Friday, 28 September 2007

2008/2009 EBMA European Bluegrass Directory

Thierry Schoysman has now officially started to collect information for the seventh, 2008/2009 edition of EBMA's European Bluegrass Directory. It will be published on the occasion of the 11th EWOB Festival on May 1, 2008. Advertisement enquiries (competitive prices) can be directed at Paolo Dettwiler.

And here is Thierry's invitation to send in your entry!

Every two years the EBMA edits a directory containing useful bluegrass contacts in Europe: bands, clubs, festivals, luthiers, promotors, radios, associations, publications, ...

It is now time to prepare the 2008 update. I'm looking for people in every European country who can help updating the data of his region. The idea is to start from the data of last issue. I have those in excel files in which you can update, ad and delete the data you know about.

All suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance !

Chèr(e)s bluegrasseus,

Tous les 2 ans la EBMA édite un annuaire contenant des contacts utiles pour le monde bluegrass européen : groupes, clubs, festivals, luthiers, organisateurs, radios, associations, publications, ...

Il est maintenant temps de préparer la mise à jour 2008. Je recherche des personnes dans chaque pays européen qui peuvent aider à mettre à jour les données de leurs régions. L'idée est de démarrer avec les données de la dernière édition. J'ai des fichiers excel dans lesquels vous
pouvez rajouter, enlever et modifier les données que vous connaissez.

Toutes les suggestions sont les bienvenues. Merci d'avance !

Free Frailing Banjo Workshop

Wolfgang from Kiel, Germany, has started a banjo blog and is organising a free banjo workshop in northern Germany.

Chris Jones Announces New Website

Chris Jones, a veteran of the European bluegrass circuit, has announced the release of his new website featuring video samples and a music store.

Enthusiastic Reception for Rhonda Vincent in Switzerland

(Rhonda Vincent Press Release) Rhonda Vincent & The Rage introduced what Ragin' LIVE is all about; before an international audience, during the 19th Annual Country Nights Festival in Gstaad, Switzerland on September 21 and 22, 2007.

Two SOLD OUT evenings of enthusiastic International country music fans, traveled thousands of miles from many countries; including France, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Spain, Canada, Switzerland, and many others to join in the village wide festival.

For some it was their first exposure to bluegrass, and an impression they won't soon forget. Rhonda and her group received standing ovations and encore performances on both nights. The crowd jumped to their feet in the middle of their first show, as Hunter Berry, (a 5-time Fiddle Player of the Year at the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America) performed the title song from his new solo project "Wow Baby," and continued to pound their feet causing a great roar, as the crowd insisted on more of the song, of which Rhonda and her group obliged. This was repeated on the second night when Kenny Ingram played the "Foggy Mountain Breakdown".

"Tonight is a great night for bluegrass in Switzerland," stated Rosi Miller of the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association. "This is a landmark occasion for bluegrass music in Europe!" The organization was there with brochures and information about bluegrass music.

On their final encore performance, festival promoter Marcel Bach joined them onstage, and insisted they play "Wow Baby" once again for their final song. And the crowd went wild!

Rhonda and every member of her group, (Hunter Berry, Mickey Harris, Kenny Ingram, and Josh Williams), received a thunderous reception, and was quickly deemed the "hit of the festival" by the crowd of fans surrounding Rhonda as she greeted each one for signatures and photos after the show.

Also appearing at the festival were Riders In The Sky, Julie Roberts, and Randy Travis. The entire entourage was treated to four days of Swiss culture. Riding a roller coaster amidst a snow topped Glacier, viewing the Matterhorn, and listening to the songs of the cows, as they paraded through town decorated with flowers and bells of all sizes, shapes, and sounds.

Check out Rhonda's daily messages and photos from Gstaad, on her message board at

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Bluegrass workshops in Norway

The Risor Bluegrass Festival includes a three-day workshop in all the bluegrass instruments, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the festival week. This year there were more than sixty students, ranging from the young and inexperienced to well qualified band musicians.

The festival works together with Petr Brandejs from the Czech Republic in order to make this one of the best bluegrass workshop around. Petr is well known for the excellent bluegrass workshops he has organized in his homeland the last twelve years, and he brings with him some of the best European bluegrass musicians and instructors to the workshop.

Risor Bluegrass Workshops will take place again in the middle of July 2008. If you are interested, check the festival website for info. Program and workshop details should be available sometime in November 2007, and you need to sign up through the website in order to reserve your place for next year. Contact Dagfinn Pedersen by e-mail.

Boogiemen keep busy

The Blue Grass Boogiemen (NL) report a very busy spring and summer season. In June alone they played twenty-five shows, mostly in the Netherlands, but also in Norway, Denmark, and Switzerland. One of the highlights was performing at the Zwarte Cross festival in the Netherlands, with 93,000 people in the audience over the weekend.

One of the tunes Arnold Lasseur wrote, 'My heart still beats for only you' (from the album Who's afraid of the Boogiemen?, Vandiver Records), is going to be used for a Swiss motion picture written and directed by Micha Lewinsky. He will also be the mandolin player for Butch Robins's World International Blue Grass Band which performs at IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2007.

Bluegrass in Basel: coming concerts

Regional bluegrass association Bluegrass in Basel (Switzerland) announces a Thanksgiving Show on 22 November 2007 with Chris Stuart & Backcountry (USA), as well as an appearance on 28 February 2008 by Hickory Project (USA).

Vilnius Bluegrass 2007: 16-17 November

The city of Vilnius, Lithuania, hosts its third bluegrass festival on Friday and Saturday, 16 and 17 November 2007. Sponsors include the public organization Muzikonas, the EWOB Association, the Country Saloon club, and Vilnius City Hall.

Bluegrass is still very new in Lithuania, and the festival aims to make it more widely known and played among professional musicians, young people, and a wider audience. The impetus for Vilnius Bluegrass began some years ago when Lithuanian musicians took part in the European World of Bluegrass Festival in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands. Algirdas Klova, art director of the Vilnius festival, has since been honoured as a Pioneer of European Bluegrass.

The festival consists of two public concerts on 16 and 17 November 2007; open workshops for 5-string banjo, guitar, dobro, mandolin, and singing, taught by well-known bluegrass musicians from the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Lithuania, and other countries; and jam sessions after the concerts, involving all the musicians.

The project initiator and manager is Jūratė Klovienė (Jūnė). For more information, see the Country Saloon website or contact Algirdas Klova: tel. + 370 5 2124424; mobile +370 680 84399; e-mail.
Country Saloon e-mail

EBMA board meets at Omagh

The EBMA Board met on 1 and 2 September at the 16th Annual Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival in Omagh, Northern Ireland to discuss the short- and long-range future of the organisation. The discussion led to new insights and a positive outlook on the future.

Prospective new board members present included Richard Hurst (Northern Ireland) and Dagfinn Pedersen (Norway). Martino Coppo (Italy) will also be proposed for membership of the EBMA board at the elections at next year's Annual General Membership Assembly (1 May 2008).

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Red Wine in the USA

Red Wine, from Genoa, Italy, will form part of the European presence at the IBMA's World of Bluegrass in Nashville, TN, in the first week of October. They will be playing showcases, including the Prolux Guitar Showcase at Suite 102 at 11.00 p.m. on Tuesday and the International Suite showcase, hosted by the EBMA, at Suite 201 at 11.45 p.m. on Wednesday.

They will also broadcast on Michael Johnathon's WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour from Lexington, KY, on Monday 1 October, and will end their tour by appearing on the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2007 Festival in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, on Sunday 7 October.

The WoodSongs show will be broadcast live on the internet on Monday 1 October at 7.00–8.15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Continental bands at Longford festival

The sixth Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival took place at Longford, Ireland, on 13-16 September, with its successful formula combining Irish music with bluegrass, old-time, and other Americana. Among the impressive lineup (see here or the festival website), a big impression was made by two bands from the Continent of Europe - the Ranch House Favourites (NL), now on their third time at Longford, and the Lluis Gomez Quartet (E).

Lluis, one of the founders of the Al Ras Festival in Spain, was featured in the Sept. 2005 issue of Banjo News Letter. His tune 'James' can be heard on the BNL website. He also contributed an article, 'The banjo in España', to the December 2006 BNL, with a tab of his version of the Chick Corea tune 'Spain'.

Condolences go to Bertie van der Heijdt of the Ranch House Favourites, whose father died during the Festival, after the band's first concert appearance. Bertie's place on the upright bass was taken by Sean McKerr of Lurgan, Co. Armagh.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Crooked Jades on movie soundtrack

Erik Pearson's original tune 'Fork and file' from the latest Crooked Jades CD, World's on fire, is part of the soundtrack for a new film, Into the wild, which opens this week.

The fourth film directed by actor Sean Penn, who based it on Jon Krakauer's best-selling book, Into the wild combines the scenery of the western USA with the real-life story of a young idealist, Christopher McCandless, who spent two ascetic years in the wilderness. More info about the film is in this article. Photos, videos, and more are on the Into the wild website.

The Crooked Jades will tour Europe extensively in October 2008. For further info, contact Rainer Zellner at the Music Contact roots music booking and production agency, Saarstrasse 8, D-72070 Tübingen, Germany;
+49 (0) 7073 2250; fax +49 (0) 7073 2134; UStID: DE146940684; e-mail.

Transatlantic Bluegrass School, 7-11 May 2008

Transatlantic Bluegrass, the forum set up by Bluegrass Wales, announces a new five-day bluegrass school - Transatlantic Bluegrass School, to be held on 7-11 May 2008, during the early part of next year's European World of Bluegrass Month, in the beautiful coastal village of Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK.

Instructors already confirmed for the course include Kenny Smith (guitar), Amanda Smith (singing), Ross Nickerson (banjo), and Mike Bub (bass). Enrolment is limited to 20 students for each course. Total cost: £195. Full details are on the Transatlantic Bluegrass website.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Happy birthday, Rawhide

Waitin' for a train: Rawhide on their trip to Denmark

Rawhide, Belgium's senior bluegrass band and the only band to have played at every European World of Bluegrass Festival, celebrates its thirtieth anniversary with a concert and party (admission free) on Thursday 4 October 2007 at the Kunstcentrum Kaleidoscoop, Molenstraat 50, 2640 Mortsel, Antwerp, Belgium, starting at 8.00 p.m. As many previous band members as possible will be there. A flyer can be downloaded from the band's website.

Further steps towards a European Union of bluegrass: Rawhide played in Denmark at the Fredericia Bluegrass Festival in May. Photos of the trip can be seen here. The band reports:

We had a great time, not only doing the gig itself, but also because we ran into some old friends. Late night jam sessions were the obvious result. Anytime Denmark calls us, we'll be on our way!

NEW: Some of that feeling is now available to all - Rawhide is launching a DVD, Live in Denmark, showing the unique atmosphere that the band creates on stage. It includes an uncut one-hour show from the Fredericia Festival, and as bonus a 25-minute set at EWOB 2007, plus an original tune recorded in 1993. For further details see here.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Tim O'Brien and Turquoise: update

Joël Herbach, former organiser of the Festival Bluegrass de Toulouse, and now president of the environmental association Allier Sauvage, reports that the concert featuring Tim O'Brien with Turquoise will take place at the Théâtre Valéry Larbaud cultural centre, Vichy, France, on Sunday 21 October 2007 at 15.00, instead of at 21.00 on Saturday as previously announced. The date has been changed to avoid a clash with the rugby final on TV. The new time will also allow people to travel longer distances to the show without having to book accommodation in Vichy.

As Christian Séguret will be at the Olympia with Hughes Haufray on Sunday, Martino Coppo of Red Wine will be Turquoise's mandolinist for this concert, along with Jean-Marie Peschiutta (guitar, vocals), Natalie Shelar (bass, vocals), and Jean-Marc Delon (banjo, vocals).

The hall opens at 14.45, with a presentation of the Allier Sauvage website at 15.00. In honour of Tim O'Brien's Irish roots, the Mighty Sparrows (Ulysse Herbach; Franck Renard, uilleann pipes; Fabien Guiloineau, bouzouki) will open the show at 15.15, and the main acts will begin at 15.50. An apéro-rencontre will be held from 17.30 to 19.00 at the brasserie Le Cyrano opposite the theatre. A map showing the location of the theatre is here.

Admission €15 (concessions €12; under 12s free). Bookings can be made up to 15 October: online at or, or by telephone (tous tarifs) Centre Culturel Valery Larbaud, +33 04 70 32 15 33.

Handing down tradition

The Musselwhite Family's bluegrass debut CD, Handing down tradition, is ready to order online. It will be reviewed soon in the Netherlands magazine Country Gazette and will also be available from County Sales. All friends and fans of the band are invited to post a comment on the website's guestbook and spread the news of the release. Cindy Musselwhite adds:

Since this is a new site, if you experience any difficulties please don't hesitate to let us know. If you'd like to see us on your favorite festival, let the promoter know and feel free to send them our website.

The Musselwhite Family can be contacted for booking by e-mail. Now based in Peachtree City, Georgia, USA, they were the main feature in Bluegrass Europe #34 (Oct./Nov. 2003).

Monday, 17 September 2007

New Acoustic Gallery: concerts and workshops

Oliver Waitze reports that the following events will be held later this year at the New Acoustic Gallery, Solingen, Germany:


27 October: Oliver Waitze & Duo Vibracao
18 November: Sara K.
30 November: Beppe Gambetta


26-28 October: Mandolin weekend workshop with Jesper Rübner
Themes: Bluegrass, Improvisation

17 November: Flatpicking guitar workshop with Oliver Waitze
'Master technique for everyone'

And in May 2008: Banjo workshop with the legendary Bill Keith

For information on all these events, contact
Oliver Waitze
New Acoustic Gallery
Neuenhofer Str. 122
D - 42657 Solingen
Phone: +49 (0)212/2474007
Fax: +49 (0)212/2474288

Sunday, 16 September 2007

IBMA honours Marko Cermak

Marko Cermak of the Czech Republic, musician, instructor, writer, and artist, will receive a Distinguished Achievement Award from the IBMA during the World of Bluegrass Business Conference at Nashville, TN. He and other recipients will be honoured at the Special Awards Luncheon on Thursday 4 October 2007 in the Renaissance Hotel ballroom.

Marko (born 1940) built his own five-string banjo in the 1960s (inspiring the work of later Czech luthiers), published a banjo instruction book in 1975, contributed to Banjo Newsletter from 1978 to 1987, and spread bluegrass directly as a member of two bands, the Whitestars and the Greenhorns. He is the fourth person from outside the US to receive a Distinguished Achievement Award, following Toshio and Saburo Watanabe of Japan (1995) and Rienk Janssen of the Netherlands (2000).

News of the award is included in the first issue of the IBMA's electronic newsletter, and can also be read through this link.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Niall Toner Band mission statement for 2008

Ireland's Niall Toner Band have issued their mission statement and plan for 2008, which includes the release of their third CD, We believe in clean endings (Avalon Records AVCD 006). The album is a further contribution by the NTB of new original material in the fields of bluegrass and acoustic country music.

Print publications by the NTB in 2008 will include Nuts and bolts, a workshop manual for songwriters; the Niall Toner Band songbook, with lyrics to over 100 original compositions; and the NTB gig list, with contact data for over 200 festivals, promoters, and venues, for the use of other bands and solo artists.

The band will also continue to bring its music to the widest possible audiences through appearances outside the bluegrass and folk circuits. The full text of the release can be read here.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Flatt & Scruggs, Paul Craft among nominees for Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame

Pieter Groenveld of Strictly Country Records reports:

We are very proud to announce that Strictly Country Records artist Paul Craft is among the fifteen nominees for induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Paul is recognized here for his song 'Hank Williams, you wrote my life', performed by the late Moe Bandy.

Paul recorded his own version of this song on his Brother Jukebox CD (SCR-49) (produced by Liz Meyer) with such friends as Bekka Bramlett, Charlie Sizemore, Scott Vestal, Rob Ickes, a.o.

Other Paul Craft CDs produced by Liz Meyer on Strictly Country Records include Raised by the railroad line (SCR-52) with John Hartford’s Steam Powered Aero-Plane band, and Too bad you’re no good (SCR-62), with Del McCoury’s band.

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs are also nominated for induction in the Songwriter/Artist category, for their song 'Don't get above your raisin''.

For further details on Paul Craft's CDs and other SCR products, see the Strictly Country website or contact Pieter Groenveld, SCR Productions, PO Box 628, 2130 AP Hoofddorp, the Netherlands.
Tel. +31 (0)297 347 101; fax +31 (0)297 347 400; e-mail.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Mideando String Quintet at IBMA

The Mideando String Quintet, #1 European Bluegrass Band 2006, from Padua, Italy, will represent the EBMA and the European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) Festival during the Trade Show at IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2007 in Nashville.

The MSQ comprises Riccardo Targhetta (lead vocal, percussion), Fabiano Guidi Colombi (steel-string & classical guitars, vocal), Mirko Zanzarin (electric bass, fretless bass, vocal), Alessandro Chiarelli (violin, vocal), and Stefano Santangelo (mandolin, octave mandolin, mandocello, harmonica, vocal).

The band's latest CD, Tutte le direzioni, will be unveiled during IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2007. They can be contacted at the EBMA-EWOB + Strictly Country Records booth (table #30) at the Trade Show in the Convention Center. In addition to other appearances during the week, they will be playing the following after-hours showcases:

Tues. 2 Oct. (night): 12.15 a.m., International Suite, Convention Center, Room 201; sponsored by EBMA.

Tues. 2 Oct. (night): 1.30 a.m., Bronzewound Showcase, Convention Center, Room 107; sponsored by Darwin Davidson, Bronzewound Bluegrass, WERU-FM, Blue Hill, Maine.

Wed. 3 Oct. (night): 12.15 a.m., International Suite, Convention Center, Room 201; sponsored by EBMA.

Liz Meyer says:

Mideando String Quintet is far from typical of our European bluegrass bands. The fact that European musicians selected one of our most avant-garde groups to represent them at IBMA this year speaks volumes for the admiration and respect that Mideando has won from their colleagues for their high standards of musicianship and engaging showmanship. We hope the World of Bluegrass will give them a warm welcome!

Read Liz's full press release here.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Peter Rowan in Europe, 11-24 November 2007

Peter Rowan (USA) will make a two-week tour of Europe during November, beginning on Sunday 11th at Paradiso, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The next confirmed date is Tuesday 13th at La Pomme d'Eve, Paris, France. Nine remaining dates are in Scotland, England, and Wales. Full details are on the artist's website.

FlatMEETing in Milan, 22 September

If you happen to be in Italy on Saturday 22 September, make sure not to miss the very first meeting of the Italian flatpickers organised by Roberto Dalla Vecchia in Milan. The meeting takes place at the Acoustic Guitar Village inside the MEET Music Fair. Bring your guitar and join Roberto on stage!!!

For more information contact Roberto by e-mail or visit his website.

EBMA membership through PayPal

Angelika Torrie, EBMA treasurer, reports:

The EBMA has now installed PayPal as a secure partner to accept membership fees through the EBMA website. You can now become a member or renew your membership instantly by clicking the appropriate box, and pay with your credit card online. You don't have to own a PayPal account to do this. However, if you prefer to pay through a different channel, please contact us by e-mail.

Surge in attendance at 16th Omagh festival

The Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, reports that over 10,000 people attended during the three days of the 16th Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival on 31 August-2 September 2007. This represents an increase of over 30 per cent over the attendance in 2006, and approximately 50 per cent over the figure that earned the Festival a Northern Ireland Tourism award for Event of the Year a couple of years ago.

Among a stellar lineup, the bands from continental Europe included Red Wine (Italy), who have a new website and a MySpace site; Sunny Side (Czech Republic); and Robirohi (Estonia). Red Wine and Sunny Side were both returning to the Festival by public demand; Robirohi, making their Omagh debut, also made a big impact at the gospel concert on Sunday 2 September.

A full press release can be found here.

Uncle Earl in Europe, November 2007

KC Groves of Uncle Earl with the Dutch western swing band Ranch House Favourites at the 2006 Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival

The neo-old-time, all-girl string band Uncle Earl, who were featured in the August 2007 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, will make a two-week tour in Europe this autumn, beginning in London on 5 November, playing for the next three nights in the Netherlands, and then returning to the UK for ten more shows. Full details are on the band's website.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Rhonda Vincent in Switzerland, 21-2 Sept. 2007

Rhonda Vincent and the Rage will be making time in their busy schedule for a brief visit to Europe later this month. The Queen of Bluegrass and her band will play two dates at the Gstaad Country Music Festival, on Friday 21 September and Saturday 22 September. Her MySpace site shows 20.00 as the time for both shows.

Ten days earlier Rhonda Vincent will make her debut duet appearance on camera with country music's Gene Watson on 11 September in Nashville, TN, at the Grand Ole Opry House during the Tuesday night Opry. They will sing their new duet 'Together again' from the upcoming Gene Watson album. This performance will air on 15 September 2007 on GAC (Great American Country).

Monday, 3 September 2007

2nd Navacerrada Bluegrass Festival, 14 July 2007

Autopista-6 (Javier Sánchez 'Viermont', banjo; Montse Serramia, mandolin; Alfredo Gómez 'Friki', bass, vocals; Jesús del Saz-Orozco, guitar, vocals)

Javier Sanchez of the Spanish band Autopista-6 reports that the 2nd Navacerrada Bluegrass Festival was held on 14 July 2007. Bands taking part included Viagrass, Highnoon, Foigrass, the Lluis Gómez Quintet (whose introduction of bluegrass harmonica with a solid rhythm section was one of the highlights of the Festival), the Lilly Drumeva Band (Bulgaria), Autopista-6, Mar y los Tex, and Leon Hunt & Hootenanny (UK). The festival began and ended with great jamming sessions in the streets and terrazas of Navacerrada. Javier concludes:

All in all, the best thing of all was the responsive audience and the friendly atmosphere that surrounded the event all the time. Although bluegrass and country music is not a well-known phenomenon here in Spain, the amount of people that attended was a great success, and so was their response. That's why we have already started getting ready for next year's III Navacerrada ´08 Bluegrass and Country Festival! We hope to see you around then!

A full report with photos of the bands can be seen here.