Thursday, 11 June 2009

Banjo workshops in Belgium and France

The 24th annual acoustic music classes held in Virton, Belgium, got under way with everyone in good spirits. For the seventh consecutive year, Jean-Marie Redon led the banjo workshop. This year saw a fine crop of dedicated students who put on a fault-free recital to mark the completion of classes. As for their instruments, there was a Fender, two Odes, a Kapek, a Stelling, an Ida, a Goldtone, a Coufleau, a Washburn, a Framus, and two Celtics. And here's a photo of the same in the company of their happy owners.

[EBB editor's note: the photo below is added for readers who prefer not to know what banjo players look like.]

Preparations are already under way for the 25th edition of Virton, which will indeed be special. For more information, visit this link.

No sooner had he returned from Belgium than Jean-Marie set to organizing a workshop for his banjo students with the great Alan Munde. La Grange Rouge [in La Chapelle Naude], an association devoted to all forms of traditional music, had invited Alan, Byron Berline, and Jim Hurst to give a master class and concert on Easter week-end.

Paris banjo workshop: Alan Munde in yellow hoodie

Alan wanted to spend a few days in Paris with his charming wife Kitty, and Jean-Marie saw an opportunity to expose his students to one of the masters of bluegrass banjo. The workshop took place at the Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture in Ris-Orangis, near Paris, with over a dozen participants. James Field, who plays guitar in Jean-Marie's bluegrass band, Blue Railroad Train, provided rhythm backup during Alan Munde's demonstrations.

More information and photos are on the and websites.