Castle, this great little festival has been going steady for 26 years and counting. As one would expect from its geographical setting, the weather gods have not always been benign over the years - two years ago there was a torrential downpour leaving the site in a state that makes Glastonbury pale in comparison, last year it was really hot, this year was a nice mix, little rain, lots of sun, though a bit chilly by nightfall.

Alongside Jeni Hankins & Billy Kemp (out of Nashville) and Czech mainstay "New Section", "Horse Mountain" were the only non-UK contributors. Old-Timers like Brian Golbey and Chris Moreton shared the stage with well-seasoned bands such as "Britannia Band" and "The Morris Boys" whereas "Shake The Roots" catered to a younger, more eclectic audience. Truly, there was something for everyone (for the full line-up see The festival runs from Thursday evening to Sunday late afternoon, sprinkled with workshops on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

When first arriving in Conwy we were wondering why there was little if any presence of the festival in the medieval town - no posters, no flyers. When arriving at the nearby festival site we had all our questions answered: already on Thursday noon-time the camping area was more than two thirds full, and already a few jamming hotspots had developed. In other words, this festival does not need to spend any money on public advertising, it attracts quite a sizeable audience without it.

The hosts and promoters (Gill Williams and John Les) have been active as duo "Highly Strung" for many years now and, of course, they also perform at the festival. Huge thanks are due to them for their untiring effort and their perseverance in keeping this little gem alive over so many years. We greatly enjoyed two sets on stage and many hours of jamming in the field.

Next year's festival, the 27th is scheduled for July 2nd to 5th 2015.

More information about Horse Mountain can be found on their website and Facebook page.

MinierAcustica Summer Music Camp, Urbino (Italy) [updated]

MinierAcustica Summer Music Camp, Urbino (Italy)
Instrumental Instruction & Ensemble Coaching
The 9th MinierAcustica Music Camp at La Corte della Miniera will be held between August 24th  and August 30th in the beautiful rolling hills of the Marche region, near Urbino, Italy.
The lineup of instructors promises an excellent musical experience:
Russ Barenberg (USA) - guitar
Mike Compton (USA) - mandolin
Henrich Novak (SK) - dobro
Jean-Marie Redon (FR) - banjo
This year, in addition to the specific workshops for each instrument in the program, the teachers will lead students in a shared group practice. The morning will thus be dedicated, in equal shares, to the improvement of skills with your chosen instrument, learning tunes in the various classes (guitar, banjo, dobro or mandolin) and to the arrangement of these tunes in an ensemble under the direction of Mike Compton, Henrich Novak, Jean-Marie Redon and Russ Barenberg.
The camp itself is undertaken in a relaxed, friendly and family-like atmosphere with morning classes, afternoon activities and evening concerts and jams with lots of music, fun, great Italian food and wine. 
You can find more informations on MinierAcustica web site:
If you think about spending a week of this summer under hot Italian sky in beautiful countryside with music you love, people that share the same enthusiasm to learn something new and mainly have fun then don't hesitate and apply for the workshop here: sign up form. There are still few slots free!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

MinierAcustica Summer Music Camp, Urbino (Italy)

Running from August 24th to 30th, MinierAcustica will be running an acoustic music workshop in the Italian region of Marche near the picturesque town of Urbino.

Teachers for this workshop are:
  • Mike Compton - Mandolin
  • Russ Barenberg - Guitar
  • Jean-Marie Redon - Banjo
  • Henrich Novak - Dobro
MinierAcustica offers a special opportunity to all of its participating students. Not only will participants benefit by learning from these masters of their instruments, but will also improve by playing within a group under the coaching of the teachers.

More information can be found at the MinierAcustica website and follow the menu for the Blue Week

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Beppe Gambetta at the Locarno Folk Festival - 21-23 August 2014

The 3rd Locarno Folk Festival will take place from the 21st to the 23rd of August and, once again, will be held in the the garden of Teatro Paravento.
Beppe Gambetta will open the festival with a tribute to Pete Seeger who died at the beginning of this year. This will be followed by a Mediterranean night with I Liguriani e Kollektiv Istanbul. The festival will conclude with a “Noche Latina” with the Tango Tinto and Lariba (Cuba/CH). Not to be missed: a concert of local music with L’Alphorn Group, workshops and film screenings. The full programme can be found on the Locarno Folk Festival website.
Beppe’s tribute will celebrate the music and the life of Pete Seeger, father of folk music who died last February at the age of 94. Beppe will play music from Pete and his friends and will include songs that express the high ideals that Seeger stood up for in his life. Beppe will also tell stories and recollections of his meetings with this great man. Amongst the guests on stage during the tribute will be some children performing, as Pete surely would have loved to see. The evening will be introduced by Swiss journalist Alcide Bernasconi.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Beppe Gambetta 22nd International Workshop in Ambroz, Slovenia, 10-17 August 2014

Subscriptions for the 22nd Beppe Gambetta International Workshop (10-17 August 2014) in Ambroz, Slovenia are moving fast! Teachers for this year’s event (in addition to Beppe) will be Jack Lawrence (USA) and Doug Cox (Canada) – with their individual styles they will covering a wide musical territory.
It will be exciting to learn from the knowledge and experience of an icon of the acoustic guitar, Jack Lawrence, who partnered the great Doc Watson for 24 years, and it will be equally rewarding to be exposed to the versatility of Doug Cox, one of the most experienced teachers of the North American scene. Beppe will focus on traditional flatpicking from both sides of the Ocean and will talk about creativity using alternative techniques and alternate tunings.
The workshops will be involve lessons with panels of the three teachers together, with jam sessions and an open mic in the evenings. Saturday night, after the final show, Beppe will cook his "pasta col pesto" to end the workshop with the traditional taste of his hometown.
Many subscribers of this year are "first timers" and come from different nations: so Beppe is expecting an exciting injection of new energies to the Workshop to continue the tradition of generating unforgettable moments and new friendships.
More information about the Workshop can be found either on the Workshop website, on Beppe’s website, on the Workshop’s Facebook page or by e-mailing Beppe at the

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Beppe Gambetta's "Acoustic Evening" 2014

On May 8th, 9th and 10th the 14th Acoustic Night event was held at the Teatro Della Corte in Genova, Italy organized and produced by Beppe Gambetta and his wife Federica Calvino Prina.
This year was dedicated to the talents of the New Generation. On stage with Beppe was the songwriter Aoife O'Donovan, resonator guitarist Mike Witcher and cellist Rushad Eggleston. The Acoustic Night event was attended by 3,000 people with people coming from the USA, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK.
Three intense and unforgettable evenings brought the audience a program focused on new musical tendencies and virtuosity that also included traditional material.
Such is the success of the event, Acoustic Night 15 is adding a fourth night and is already scheduled for May 6, 7, 8 and 9, 2015.
See Beppe’s website for a list of his concert schedule
To give you a 'taste' of what took place during the 2014 event, and what you might expect in 2015, here are some videos of the Acoustic Evening.
Firstly, Beppe and Rushad performing (with Beppe in one of Rushad's hats).

Aoife O'Donovan with Mike Witcher, Rushad Eggleston and Beppe performing Aoife's 'Red & White & Blue & Gold'
..and finally, Rushad performing an introduction like only Rushad can..

Friday, 27 June 2014


Great news from Algirdas Klova of Luthuania:
Cover of the new CD

American music from the beginning of the 20th century is for the first time ever being performed and recorded in Lithuania by an unexpectedly born old time acoustic American country music project „VYDRAGA +" (lead by Algirdas Klova). This project is formed by all five members of the instrumental folk band „Vydraga" and representatives of three other genres: singer Aurelija Venskutė, banjo player Alius Sirgėtas and guitar player Augustinas Jankevičius. At the very end of this album you will find two songs (tracks 14 and 15) recorded with singer Miglė Kepežėniene.
For some of you the participation of „Vydraga"  in the promotion of country music might seem unexpected. However, if you take a look at the history of this band everything seems natural and consistent. This band not only perfectly performs Lithuanian folk music, they also play folk music of other countries, participate in world music projects with folk performers from all over the world, and jazz musicians. Gradually, getting to know other genres of music better and better, a wish to look further ahead appears natural.
„VYDRAGA +" (Algirdas Klova on left)

Thursday, 26 June 2014

New releases from Tom Travis (UK)

It is fair to say that Tom Travis is a UK bluegrass music pioneer. During his fifty-years in the music, Tom has been involved in every aspect of British Bluegrass from being an organiser of the Edale Bluegrass Festival in the English Peak District to being a founder member of the British Bluegrass Music Association (BBMA) including serving as its Chairman for six years.

Tom is currently only playing occasional concerts while he recuperates from heart surgery but he is still very busy recording.

In April of this year, Tom released 'A Room For Jesus'. This includes some of Tom's own gospel songs as well as classics such as Bill Monroe's 'Wait a Little Longer' and the Stanley Brothers' 'The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn' and 'I’m Ready To Go'.

Additionally, Tom releases 'The Essence Of The Man' on June 23rd.

The Essence Of The Man is mostly just Tom, his old Martin D28 and a collection of self-penned songs. Tom says that this album is a temporary departure from the Bluegrass band format to enjoy writing and performing songs in other styles.

Tom's CDs are available via download from Amazon or iTunes