Monday, 30 November 2009

A new member of the G2 family

The second son of Erik Igelström of Sweden and his wife Hanna was born on the afternoon of Thursday 26 November at home in Södersjukhuset, Stockholm. Not yet named when the first announcement was made, the new arrival is a robust (about 4.5 kg) new brother for two-and-a-half-year-old Milton.

The proud father is the mandolin player for the G2 Bluegrass Band. Read more in today's post on the original Bluegrass Blog.

Beppe Gambetta at the New Acoustic Gallery, 6 Dec. 2009

World-class guitarist Beppe Gambetta will present his new CD, Rendez-vous, in a solo concert at the New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, on Sunday 6 December, beginning at 8.00 p.m.

Beppe Gambetta, 'with Italian roots in his blood and American music in his heart', has created Rendez-vous as a series of duets with the guitarists he most admires. Tickets for the concert are €18 VV - €22 AK - €14 for students and pensioners. The hotline for booking is +49 0212/2474007.

New Acoustic Gallery
Oliver Waitze
Neuenhofer Str. 122
42657 Solingen (Höhscheid)
Tel. +49 0212/2474007

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Lilly of the West concert at the Bulgarian national radio

L-r: Rumen Boyadjiev, Lilly Drumeva, Svoboda Bozduganova

Lilly Drumeva reports from Bulgaria:

25 November 2009 was a memorable evening for musicians and fans at the Bulgarian national radio in Sofia. It was a special concert, recorded live at the beautiful Studio 1 Hall, and packed with more than 250 people. Recordings will be archived in the 'golden Bulgarian radio fund' to be played on special occasions. Lilly of the West performed a mix of country, bluegrass, western swing, blues, and some original material.

The band featured Lilly Drumeva (vocal), Yasen Vasilev (guitar), Ivan Penchev (fiddle), and Svoboda Bozduganova (upright bass), with guests Rayko Pepelanov (guitar), Michail Shihskov (dobro, piano) and Rumen Boyadjiev (drums). The concert finished on a high note with 'My window faces the south', on which everyone played a solo, followed by Leonard Cohen’s 'Hallelujah' as an encore. Guests were treated to a glass of wine and snacks after the show.

The encore, 'Hallelujah', can be seen on YouTube.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

4 Wheel Drive at Omagh

Thanks to Jan Michielsen, guitar player with 4 Wheel Drive (D/NL/B), fans of the band can find photos of 4WD on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog, showing them at this September's Omagh festival in Northern Ireland. On the left: Ulli Sieker in the background as Joost van Es and Jurgen Biller get intense on fiddle and banjo.

Videos of seventeen live numbers by the band at a show in the Netherlands can also be seen on YouTube.

Friday, 27 November 2009

EBMA board meeting in Prague

The EBMA board: Martino Coppo, Richard Hurst (chair), Dagfinn Pedersen, Angelika Torrie, Petr Brandejs, Rienk Janssen

The full membership of the EBMA board of directors attended a successful and productive meeting in Prague on 20-22 November. All issues arising from the agenda were discussed, including:

*Review of activities and developments since AGM and La Roche Festival
*2nd European Bluegrass Summit – 2009 task teams update – action plan for Feb. 2010
*Non-US artists performing/not performing at IBMA WOB – review and report
*Website and European Bluegrass Blog update and performance
*Print media updates [magazine publication report and future plans]
*Review of national representatives and contributors project
*Internal structures and EBMA strategy 2011 and beyond

A job well done (NB: board members pay all their own expenses)

Treasurer and webmaster Angelika Torrie reports:

Rosta Capek did a great job in arranging for our accommodation and meeting facilities, and with the help of Jiri Kralik (aka Fiddle George) we had a wonderful evening out jamming with some of our Czech musician friends. Ondra Plucha and Risa Podhrasky of Blackjack, Jiri Kralik, Jiri Bok, and Tom Drdaki joined board members Petr Brandejs, Martino Coppo, and Angelika Torrie in playing, while the others and some guests enjoyed listening into the late hours.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Emmy & the Bluegrass Pals

Emmy & the Pals at work

Emmy & the Bluegrass Pals are a traditional-bluegrass-oriented four-piece band based in Drenthe, in the north-east Netherlands, comprising Emmy Benning (upright bass, vocals), Johan Lubben (guitar, vocals, mandolin), Jan Klungel (banjo, vocals), and Ron Duursma (guitar, vocals).

You can see and hear more of the band on their MySpace site and on YouTube. For bookings and more info, 'phone Johan Lubben at +31 (0)638696273.

Johan, Emmy, Ron, Jan

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Tangarine & Friends: folk/ roots/ bluegrass from the Netherlands

Thanks to Floris de Vries, banjo-player in Tangarine & Friends (NL), for news of the band - 'seven young musicians with a big heart for folk and bluegrass music', who play their own folk songs with traditional bluegrass instruments, and share in their songs their vision on politics, religion, and life.

Tangarine & Friends started out with the brothers Arnout and Sander Brinks who started writing songs at an early age, influenced by Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles. After a few years of playing in a changing combination of band members, their first album, Between the lines, was released in January 2008. Their second album was released not long after that, in October 2008, with the name Fields of poetry. Later more people joined the band and Tangarine became Tangarine & Friends.

Last month they released a new single, 'Fields of poetry', with a very fancy videoclip on YouTube. Last August the band recorded their third album, which is scheduled for release in January 2010.

Tel. +31 (0)6 15 264 250

DRC Entertainment
Dalipassage 46
7811DB Emmen
Tel. +31 (0)6 53 977 391

Deadline for EWOB 2010 applications

If your band wants to play at the 13th EWOB Festival (13-15 May 2010) at Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, but has not yet sent in an application - there is still time!

The deadline for applying has been moved to 1 December 2009. Go to the Band Application page of the EWOB Festival website, where you will find all the necessary information and can download the printable PDF application form.

As soon as possible, you should also send from the Band Application page a notification that you are applying. Your application package, when posted, should be postmarked not later than 1 December.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

New stock in the New Acoustic Gallery

Oliver Waitze
of the New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, reports that in the last few days many interesting new items - books, instruments, accessories, and CDs - have been added to the Gallery's stock.

The books include Jim Mills's Gibson Mastertone flathead 5-string banjos and Manfred Fuchs's Gypsy jazz workshop; the accessories include new Blue Chip picks and Paige capos, mandolin tailpieces, arm-rests, and ToneGards; the CDs include Mike Marshall albums (left); and the instruments include the Weber mandocello (right).

All of these can be ordered through the NAG Internet Shop or by the Hotline: +49 0212/2474007.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Partner with the Bluegrass Museum in the new Ambassadors Program!

The International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensboro, KY, sends this message to all bluegrass associations:

Dear Bluegrass Lovers,

The International Bluegrass Music Museum wants to partner with you! We’re starting an official Bluegrass Museum Ambassadors Program, and we’re inviting your association to participate.

Your association will appoint or elect a person who is willing and enthusiastic about being an Ambassador from your association to the International Bluegrass Music Museum. This Museum Ambassador will work with the Bluegrass Museum on special projects, report news and information for our newsletter, report Museum news back to your association for members and newsletters, encourage Museum membership and donations, encourage donation of bluegrass artifacts to the Museum, and attend a yearly meeting of Ambassadors at ROMP in Owensboro each year. ROMP takes place the 4th weekend of June.

Ambassadors will receive a complimentary IBMM membership, a VIP ROMP pass (which includes VIP access to all events, backstage privileges, meals with Artists/Pioneers), and an Ambassadors t-shirt. The museum will arrange low-cost lodging for your stay at ROMP, getting you in on our artists’ rates (typically $54/night + tax).

What we need from you:

Designate your official Museum Ambassador and send us the following information.

Association name:
Mailing address:
Phone number:
E-mail address:
T-shirt size: S M L XL 2XL

Please mail this information to the address below or by e-mail to Gabrielle Gray

International Bluegrass Music Museum
Attn: Bluegrass Ambassadors
207 East Second Street
Owensboro, KY 42303

1st Bluegrass Workshop at Nyíregyháza, Hungary

Multinational quartet playing the Foosball Special

Ondra speaking about how a bluegrass band works

Workshop participants

Thanks to Tölgyesi Péter, who reports:

The 1st Bluegrass Workshop at Nyíregyháza, Hungary, was held last weekend. The international instructor team was made of four members of the Czech bluegrass band Křeni (Ondra Kozák, guitar, fiddle; Michal Wawrzyczek, banjo; Lukáš Rytíř, bass; Karel Začal, dobro) with Michal Barok from Slovakia added on the mandolin.

Three days of staying at Nyíregyháza contained the instruction of all major bluegrass instruments, the build-up of a bluegrass band including the function of each member, build-up of harmony vocals, two concerts, and of course many many fun by jamming, talking, playing foosball, zombie party, etc.

We would like to say thanks for all the instructors and especially Jónás Tibor, the organizer who made this workshop possible. We hope to meet again next year!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Tony Trischka School of Banjo online

The Tony Trischka School of Banjo makes it possible for pickers anywhere in the world to register ($60 for three months) for online lessons at beginning, intermediate, or advanced level from one of the greatest living banjoists. The student body now includes pickers from England, Germany, Spain, and Australia.

The website already has over 160 video lessons, and more are being added - clawhammer lessons from Bob Carlin are coming soon. In addition, a student can get personal banjo instruction by sending Tony Trischka a video via the site and receiving his response.

The many features of the site are well worth checking out. A YouTube video taken at IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2009 includes a lot of good music: the 'blazing Czech player' mentioned is Martin Fridrich of COP (CZ). Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for forwarding news of the TTSB.

Friday, 20 November 2009

G2: back from 'two incredible weeks'

The G2 Bluegrass Band (Sweden), #1 European Bluegrass Band 2007, are back from the 'two incredible weeks' of their third trip to the USA. The highlights included appearing on the Bluegrass Legends concert series in Chicago, on the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour in Lexington, KY (the show can be seen here), and of course at IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2009 (see photo above).

The band will spend an extended period in North America from June 2010. To book them in the US and Canada, contact Roe Entertainment; for bookings in Europe, contact

Tobias Strömberg
Åsegård 72
686 97 Lysvik
Cell: +46-070-2294505

You can sign up here to receive G2's newsletters.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Naomi Sommers in Europe

Having been touring in Germany, England, and Scotland earlier this autumn, Naomi Sommers (shown above with her father Phil Rosenthal) is beginning a series of shows in the Netherlands, as follows:

19 Nov. House Concert, Zuidwolde Burg, Netherlands
20 Nov. Cultureel Centrum Kerk 11, Zuiderdiep 505, Valthermond, Netherlands, 8.00 p.m.
21 Nov. Cafe Delfts Blauw, Kleine Berg 60, Eindhoven, Netherlands, 9.30 p.m.
22 Nov. Taverne De Waag, Damstraat, Haarlem, Netherlands, 5.00-7.00 p.m.
23 Nov. Musiekvenster, Radio Beverwijk, Netherlands, 8.00 p.m.

Phil Rosenthal and Naomi Sommers are preparing a tour of Britain and Ireland in September 2010, which is being booked by the Grapevine Music agency in the UK.

La Fuente de Musica in Spain, 2010

Following the 'wonderfully successful and fabulously fun' old-time music weeks in Andalucia of the past three years, Kate Lissauer is pleased to announce that:

Spainmusic Old-Time weeks (La Fuente de Musica!) are happening again, as follows:
Saturday through Saturday, 24 April-1 May 2010
Sunday through Sunday, 2-9 May 2010
Saturday through Saturday, 2-9 October 2010

Dave Bing will be our leader for each of the first two weeks, teaching fiddle and banjo along with his faithful assistant Kate Lissauer, OR, if enrollment is sufficient, he will be joined by his brother Tim Bing.

Beverly Smith and Carl Jones will return for the October week.

It would help greatly in the planning if people enroll early. Return participants in particular should let Kate know of their intentions as soon as possible.

The residential weeks are held in a beautiful and remote part of mountainous southeastern Spain, near the village of El Fonte, Sorbas, an hour’s drive north of Almeria. The site is self-contained, all meals are provided and rooms are shared with one or two other people. Double rooms for couples are available. Non-playing spouses, friends and family members are welcome but they must charge the same fee to everyone. £475 per person, £240 per child 14 or under, and £375 for participants who are camping on site.

There is plenty to do in the area and nearby, including sightseeing in the national park, visits to beaches, rock climbing, hill walking, and visits to Granada or other places of cultural interest. (Although they have found in the past that no one particularly wants to go anywhere else once they have arrived!) Room, full board, tuition and use of all facilities, including a 20-meter swimming pool, are included in the price. Participants must provide their own transportation, and Kate can help and advise with that, and can arrange transport from Almeria airport, which can normally be shared with other participants.

A deposit of £100 will secure a place on the course. For more information, please e-mail Kate Lissauer.

Carter Stanley Memorial festival 2009

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for the poster (left) announcing this year's Carter Stanley Memorial festival. It will be held on 5 December 2009 at the U Staryho Rebela ('Old Rebel Saloon') in Sloupnice, Czech Republic, instead of on 28 November, as was earlier announced in the European Bluegrass Blog post of 13 June, which gave the background and other details of the festival.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A band's memories of La Roche 2009

The Skillet Lickers plus Colm Murphy (fiddle) playing next to a record stall in the covered market at La Roche (photo from Jim MacArdle)

The Skillet Lickers band (Jim MacArdle, Mick Dunne, Dick McGarry) from Drogheda, Ireland, have written of their experiences at the La Roche Bluegrass Festival 2009:

Our decision to go to the La Roche Bluegrass Festival at a relatively late stage had much to do with the dismal Irish weather, so we found their website, and from our first contacts by e-mail the thoroughly professional approach of the festival organisers shone through...

Chairman Christopher Howard-Williams and his 200 volunteers... provided wonderful food, transport, and assistance of every kind and made the festival the most musician-friendly event we have ever had the privilege to attend.

Read the band's full account on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band in Europe, Aug./Sept. 2010

After rave reviews for his performance at the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival in Shetland (12-14 Nov.), Peter Rowan has begun a three-day tour in southern England before headlining the Vilnius Bluegrass Festival in Lithuania this coming weekend. Full details are on the European Bluegrass Blog for 15 Oct.

Thanks to Al Evers of A-Train Entertainment, California, for the news that dates in Europe are being arranged for the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band for August/September 2010. The band consists of four distinguished figures in bluegrass and acoustic music: Peter Rowan (guitar, vocals), Keith Little (banjo, vocals), Paul Knight (bass, vocals), and Jody Stecher (mandolin, vocals).

Full details of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band and its members can be seen here. See also the entry on the European Booking Network page of the EBMA website. Promoters and event organisers who are interested in presenting this distinguished band should contact Al Evers by e-mail, post (A-Train Entertainment, 401 Grand Avenue, Ste. 300, Oakland, CA 94610, USA), phone (+1 510.893.4705), or fax (+1 510.893.4807).

Monday, 16 November 2009

New CD from Lou Reid & Carolina

Lou Reid & Carolina (USA) have a new CD on Rural Rhythm, My own set of rules.

This exciting band have expressed interest in coming to Europe. In 2007, when the IBMA enlisted members from outside the USA as MCs for World of Bluegrass's Fan Fest, Lou Reid & Carolina were introduced by Thierry Schoysman of Bluegrass in Belgium.

The band's sound can be sampled through the many videos on their YouTube channel, where you can see and hear Lou Reid not only with Carolina but with the Seldom Scene, Longview, and guests such as Bobby Hicks.

Other up-to-date news on the band is here and on their website.

Clem O'Brien: guitars for sale

Ireland's leading bluegrass vocalist and instrumentalist, Clem O'Brien, is selling two Furch guitars: a D34 Vintage Bluegrass (left) and a D62 (right).

Each comes with a professional case and an L.R. Baggs pickup and preamp. Full details are on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog. The suggested price for each guitar is €800. Contact Clem by e-mail.

Marty Stuart available for Europe, summer 2010

Didier Cere of Texas Boogie Productions announces that Marty Stuart - 'a huge US star several times awarded and a hell of a stage performer' (not to mention a dedicated supporter and performer of bluegrass music) - is available for Europe in summer 2010.

Contact Didier by e-mail for further info.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Mandolin Master Class in the Netherlands, 13 Dec. 2009

Kevin Lynch playing the great Joe Val's mandolin

Kevin Lynch (USA; now resident in the Netherlands) will give a Mandolin Master Class, beginning at 13:00, on Sunday 13 December 2009 in a private farmhouse studio at Appingedam, Groningen, in the north-east Netherlands. The class is limited to a maximum of eight students. All levels are welcomed.

* Each session is 90 minutes in length. Limited additional time is possible.
* Sessions include Group instruction; plus One-on-One private tutoring.
* Master Class fee is €45 per student / per session.
* Registration and payment in advance is required.
* Be tuned-up and ready to start on time!
* Learn how to improve your own unique style of playing.
* If there is time - a group jam before we return to real life!
* Kevin is open to addressing any issues, wishes, and needs a player may have.
* All questions and suggestions are encouraged.

To sign up, send an e-mail to Kevin, who will send you a one-page .pdf file with complete details.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Al Ras Festival, 7 November 2009

Lluís Gómez reports that the Al Ras Old-Time & Bluegrass Festival, held last weekend at Mollet del Valles, Barcelona, Spain, was a great success.

Lluís sends this link to a review of the Festival by Jean-Marie Redon and Sharon Lombardi, who were performing there as members of Blue Railroad Train. Also on the schedule were Lemak, from Aquitaine, France, whose original material is in the Basque language; the hosts, Barcelona Bluegrass Band; a Guitar Estravaganza; German dobroist Martin Gross; the Hillbilly Gypsies (Trae & Jamie Lynn Buckner) from Virginia, USA; and the Barcelona Ceilith Band.

Photos of all the acts can be seen in the Redon-Lombardi report. The report - which includes good advice on other things to see in Barcelona - appears in French; the website has a translator. More reviews are expected soon. Next year's Festival will be held on 6 November 2010.

Blue Highway, Alecia Nugent at Celtic Connections 2010

In the November/December 2009 issue of the e-magazine Bluegrass & More the Scottish Bluegrass Association reports that Blue Highway (above) and Alecia Nugent will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of US label Rounder Records in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 19 January 2010 as part of the Celtic Connections 2010 festival (see the EBB post of 28 October). Celtic Connections 2010 tickets are on sale now and can be booked online or by phone (+44 (0)141 353 8000).

The November e-newsletter of the British Bluegrass Music Association reports that Blue Highway celebrate their fifteenth anniversary with a special concert in Roanoke, VA, on 18 December. The band played their first show on New Year’s Eve 1994, with Tim Stafford (guitar), Shawn Lane (mandolin), Wayne Taylor (bass), Jason Burleson (banjo), and Rob Ickes (resonator guitar) - the same personnel as today. The occasion will also be marked by their CD Some day: the fifteenth anniversary collection.

Blue Highway were recently in Europe at the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival at Longford, Ireland, in September 2009.

G2 on the Tube

Subscribers to Bluegrass on the Tube receive by e-mail a video every day of bluegrass music, chosen from a very wide assortment of performers. Today, subscribers received 'Where the tall grass grows' by the G2 Bluegrass Band from Sweden (#1 European Bluegrass Band 2007), who are making a big impact in the USA.

The song can also be heard on Cosmos Records' YouTube channel, together with G2's 'All I need'. Other videos of the band at live shows can be seen on their MySpace site. G2 have recently been spending time in the recording studio.

Editors' note: With the publication of this post, there are now 1,000 posts on the European Bluegrass Blog.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Banjo Roots

The UK old-time music organisation FOAOTMAD draws attention to Banjo Roots, a MySpace site set up by the Banjo Roots Network, hosted by Shlomo Pestcoe and Greg C. Adams as one of a series of linked sites that explore the earliest phases of banjo development from the roots in West Africa.

Banjo Roots is already a useful reference work for early banjo history, and the Network is intended to assist future cooperation among researchers. The MySpace site includes a video shot by the late Theo Lissenberg, formerly bass player and lead singer with 4 Wheel Drive, at the 1992 Tennessee Banjo Institute. This video was edited by the Swedish banjo historian Ulf Jagfors, and can also be seen on Ulf Jagfors's YouTube channel.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

More news from EBMA national representatives...

In addition to the news from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Portugal that has appeared on the European Bluegrass Blog since 6 November - provided by EBMA national representatives - the next issue of Bluegrass Europe magazine will include national reps' reports from France, Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland.

Kent Miller reports on the successful Swiss Bluegrass Music Association Fan Fest (7 November) and its role in strengthening and increasing the bluegrass community; Christopher Howard-Williams reports on the France Bluegrass Musique Association's 8th Winter Bluegrass Weekend in Vichy (30 October-1 November) - 'after eight years, the town of Vichy is becoming an important centre for bluegrass music in France' -

- Angelika Torrie, as the new editor of Bluegrass Buehne, reports on promising developments on the German bluegrass scene, including the 1st Munich BlueGrass Festival (16-17 October), where the eleven bands included Coolgrass (above) and the Girlie Band (below);

and Richard Hawkins reports on the new crop of successful mini-festivals in different parts of Ireland.

New Acoustic Gallery news

Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery (NAG) in Solingen, Germany, announces two main events remaining on the NAG's 2009 schedule:

(1) A flatpicking guitar workshop by Oliver Waitze on 21 November 2009, from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

This workshop is for everyone who wants to improve their plectrum playing. All levels of players are welcome! Fields coveredwill include bluegrass fiddle tunes, rhythm, melody, right-hand exercises, Lester Flatt G-runs, endings, crosspicking in the styles of Clarence White & Tony Rice, lead picking, gourmet licks a la Tony Rice, scales... and previews of new publications. Admission: €90.

(2) A solo concert by Beppe Gambetta on 6 December, beginning at 8.00 p.m. He will be presenting his new CD Rendez-vous, of which he says:

... I'm trying to break the borders of the flatpicking technique in a creative way, experimenting new 'full sounding' solutions to obtain a sort of a 'plectrum-fingerstyle' sound in an unusual synthesis.

Admission: 18 € VV; 22 € AK; 14 € ermäßigt. For more info and bookings, contact Oliver Waitze
Tel.: +49 0212/2474007

Oliver Waitze and his setting of 'President Garfield's hornpipe' are also featured in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, xiv, no. 1 (Nov./Dec. 2009) and the NAG itself is featured in the current issue of Folker magazine. Read more on the NAG online newsletter.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


Andreas Benkhofer and Veit Döhler of the Hamburg-based Banjoree! report:

Dear Friends of the 5-string Banjos – and friends of the friends of the banjo…
BANJOREE! has extended its activities: come and visit us at and you will find a brand new online shop. There is information about banjos and many other instruments by both “NECHVILLE” and “GOLD TONE”.
We took over the distribution of these instruments because we favour their quality, sound and playability very much. And beyond that, we have even more plans about the further contents of But we'll tell you about that later. Stay curious!
As you can see, there is much to do.
However, even with all these activities, our main focus will always be the BANJOREE in Hagen – the first European Banjo Camp. It will happen again again in 2011!

Best wishes from Hamburg
Andreas & Veit

Monday, 9 November 2009

Leadership Bluegrass 2010 deadline: 13 November

Trisha Tubbs of IBMA reports:

Leadership Bluegrass 2010 applications are due next Friday, 13 November!

If you know people who you think should apply, please tell them about LBG and that the application deadline is 13 November. They can learn more about LBG and download the application form here.

Be sure to let them know that because only twenty-five people are in each year's program and that there are far more applications than spaces, that they may need to apply several times and shouldn't be discouraged if it takes awhile for them to get into the program. (Some folks have had to apply over four times before they could get in).

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Video trailer for Bluegrass Jamboree!

Bluegrass Jamboree! Festival of Bluegrass and Americana Music 2009 - which will bring the Steep Canyon Rangers (USA), Beverly Smith & Carl Jones (USA), and the Toy Hearts (GB) to sixteen venues in Germany and Switzerland between 5 and 20 December 2009 - now has a new video trailer, including photos of all three acts.

The trailer can be watched on the Jamboree's own website, on YouTube, or on Ruth Ellen Gruber's Sauerkraut Cowboys blog.

Bluegrass in major Portuguese festival

Andre Lentilhas, banjo-player of Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti (above), the only bluegrass band in Portugal, reports that the band will be playing in a major festival in Pínzio, Pinhel, Guarda, Portugal - the Festival das Artes e da Terra. The concert will be held on 6 December 2009, at 5.00 p.m.

For more information go to the Festival website (in Portuguese).

Friday, 6 November 2009

Beppe Gambetta on tour, 12 Nov.-20 Dec.

Thanks to Hans-Bernd Sick, who sends the schedule of a tour in Germany, Austria, and Belgium by guitarist Beppe Gambetta, beginning next week. The tour will introduce Beppe Gambetta's latest CD, Collection, just released on Peter Fingers's Acoustic Music Records label.

Dates and locations are shown below; all events are solo concerts unless otherwise stated. Full details, including websites, addresses, and contact data, can be seen here.

12 Nov. Acoustic Corner Erik Berthold, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, 20:00
13 Nov. Bräustüberl, Maisach, Germany, 20:00
14 Nov. Schütte Keller, Bühl, Germany, 20:00
15 Nov. Phoenix Irish Pub, Lauffen, Germany, 20:00
17 Nov. Clubheim, Vöhringen-Illerberg, Germany, 20:00
18 Nov. Folkladen, Munich, Germany; workshop, 18:00-21:00
19 Nov. Freysitz, Hallein, Austria, 20:00
20 Nov. Haus der Kultur, Waldkraiburg, Germany, 20:00
24 Nov. Gitarrissimo, Oberhausen, Germany, 20:00
25 Nov. Kanapee, Hanover, Germany, 20:00
26 Nov. Petruskirche, Berlin-Lichterfelde, Germany, 20:00
27 Nov. Hamburger Gitarrentage, Hamburg, Germany, 20:30
28-29 Nov. Hamburger Gitarrentage, Hamburg, Germany: workshop
1 Dec. Prisma Folk-Club, Pforzheim, Germany, 20:15
4 Dec. Toogenblik, Brussels, Belgium, 20:00
5 Dec. Talbahnhof, Eschweiler, Germany, 20:00
6 Dec. New Acoustic Gallery, Solingen, Germany,, 20:00
7 Dec. Neue Welt, Ingolstadt, Germany, 20:30
19 Dec. Städtische Musikschule, Ladenburg, Germany (hosted by GLL/GRÜNE Ladenburg)
20 Dec. Bermuda Halle, Bochum, Germany (Große Nacht der akustischen Gitarren), 18:00

A busy autumn for Lilly of the West

Lilly in the recording studio

Lilly Drumeva reports:

October was a busy month for Lilly of the West. The band worked with guest musicians from the UK (Mike Black), USA (Daniel Beaulaurier), Hungary (Zsolt Pintér and Géza Kremnitzky of Acousticure), and the Czech Republic (Jakub Racek of Monogram). The events featured concerts, jam sessions, and appearances on national radio and TV.

A full report, with photos, on the special reception at the Hungarian embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the Hungarian National day on 21 October (see the EBB for 23 Oct.) can be seen on the Lilly of the West website.

Recordings have been finalised for Lilly Drumeva’s new album, Lovin’ you. Scheduled for release in January 2010, it will contain sixteen tracks recorded in two sessions, in Sofia with Lilly of the West and in Prague with Monogram. The repertoire is traditional bluegrass, swing, country ballads, Bulgarian folk songs, an original song by Lilly, and two duets with Jakub Racek. Jakub visited Bulgaria at the end of October to co-produce Lilly’s album. A video clip was made to one of the duet songs; it will be featured on the album in multimedia format. More info and photos are here.

On 25 November 2009 Lilly of the West will perform live at the Bulgarian National Radio. The concert will be recorded in Studio 1 for the Golden Radio Fund and may be released on CD in 2010. The band will close the season with a Christmas concert on 10 December at the Czech Cultural Center in Sofia. Special guests are invited, among them Mr Martin Klepetko, Czech ambassador in Bulgaria. All info here.

News from the Czech Republic

Greg Cahill (back to camera), David Thomas (bass), and Petr Brandejs (banjo) after the Jicin concert

In addition to the recent PBB workshop featured on the European Bluegrass Blog on 19 Oct., Petr Brandejs reports that the number of bluegrass-related bands on the Czech Bluegrass Music Association (CzBMA) website has risen to 208.

The CzBMA organised a fine concert of the Special Consensus (USA) in Jicin, Czech Republic. IBMA president and banjo player Greg Cahill and his boys had such a good time afterwards that they unfortunately overslept and missed their plane the following day from Frankfurt to the US. Pictures from the show can be seen here.

New recordings by Czech bands: Benefit have a new CD out, recorded live in the studio; Monogram are preparing a new CD, mostly with original material by their lead singer, Jakub Racek; and the Petr Brandejs Band have started work on their next CD. This time it should be in Czech, specially for children. It will include some originals, but mostly bluegrass standards with (hopefully) funny Czech lyrics.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

News from the 5th Picnic Festival, Namur, Belgium

Christoffer Olsson, Jimmy Sunnebrandt, and Erik Igelström of G2

Thanks to organiser Laurent Eckhout for news of the 5th Picnic Festival (Friday 4 September-Sunday 6 September 2009) at Namur, Belgium, which opened with the G2 Bluegrass Band playing in concert on Friday.

On Saturday, the usual 'bluegrass day' of the festival, Tabea Anderfuhren & Friends (her bass player, who accompanied her from Switzerland, and two Belgian musicians) played both on the main concert stage and in the 'Irish Pub' venue. Irish Grass (Steve Louvat, banjo; Philip Masure, guitar; Dirk Naessens, fiddle; Patrick Michiels, bodhran) combined bluegrass with traditional Irish music.

Rawhide (above), Belgium's oldest bluegrass band, with their great harmony vocals and amazing instrumentals, were followed by Jacques Stotzem, presenting acoustic arrangements for solo fingerstyle guitar of pop-rock hits from U2, Radiohead, Jimi Hendrix, and similar sources, as on his Catch the spirit album. G2 wound up the bluegrass part of the festival with an exciting concert for a huge audience, and then jammed with other pickers until late into the night.

A fuller account will appear in Bluegrass Europe magazine. Laurent adds:

Next edition will happen on 3rd, 4th and 5th of September 2010. Welcome to all bluegrass, Celtic, and acoustic music fans!

Update 7 November 2009: In addition to the Picnic Festival website, Laurent sends this link to the website of the agency, whose photographers have taken fine photos of all the Picnic Festivals so far. Contact Laurent Eckhout by e-mail.

2nd Annual Bluegrass Jam Session in Amstenrade, NL, 12 Dec. 2009

Thanks to Hans Wolters, DJ of 'Hans's Super Service Grass Station' on the World Wide Bluegrass network, for the news that Jan van Cep's Second Annual Christmas Bluegrass Jam Session will be held at 3.00 p.m. on Saturday 12 December 2009 at the Country Home, Jan van Cep, Hoofdstraat 11, Amstenrade, the Netherlands.

Everybody is welcome - both musicians (beginners and experienced) and listeners. For info call Jan van Cep (+31 046 4421408) or Hans Wolters (+31 046 4755980). You can see and copy the Jam Session flyer here.

'Hans's Super Service Grass Station' is broadcast on Thursdays from 12 noon to 2.00 p.m. Eastern Time on the World Wide Bluegrass network, corresponding to 6.00 to 8.00 p.m. (GMT+01:00) in Amsterdam.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Register now for 2nd European Bluegrass Summit!

As announced on the European Bluegrass Blog on 24 September 2009, the 2nd European Bluegrass Summit will be held on the weekend of 5-7 February 2010 - generously hosted again by the city of Bühl, Germany, which is making all facilities and infrastructure available to the Summit free of charge.

A free bluegrass concert by Blackjack (CZ; #1 EWOB Audience Popularity Award winners 2009; photo by Jan de Mooij) will entertain attendees on the evening of Saturday in the famous Bühl Schüttekeller, also sponsored by the City.

As last year, attendees are invited from all quarters in Europe; the costs and arrangements for travel, subsistence, and accommodation are the entire responsibility of the participants. The EBMA hopes that as many people as possible with a serious concern for the future of bluegrass in Europe will attend. Full details are given on the Summit page of the EBMA website.

Registration for attending the Summit should be made by 14 November 2009 by e-mail OR by post to EBMA, Holeerain 29, CH-4102 Binningen, Switzerland.

Wayne Taylor's tribute to Scottish Bluegrass Association

Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa (USA) recently made an eighteen-show, thirteen-day tour of Scotland and England under the auspices of the Scottish Bluegrass Association (SBA), including workshops and two Music in the Schools presentations funded by the SBA and the IBMA. Photos from the band's trip can be seen in a photo gallery on their website.

In a post on the original Bluegrass Blog on 2 November, Wayne Taylor explains how the tour had been the realisation of an idea first put forward by John Sheldon (now secretary of the SBA) in 1995, at Rosine, KY. On the same occasion, John Sheldon promised Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music, that he would do all he could to promote bluegrass music in the United Kingdom. The Bluegrass Blog post is entitled 'A promise fulfilled'.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Black Crown String Band for Britain and Ireland in 2010

The Black Crown String Band from California have brought out a new CD and are preparing a tour of Britain and Ireland for September and October 2010. They can be booked through the Brookfield Knights agency.

The band, whose members come from varied backgrounds in bluegrass, old-time, and even classical music, consists of John McKelvy (guitar, lead vocals), Tim Hicks (mandolin, harmony vocals), Elise Engleberg (fiddle), Matt Knoth (banjo), and Rob Mellberg (bass).

Halloween thoughts from Laurie Lewis

Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, Todd Phillips (photo: Anne Hamersky)

Laurie Lewis's November newsletter begins in a European context, by mentioning

... All Hallow E'en, when the Danes light bonfires to send the witches back to Germany. Or so I was told by a Dane some years ago.

Does the Dane who told her that remember the occasion?