Monday, 29 November 2010

Mideando String Quintet now available for bookings

Dear Friend of Bluegrass and Acoustic Music,

We are happy to introduce to you our acoustic music band, the Mideando String Quintet from Italy (also on MySpace).

Our acoustic music is performed by mandolin, octave mandolin, mandocello, violin, acoustic or nylon-string guitar, and electric bass. Our songs are usually arranged with five voices harmony. Our repertoire includes both our original songs as well as covers re-arranged by the band to our personal style. We like to describe it as a fusion of various styles: pop, rock, blues, with a bit of jazz and ethno-music, and with some country and bluegrass influences.

In May 2006 we won the First Prize as 1# European Bluegrass Band at the 9th EWOB Festival in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands. In this role, we were invited to represent the European World of Bluegrass at the IBMA 2007 Bluegrass Festival in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. During our gigs at the IBMA we introduced the latest CD titled Tutte le direzioni ('All the directions'). At the moment the CD is broadcasted by many American and European radios.

Besides that the band won the 3# European Bluegrass Band of the year at the 6th EWOB Festival 2003. MSQ was the only Italian representative among 45 bands from Europe, Canada and the USA. From their performance, the song 'Talk about suffering', arranged by MSQ, has been chosen for the official CD EWOB 2003 and later for the 10 years of EWOB CD. In the past years MSQ has won many other festival awards; the two CDs Viaggio ('Journey') and Tutte le direzioni have had very good reviews in many magazines; and the important Kataweb magazine has nominated MSQ 'Artist of the Day' in December 2008.

During the past years Mideando played at various important music festivals such as: 40° Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Ulster Acoustic Music Festival (Omagh, Northern Ireland), EWOB Festival (Holland), EWOB Festival (Germany and France), Over Easy Bluegrass Festival (Switzerland), Big Bear (the Netherlands). In August 2008 the band was the special guest at the Festival Europeen de Bluegrass Music in La Roche-sur-Foron in France and as headliner at the same festival in 2010.

The band is working at the new CD, it will be ready on the spring 2011.

If our story has made you curious... we will be honoured to play at your festivals!

Thank you very much in advance, kind regards,

Stefano Santangelo
Associazione Musicale MIDEANDO
Via P. Vergerio 6, 35126 PADOVA, Italy
tel. (+39) 049 8021556; cell. 338 8227001

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Good news from the EWOB Festival

Liz Meyer and the Stichting EBMA Voorthuizen report:

We can promise you a grass field for camping - not the same one, but nice, soft grass. Yay! Please tell your friends. The EWOB Team is working very hard to ensure your comfort at the European World of Bluegrass Festival 2011. Visit the EWOB website for all festival info!

Band application extension to 11 December 2010

We said that no extension past 1 Dec. would be possible this year, but personal circumstances make it necessary. Liz spent ten days in Germany for a cancer checkup, too busy in the hospital to deal with all the e-mails, and then got food poisoning at the airport on the way home. 'Things are looking up' now, but we are running ten days late and would like to share that extra time with bands that have not had a chance to apply for EWOB 2011.

Final deadline to apply for a showcase at EWOB 2011 will be Saturday 11 December 2010. Your demos must be posted by this time. The festival dates will be 2-3-4 June 2011. The EWOB website home page, center column, has all the links you'll need for application info and Musician/Band FAQ. Please read instructions carefully and get your applications in as soon as possible!

Thank you to all the terrific bands who've been busy sending in their application materials. We wish you much success, and hope to see you at EWOB 2011!

#1 European Bluegrass Band 2010: G-Runs 'n Roses (Czech Republic)!

Visit the official European World of Bluegrass page on Facebook and sign up to 'like' the EWOB Festival!

JOIN US for the 14th European World of Bluegrass Festival, held as always in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands.

Liz Meyer e-mail

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Roberto Dalla Vecchia: newsletter Nov. 2010

If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not bother trying to say it in music. ~ Gustav Mahler

Ciao my friends,

Today is Black Friday in US but here in Vicenza, Italy, it's White Friday: it's been snowing all morning, I love it!

My US tour with Mark Cosgrove was great fun; between concerts and workshops I had some of the best food ever. Thanks to everybody for hosting us, attending the gigs, driving us around and... feeding us :-). Here are a couple of videos Mark and I recorded at Mark's - 'Surprise' and 'Good morning Isaac'. Thanks to Mo for directing this!

One of the highlights of this tour was meeting David and Nancy Bromberg, talking, jamming, listening to some music, seeing David's amazing violin collection. That night David handed me a small guitar Joan Baez gave him as a present... what a little great guitar.

Right now I'm working at my new album, it will be released in March 2011. Not much to say about it... I'm writing a lot of new tunes for it; some are good, some are really bad! I'll try to record the good ones only :-)

Another project I've been working on lately is a guitar concerto for two guitars and orchestra... classical guitar player Patrizio Baù suggested the idea. We are writing the songs together, arranging them... this is great fun, believe me. I'll keep you posted about it.

I've just finished reading Venuto al mondo by Margaret Mazzantini. I do hope it will be translated into English soon; it is one of the best books I ever read in my whole life, a very very touching story. As for CDs, I'm listening to Mark Knopfler's Get Lucky a LOT, some tunes are worth buying the whole CD... I love 'Monteleone', for example, check it out!

On my 'Fan' Facebook Page, I just post updates related to my music. Click the LIKE button on my fan page to follow. I'd appreciate it. You can also find me on iTunes and CD Baby.

That's it for this time. If you have any questions about anything, just e-mail me.

Roberto Dalla Vecchia
Flatpicking Guitar with Italian Gusto

Friday, 26 November 2010

Down County Boys to play at the Lady Jane, 1 Dec. 2010

Following the news reported on 1 November, the European Bluegrass Blog thanks Ron Stevens of the Heart of England Bluegrass Venue for his good wishes for a very happy, healthy Christmas and a prosperous new year.

Ron also sends the news that on this coming Wednesday (1 December) the Down County Boys (UK) will be playing the last show for 2010 of their monthly residency at the Lady Jane, Hall Lane, Whitwick, in the English midlands. The show starts at 8.30 p.m., and there will be sandwiches and mince pies for everyone present.

These photos from the DCB photo gallery, taken by Hannah Bonsell, show (above) Hannah herself (holding bass) with the band, and (below) the audience at the Lady Jane.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Special Consensus in Ireland and Britain, 12-30 Jan. 2011

The Special Consensus (USA) (shown here in the current lineup: left to right, Ryan Roberts, David Thomas, Greg Cahill, Rick Faris) will be touring Ireland and Britain early in 2011, beginning on Wed. 12 January with eight dates in Ireland. On 20 January they cross to Britain for five shows, returning to Ireland for a further three shows between 26 January and the end of the month. All the details are on the band's own tour schedule, and the Irish dates are listed on the calendar of the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

The Special Consensus are on the cover of the current (Nov. 2010) issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, with a major 3,000-word article inside by award-winning writer and musician Chris Stuart on the Special C.'s founder and leader, Greg Cahill. Read it in full here.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Now showing on

You can now see on the website two videos that may interest bluegrass enthusiasts in Europe outside the borders of the UK.

One is a thirteen-minute feature filmed at last month's Sore Fingers weekend in England. The Sore Fingers events, especially the week-long programme in spring, regularly attract pickers from across Europe. Anyone who has attended will find the video very evocative.

The other, half as long, is a 'Minnesota Originals' feature on innovative banjo-maker Tom Nechville, who frequently visits festivals and other bluegrass events in Europe. It shows Tom demonstrating the Heli-Mount system and other aspects of his revolutionary rethinking of banjo structure.

The Sore Fingers feature can be seen here on, and the Nechville feature here. Both can be seen on the UKBluegrass YouTube channel.

Toy Hearts: 'Femme fatale' now on iTunes

The single release of 'Femme fatale', the title track of the new album from the Toy Hearts (UK), is available now - exclusively on iTunes - as from 22 Nov. 2010. The special single edit, already aired on BBC Radio 2, is only available as a digital download, from iTunes.

The new album, Femme fatale, is available from the Toy Hearts online store, in both a regular and a de luxe edition. See the band's full news release here.

Upcoming gigs by the Toy Hearts include:

4 Dec. Dale Road Music Club, London
12 Dec. The Roadhouse, Birmingham

Friday, 19 November 2010

Country Pickers - on the road again!

L-r: Hanspeter 'Casey' Gasser, Ruedi Gloor, Paolo Dettwiler, Tom Lochbrunner, Röbi Brunner

Thanks to Paolo Dettwiler for the news that after a fifteen-year break the Country Pickers (CH) are playing live again.

Their first outing will be on SwissGrass Night, Sunday 28 November 2010, from 17:00 at the Jufa, Peter Merian-Strasse 30, Basel, as part of the Bluegrass in Basel programme. Also on the show will be Sunny Mountain Grass (CH).

Between now and then, they will be doing a radio interview on Sunday 21 November 2010 between 18.00 and 19.00 on Radio X (also live streaming on the internet here). More shows are already planned for 2011, including one that will form part of a Catholic church service.

Camping on grass field at EWOB

European World of Bluegrass Festival: Official EWOB Page on Facebook today announces:

Fantastic news! We can promise a grass field for camping at EWOB 2011. No worries about camping in the parking lot again - I think that was a one-time problem. So don't worry about the camping - just get your applications in on time! (Dec. 1st deadline!) We hope to see YOUR band at EWOB 2011!

Evocative photos of the campsite during past EWOB festivals can be seen on the EWOB Photostream.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Czech-Slovak Bluegrass Party at the Greenhorn’s Shop, Zlin (CZ), 30 Oct. 2010

Here is Lilly Pavlak's second report on recent bluegrass events in the Czech Republic:

In two weeks I was on the road again. This time my journey led me to Zlin, a little university town in north-east Moravia - sometimes called 'Bata City', and often referred to as a Mecca for architecture fans. It is the hometown of Thomas Bata – the shoe mogul and owner of the world-famous shoe company.

Zelenacova Sopa ('the Greenhorn’s Shop) is a very nice music and theater club with non-smoker restaurant. They have almost every month some bluegrass concert there. The reason for my visit this time was a Czech-Slovakian Bluegrass Party. Three Slovak bands and one Czech band, all of them good friends of mine, met that Saturday at neutral Moravian territory.

The Slovak band Candy Floss [above], around the banjo-picking girl Simona Schmidtova, opened the night. You may know them from EWOB in Holland, or La Roche-sur-Foron, France. They have a new female – very good lead singer – nineteen-year-old Patricia Pivouskova. Some of the guys, such as Michal Barok (mandolin), Dusan Hronec (guitar), and Anton Naroda (bass), you may remember from their former band Meantime. They are characterised by beautiful vocals and precision instrumental work. The next day they were supposed to go to the studio for recording of their debut CD. I am already looking forward to hearing it!

The one Czech band, Wyrton [above], followed. They missed their fiddle player, who recently left, but even without they made a good job. Some years ago they made third place at the band contest in La Roche, France. Also the next Slovak band, Viagrass [below], came in unusual, session formation and put on a good show.

The highlight of the night was Blueland [below], one of the best Slovak bands, known for their great vocal and instrumental work. Also this band was not complete. Their bass player is for the last three months on an expedition in the Himalayas. So they asked their former mandolin player Jaro Rakay, who now plays bass with GrassCountry, to fill in with Miki Tomka on guitar, Pavol Dano on mandolin, and Ralph Schut ('the flying Dutchman', who landed in the Czech Republic several years ago and plays there with several bands) on banjo. (Ralph's main band G-Runs & Roses, where he plays guitar, is this year’s reigning European Bluegrass Band of the Year.)

Blueland performed a lot of their hits and the audience still did not have enough. After several encores the programme was over, the audience left and a great jam session started. Thanks to Martin 'Curda' Jurik, the club owner and his team, it was a great night!

Bluegrass Jamboree 2010 on tour (Europe): Live Radio!

Following yesterday's post giving the tour details, Rainer Zellner, organiser of the Bluegrass Jamboree!, reports:

Dear friends of Bluegrass Music,

In December we will put the 2nd edition of our Bluegrass/Americana package tour called 'Bluegrass Jamboree! - Festival of Bluegrass and Americana Music' on the road. We will mostly be in Germany, but maybe some fans may want to come in from other countries to enjoy this wonderful lineup.

Attention: For the first time ever in Germany (maybe even in Europe) there will be a worldwide live radio broadcast of the full first show of the tour. So all of you who can't be at this show can catch the music on Radio Wueste Welle in Tübingen via Internet radio on Friday 3 December at 20:00-23:00 (Central European Time), either on the station website (click on 'on air' down left) or through this radio link.

The Jamboree website includes a video trailer.

International Bluegrass Music Museum Featured On American Television

This video was produced by "World Progress Report with Joan Lunden", a nationally televised program in America on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). The video is a short, yet excellent general introduction to bluegrass music. Unlike many televised features on bluegrass...this production is accurate and to the point. They obviously took the time to do their research.

It is especially interesting to see the inside of International Bluegrass Music Museum(IBMM) in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA. You will hear some excellent commentary from the directors of IBMM.

If you ever have an opportunity to vist Owensboro, KY and the museum, you will be amazed at the bluegrass music history inside this building. You will also learn about the many public events and school programs the IBMM executive director Gabrielle Gray has developed. Keep in mind that Owensboro is only 40 minutes from Bill Monroe's birthplace in Rosine, KY where you can visit the original and restored Monroe Home Place near the infamous Jerusalem Ridge... the Bluegrass Mecca!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Bluegrass Fest at the Buffalo Saloon, Chomutov (CZ), 16 Oct. 2010

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for photos and reports on two recent bluegrass events in the Czech Republic. The first was Bluegrass Fest u Bizona (Buffalo Saloon), on 16 October at Chomutov, in the north-west part of the country, organised by the local band, Album (above). Lilly writes:

There were five bands performing that night, beginning with the house band, Album, one of my favorites, with their beautiful vocals, getting better each time I see them. The next was Bee Line [above] from Kolin; I saw them once at the festival in Bohemian Paradise and I like them very much.

A surprise was an old-time band: the Harry Phill Band [above], with very unusual materials, in the '30s style – swing, blues, boogie-woogie, and so on. Their members were often changing their instruments – a very entertaining show. Not bluegrass at all, but very refreshing.

The next band was Country Cocktail [above], a kind of reunion of the legendary Zvonky, with the Krishot Brothers (maybe you know them as instrument makers), great as always!

The last band, Goodwill [above], came from far across the country, from the very north-east part – Ostrava. Unfortunately they came without their female singer Natalia, but with a lot of drive and temperament. A great jam session followed till the dawn.

Thanks to Album, who invited me there, and the promoters and owner of the Buffalo Saloon. Another white spot on my bluegrass map of the Czech Republic disappeared!

The Bison during the show. A further illustrated report by Lilly will appear on the EBB tomorrow.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Jens Kruger inducted into Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame

Uwe Kruger of the Kruger Brothers reports from North Carolina on his Facebook profile:

On Saturday, Jens [left] got inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, here at the Wilkes Heritage Museum! Co-inductees are Jim Shumate, Jim Lauderdale, and Emmylou Harris. Induction ceremony will be held on 11 June 2011.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Co. Clare visits Switzerland

Fans of Irish traditional music who live in central Switzerland had a recent opportunity of making indirect contact with an important event in the Irish bluegrass calendar.

Over twenty members and friends of the Sixmilebridge Folk Club, of Co. Clare in the west of Ireland, went to Lucerne (Luzern) three weeks ago to take part in the Guitar Days Festival there, as well as a special weekend of music and song in Gracie Kelly's Irish Bar in the city. The party is shown above - on the extreme left is Brendan Walsh, director of the annual Winter Music Weekend (WMW). The next WMW will be held on 13-16 January 2011, with the Special Consensus (USA) giving the Sunday night concert as part of their forthcoming tour of Ireland and Britain.

More about the Club trip to Lucerne, with many photos, can be seen here.

The bluegrass year ahead in Switzerland

Kent Miller of the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association reports:

The Swiss Bluegrass Music Association held its Fan Fest last Saturday (13 Nov.). It was a successful and pleasant evening with many old friends and faces and a few new ones enjoying the open mic groups, showcases, jamming, flea market and, of course, food and drink.

We started the Bill Monroe anniversary year with a brainstorming session with professional members before the Fan Fest opened to the public. Since our steering committee barely has the capacity to get the daily work done, we will be setting up a one-year committee to guide us through the many ideas for projects surrounding the year of Bill Monroe. We hope to be able to do smallish projects and maybe even a couple bigger things that should make the year special.

In other news:

One of the first BG bands in Switzerland (if not the first) was the Country Pickers. The SBMA sponsored their farewell concert way back in 1996. The band has now regrouped with some original members and will be on the road again after sixteen years of 'retirement'.

Sunny Mountain Grass, the talented band from eastern Switzerland, will be at the festival in Bühl, Germany, this spring. This marks the first Swiss band to appear at the excellent festival.

Monroe Crossing (USA) will be in Zurich and Basel in February.

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper (USA) will be in Schaffhausen, Kammgarn, on 17 Dec. 2010 with the BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE 2010.

Wishing everyone a good bluegrass winter and Happy Thanksgiving,

Kent Miller
Lochhübel 174
5112 Thalheim AG

Swiss Bluegrass Music Association (SBMA)
Bluegrass Radio Show (19.00 Sundays, 15.00 Mondays); e-mail

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Downtown Ramblers interview at 2010 IBMA

Here's an interview that the #1 European Bluegrass Band 2009 did at IBMA's World of Bluegrass in Nashville this year. The interviewer is Herb Sudzin, whose 'Sudzin Country' radio show is broadcast by WRSU-FM 88.7 FM in New Brunswick, NJ; and the video is posted on Herb's YouTube channel.

In the eight-minute interview, the band members talk about their present CD (all the copies they brought to IBMA were gone by the time of the interview), their next project, songwriting, their favourite US singers, their absent lead singer Emelie Junsten, and much more.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Kathy Chiavola celebrates in style

Kathy Chiavola (left), who has long-established and deep-rooted connections with Europe (especially with Italy), is celebrating thirty years in Nashville with a concert at the world-famous Station Inn, tomorrow night (Saturday 13 November 2010). A special 'house band' will consist of Brent Truitt, mandolin; Richard Bailey, banjo; Barbara Lamb, fiddle; Mike Bub, bass; and Kathy herself on vocals and guitar.

The show begins at 9.00 p.m., and admission is $15. Kathy adds that there will be

... many VERY special guests! A trip down memory lane! It will be Mike Bub's birthday!! I am making cakes! Celebrate with us!

G2 launch new CD in Stockholm, 18 Nov. 2010

G2 Bluegrass Band, #1 European Bluegrass Band 2007, are back home in Sweden after a five-month stay in the USA. Their new album Untapped routes is ready for release, and G2 are celebrating and marking the occasion with a launch party, which will be held on Thursday 18 November at the Restaurang Imperiet, Götgatan 78, 11830 Stockholm.

The band will start playing at 8.00 p.m., so come early to be sure of a place!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Bluegrass in southern Germany

Michael Zumstein reports from southern Germany that the Freiburg Bluegrass Jam is still regularly held on the last Saturday of every month, from 7.30 p.m. till early morning, with lots of musicians from the area (France/ Switzerland/ Germany). Fifteen musicians took part in the last session (30 Oct.). The place can be easily found here.

Another event, Bluegrass im Klosterhof (jam session, meeting, and concert) will be held on 5 Jan. 2011 at 8.00 p.m. in D-72127 Kusterdingen (near Tübingen). Michael adds:

The 'Jazz & Blues melting point' Freiburg goes bluegrass! More and more people like Americana - especially bluegrass or independent country. Last month Suzette Lawrence from Nashville had a few concerts with Katie and Karen from the Rockingbirds (Austria) on her tour. And she comes back in April 2011. Also Kim Carson & Band comes back for the summer tour in May 2011.

Blue Side of Town Bluegrass Band (also based in Freiburg) are booked for two county & bluegrass nights in the town: Wodan Country & Bluegrass Night (14 Jan.) and Rufetto Night of Americana Music (26 Mar.). Both venues are presenting local groups and musicians playing Americana.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Spanish bluegrass news on the Bluegrass Blog

The EBB published news on 14 October about the new CD by Los Hermanos Cubero (E). Now a longer feature has appeared on the original Bluegrass Blog, which includes this statement from the Cuberos:

We would not understand the music as we do if we had not drunk from the sources of the great masters. The result of this album is like the basin of a source of two pipes; these pipes that feed the basin and mixed into it are bluegrass music and traditional music of Castilla, and as its main exponents we consider to Bill Monroe and Agapito Marazuela. At the same time others drank from these sources before us and inspired us. How could we not mention the Stanley Brothers and Jimmy Martin on one side, and Nuevo Mester de Juglaría or La Musgaña on the other. Of course, we also have been guided by other musicians, La Ronda del Alamin, Merle Haggard, or La Ronda de Boltaña, just to name a few. To all of them also our sincere thanks.

The BB today also features the new banjo instruction book by Lluís Gómez and Toni Giménez (see the EBB for 1 November) and news of the Barcelona Bluegrass Band.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Beppe Gambetta tour in Europe, 12 Nov.-15 Dec. 2010 - and more news

Italian guitar wizard Beppe Gambetta (above) begins this week a month-long tour in the German-speaking countries of central Europe and in Italy. In the schedule below, all shows listed are solo concerts unless otherwise stated. Full details can be found here.

Nov. 12 Wodan Halle, Leo Wohleb Str. 4, 79098 Freiburg, Germany; 20:30
Nov. 13 Schloss Neudrossenfeld, Gontard Saal, Neudrossenfeld, Germany; 20:00
Nov. 17 Ansbacher Kammerspiele, Maximilianstrasse 29, 91522 Ansbach, Germany; 20:00
Nov. 19 Schloss Ummendorf, Biberacher Strasse, 88444 Ummendorf, Germany; 20:00
Nov. 20 Der Gitarrenladen, Waldseestrasse 9, 88250 Weingarten, Germany (workshop, concert); 20:00
Nov. 21 Der Gitarrenladen, Waldseestrasse 9, 88250 Weingarten, Germany (workshop)
Nov. 24 Lutherhaus, Jahnstraße 1, 49080 Osnabrück, Germany; 20:00
Nov. 26 Klostergalerie Zehdenick, Am Kloster, 16792 Zehdenick, Germany; 19:30
Nov. 27 St Petri Kirche, 17375 Mönkebude, Germany; 20:00
Nov. 29 Kanapee, Edenstr. 1, 30161 Hanover (Hannover), Germany; 20:00
Dec. 4 Bacchuskeller, Bahnohofstr. 12, 97209 Veitshöchheim, Germany; 20:00
Dec. 5 Café am Bichl, In den Grüben 162, Burghausen, Germany; 19:30
Dec. 7 Hotel Walzenhausen, Walzenhausen, Switzerland: workshop (Art & Ministry School), 16:30-18:00; solo concert, 20:00
Dec. 8 Werkstatt, Untere Gasse 9, Chur, Switzerland; concert with Riccardo Barbera (upright bass), 20:30
Dec. 9 S'Gwölb Music Club, Niederhaslistrasse 119, 8105 Watt, Regensdorf, Switzerland; concert with Riccardo Barbera (upright bass), 20:30
Dec. 10 Kulturkarussell Rössli, Bahnhofstrasse 1, 8712 Stäfa, Switzerland; concert with Riccardo Barbera (upright bass), 20:30
Dec. 11 Kulturgasthaus Bierstindl, Klostergasse 6, Innsbruck, Austria; concert with Riccardo Barbera (upright bass), 20:00
Dec. 15 Auditorium dei Musei di Strada Nuova, Via Garibaldi, Genoa (Genova), Italy (benefit concert for the children of Erichanathan, Tamil Nadu, India)

Acoustic Music Records (D) will publish Beppe Gambetta's new DVD/book set, The art of flatpicking guitar, at the end of November. Photos from the Beppe Gambetta International Workshop (held in Slovenia in August, with Kathy Chiavola (USA) as guest teacher of the year) can be seen here. Instructional material online can be found here, and a new book with ten Beppe Gambetta originals will be available at concerts.

Beppe, who has recently updated his official website with news, videos, and pictures, also maintains a presence on Facebook, MySpace, You Tube, Reverbnation, Flatpicking Guitar Network, Last Fm, and Plaxo. Finally, his updated list of favourite restaurants in three continents (including eight European countries) is now available.

Bluegrass activity in Belgium

Carolina Chocolate Drops

Bluegrass in Belgium reports that some interesting concerts will be held in the coming days and weeks at different locations in Belgium, with bands from the USA (beginning with the Carolina Chocolate Drops later this week) and the UK, as well as Belgian bands. Full details of dates, times, venues, and contacts for further info are on the Bluegrass in Belgium calendar page.

On Saturday 13 November a bluegrass jam session will be held at Zendelingenstraat 38, 2140 Antwerp, starting at 1.00 p.m. BiB adds: 'There will be a bit of food and drinks. Feel free to contribute too.'

Monday, 8 November 2010

NAG November 2010 newsletter

Thanks to Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery (NAG) in Solingen, Germany, for the November NAG newsletter, which lists workshops for mandolin and flatpicking guitar, a concert, and instruments now available at the NAG. The news can also be seen here.

On this coming weekend two major events will take place at the NAG. A Mandolin Weekend Workshop with Jesper Rübner-Petersen (left) will be held on 12-14 November 2010. Individual tuition is available for beginners and intermediate players, and the course will cover improvisation, getting 'the right bluegrass sound' out of your mandolin, chords and back-up playing, left- and right-hand technique, and breaks in the styles of famous mandolinists. The workshop is limited to fifteen participants, and the cost of €135 includes an evening concert by the Trio Vibracao (Oliver Waitze, acoustic guitars, mandolin; Jesper Rübner-Petersen, mandolin; Max Schaaf, acoustic bass) on 13 November at 8.00 p.m. The concert is open to the public at €15/18.

Oliver Waitze will give a Flatpicking Guitar Workshop on 20 Nov. 2010 (10:00-17:00), designed for players of any level who want to improve their plectrum playing. The themes include bluegrass, fiddle tunes, lead and rhythm playing, Lester Flatt G-runs, endings, scales and right-hand exercises, crosspicking and licks in the styles of Clarence White and Tony Rice, and more. The two new books by Oliver Waitze - Bach for mandolin and Bach for flatpicking guitar will be launched this month.

Instruments now in stock include the Froggy Bottom Model M Limited Edition guitar, €5690; Collings MF mandolin with honey amber finish and Adirondack top, €4290; new rosewood D28 Tony Rice Model, €4490; mahogany Stealth banjo with tunnelled 5th string, €2190; and many classical and flamenco guitars.

New Acoustic Gallery
Oliver Waitze
Neuenhofer Str. 122
42657 Solingen/Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)212 2474007

International presence at ResoSummit 2010

This year's ResoSummit (the event of the dobro year), held on 28-31 October at Nashville, TN, attracted 14% international participation, with pickers from Italy, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Scotland, Ireland, Israel, and Canada. The event is organised by Rob Ickes, twelve-time IBMA Dobro Player of the Year.

Registration for ResoSummit 2011 is likely to be fully booked very quickly, so anyone interested in attending should visit the website and follow the registration advice there.

News from Denmark

Spencer Sorenson sends greetings from Bluegrass Music Denmark:

The next event on our programme is our Bluegrass Night, 26 November, when we will have three bands performing to round out our concert year. Rocks & Ivy [above] are coming up from the Netherlands/Belgium, and the No Hard Times Bluegrass Band coming over the bridge from Sweden. A prominent event will be the presentation of board member Stefan Colind's new Strings alive project, with the help of several top musicians: Thomas Haglund and Magnus Edring from Sweden, and a homecoming of Jesper Rübner Petersen. Stefan's CD features 14 original instrumental numbers all written by him, and we are all looking forward to its release. We will also be happy to see Jesper, who is coming up from Germany, where he his now living. His recent book The mandolin picker's guide to bluegrass improvisation was published by Mel Bay earlier this year, and has received some very good comments.

This year's concert series has been quite successful, and we have had a steady and faithful audience, who really enjoy and concentrate on the music. Planning is under way for next season's concert series. It is not all arranged yet, but we look forward to seeing Special Consensus (USA) in May. They always give a great show.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Bluegrass news from the Czech Republic

Map of jams in the Czech Republic, from

Petr Hrubý, EBMA national representative for the Czech Republic, reports that regular bluegrass jams are held at least once a month in Prague, Brno, Hradec Králové, České Budějovice, Turnov, and Chabařovice, as well as other regular events that incorporate open jams. These events are listed on calendars here and on Blue Grass CZ, 'the liveliest bluegrass portal in the Czech Republic' (in Petr's words), which has now reached a total of one million hits.

Martin Krajíček’s 7th Mandolin Workshop, to be held in Prague (26-28 Nov. 2010), is already fully booked. The intense and concentrated programme includes a 'chair for a mandolin guest', several exceptional instruments to try, and an evening concert. For future workshops, contact Martin Krajíček by e-mail or mobile: +420 608 465 563. More about him can be found online at the KK Band website or on YouTube.

Monogram have released a new CD, Hit the road. Further details and online purchase facilities are on their MySpace.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

An English bluegrass pioneer remembered

Today's instalment of the series 'I'm going back to old Kentucky', which appears daily on the Bluegrass Blog to commemorate the life of Bill Monroe, also commemorates a pioneer performer and promoter of bluegrass music in England, born sixty-eight years ago today.

Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, bandleader, and promoter Peter Esmond Bernard 'Pete' Sayers (left) was born 6 Nov. 1942 in Bath, Somerset, England, and in his teens formed what may have been the UK’s first bluegrass band. In his late twenties he spent five years in Nashville, TN, where he worked (and often performed) on the Grand Ole Opry, hosted a breakfast TV show, and played banjo with Bill Monroe. His 'Grand Ole Opry England' in Newmarket was one of the venues for the 1975 European tour by Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys. Read the full feature (researched by Richard F Thompson) here.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Athy bluegrass calendar for 2011

Something for the Christmas stocking of every bluegrass enthusiast in Ireland and many outside as well - the Athy Bluegrass Music Association (ABMA) has produced a good-looking bluegrass calendar for 2011, with many photos in full colour of bands from Ireland, the USA, and the Continent of Europe who have appeared at the Athy Bluegrass Festival in Co. Kildare since the event began in 1991 - the first bluegrass festival to be held in Ireland.

As well as being a unique document of the Athy festival up to the present, the calendar includes a list of other bluegrass festivals in Ireland with their 2011 dates.

Copies of the calendar will be available from next Wednesday (10 November 2010) at €10 each, with the proceeds going to support the 21st Athy festival (7-10 July 2011). To purchase a copy, contact the festival organiser, Tony O'Brien, by phone/text (+353 85 1656685) or e-mail.

Third annual concert in aid of Jan Johansson, 7 Nov. 2010

Richard Thompson reports today on the original Bluegrass Blog that the Circle of Friends for Jan and the National Foundation for Transplants (USA) are holding their third annual benefit concert for Jan Johansson this coming Sunday, 7 November 2010. Many bands and guest artists will be appearing from 1.00 to 5.30 p.m. at Bond Park amphitheater in Cary, North Carolina, where Jan Johansson, born in Sweden, is now based. Read the full details here.

Larry Roddy

The bluegrass scene in Ireland has lost a good friend. After a period of illness, Larry Roddy died on 4/5 November 2010. He had been for many years one of the leading promoters and tour organisers for bluegrass, old-time, folk, and other acoustic music in Ireland. The photo above shows him (left) in June 2010 with Niall Toner and Rex Foster (USA) at Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare, where Rex was playing a show arranged by Larry.

Rhonda Vincent in Europe, July 2011

Herb Sandker of the Upper Management agency (USA) writes:

Ladies & Gentlemen:

I am writing to inquire of your help to book Rhonda Vincent in Europe. She is confirmed for the Craponne Festival (France) on 30 July 2011.

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage are the most awarded band in bluegrass music, with over seventy awards, including seven consecutive female vocalist awards from IBMA.

The Wall Street Journal crowned Rhonda Vincent the New Queen of Bluegrass. She has a new CD titled Taken which is a #1 Album on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts.

Please advise if you are able to help to secure routing dates through Switzerland and Germany, and any surrounding areas, except France. Open dates include 21-27 July 2011.

Thank you.

Contact Herb Sandker at Upper Management; telephone: +1 660-665-5700; fax: +1 660-665-2858; e-mail.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

3rd European Bluegrass Summit announced to media in Bühl (D)

from left: Walter Fuchs, Mayor of Bühl (D) Hans Striebel,
Petra Ewert, Angelika Torrie, Friedrich Hog (photo: W. Mark)

During the press conference announcing the lineup of the 9th International Bluegrass Festival in Bühl (Germany), the upcoming 3rd European Bluegrass Summit (organised by EBMA) was also announced to the media present.

The summit is scheduled for 18th-20th February 2011, and is highlighted by the EBMA 10th anniversary concert (co-presented by GBMA) on Sat 19th February 2011, 7pm, which is of course open to the public and presented in the very same hall, featuring

- Monroe Crossing (USA)
- Four Wheel Drive (NL/B/D)
- G-Runs 'n Roses (CZ)

More information and tickets for the concert will be online at from 15th November 2010. You may also contact Angelika Torrie, EBMA Chairperson.

9th International Bluegrass Festival Bühl

Angelika Torrie, in her function as co-editor of Bluegrass Europe and editor of Bluegrass Bühne, attended yesterday's press conference held in the townhall of Bühl (Germany), and reports:

At their press & media conference of Wed 3rd November, the Mayor of the beautiful city of Bühl, Mr Hans Striebel, together with Petra Ewert (head of the citie's cultural office), Walter Fuchs (festival MC) and Wolfgang Mark (media relations) announced the stellar lineup of the upcoming 9th International Bluegrass Festival Bühl, scheduled for Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May 2011 in Bühl / Baden (Germany).

The festival again is fully organised by the City of Bühl and will again be presented in the beautiful hall of the Bürgerhaus NEUER MARKT.

Faithful to the proverb "Tradition does not mean guarding the ashes, but fanning the embers", Walter Fuchs has since the 1st edition in 2003 aspired to get the best of the best artists to this festival. He now announces a spectacular lineup to top all previous festivals held:

The programme of 2011 is to feature
- Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (USA)
- Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike (USA)
- Special Consensus (USA)
- Redgrass (CAN)
- The Toy Hearts (GB)
- Sunny Mountain Grass (CH)

Tickets may be purchased online. For more information refer to the beautiful brand new website or call +49 72 23 93 16 16.

The dates of the 10th and 11th edition of the festival were also announced for 4th/5th May 2012 and 3rd/4th May 2013. Mark your calendar!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Bluegrass Sessions of Lisbon begin, 4 Nov. 2010

Thanks to Portuguese banjo-player Andre Lentilhas (left) for this news:

A partir de Novembro, primeira Quinta-feira de cada mês, os Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti apresentam as Bluegrass Sessions of Lisbon, no espaço Fábulas, Chiado, Lisboa. Estão todos convidados a participar, músicos e não músicos.

Every first Thursday of the month, starting on 4 November, the Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti invite everyone, musicians and non-musicians, for the Bluegrass Sessions of Lisbon, at Fábulas, Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal.

Show up and play. Bluegrass is a universal language.

The date 2011 appeared on this post when it was first published. Apologies to Andre and our readers - 4 Nov. 2010 is of course the correct date.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Monogram - Video of the Month in Brazil

Erio Meili of the Sao Paulo Bluegrass Music Association in Brazil, reports:

One month ago we have chosen Lilly Drumeva's interview at the Bulgarian TV as Video of the Month of October [see the EBB for 5 Oct. 2010].

As you probably know, yesterday was Brazil's presidential election day. The voting was closed at 5.00 p.m. Brasilia standard time, and Dilma Rousseff was announced at 8.07 p.m. Brasilia time as the newly elected president of Brazil as of next 1 January.

One month ago, when Lilly Drumeva sent me an e-mail telling me that our Dilma Rousseff had Bulgarian roots, I was not aware of. (In Bulgaria the spelling would probably be 'Dilma Rousseva'). Today at the prime-time evening news on Rede Globo TV, Dilma Rousseff was invited into the studio for a first interview which initiated showing to her, as a surprise and to the whole of Brazil, a video about her roots and her father's home-town Gabrovo in Bulgaria.

Well, our Video of the Month of November on our Titanic Harbor Stage screen is now the title track from a new CD called Hit the road by the band Monogram from the Czech Republic, who were also participating in Lilly Drumeva's latest CD album Lovin' you.

Both videos can now be seen on the Sao Paulo Bluegrass Music Association website.

Carolina Chocolate Drops in Europe, 8-23 Nov. 2010

Thanks to Anne-Marie Winkelman for the news that the Carolina Chocolate Drops (USA), pioneers in the revived black tradition of old-time string-band music, will be playing in concert on 10 November in the RASA, Utrecht, the Netherlands. The band, consisting of Justin Robinson (fiddle, banjo, vocals), Rhiannon Giddens (fiddle, banjo, vocals), and multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons, can be seen in a video on the RASA website performing Blue Cantrell's 'Hit 'em up style'. The RASA poster and website comments adds:

Old-time Afro-American string band music comes alive in the hands of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Beautiful blues songs, genuine negro jigs and R 'n' B-covers are played on traditional instruments like banjo, fiddle, harmonica, jug and kazoo. A must hear!

The show at the RASA in Utrecht is the second in a series of twelve shows in Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France which the Carolina Chocolate Drops will be playing in the next few weeks. The first, on Monday 8 November at the London Union Chapel, London, UK, is already sold out. The rest of the tour, as it appears on the Chocolate Drops' website (where more details are available), is as follows:

Wed. 10 Nov. Rasa, Utrecht, NL
Thurs. 11 Nov. AB Club, Brussels, BE
Fri. 12 Nov. De Zwerver, Leffinge, BE
Sat. 13 Nov. Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL
Sun. 14 Nov. Merleyn, Nijmegen, NL
Tues. 16 Nov. Theatre du Rocher, La Garde, FR
Wed. 17 Nov. Le Jam, Montpellier, FR
Thurs. 18 Nov. Le Forum, Berre L'Etaing, FR
Fri. 19 Nov. Le Presqu'ile, Annonay, FR
Sat. 20 Nov. Le 106, Rouen, FR
Tues. 23 Nov. Cabaret Sauvage, Paris, FR

Monday, 1 November 2010

New banjo instruction book in Spanish

Thanks to Lluís Gómez in Barcelona, who reports:

Right now you can learn banjo in Spanish!!! Sí, sí, mis amigos, learn banjo in Spanish and play faster, je, je... It is a book in the styles of three-finger picking and frailing, I co-wrote with my friend Toni Giménez; hope you like it!

The new Manual de iniciación al banjo de cinco cuerdas ('Manual for beginning the 5-string banjo') can be obtained by contacting Lluís through his website. He and Toni Giménez will both be taking part in the Al Ras festival this coming weekend. Meanwhile, the new book has been warmly welcomed by leading banjo-players:

When I first came to Spain, perhaps fifteen years ago, there was almost no bluegrass banjo playing going on. Now, with Lluís and some of his friends, there is a blossoming bluegrass scene in Spain. It is wonderful that Lluís has now written a banjo instruction book to help expand this music in his country. Lluís is a tremendous player with his roots in traditional bluegrass and his heart in the progressive side of this music. He has done a great service for Spanish musicians (and Spanish-speaking people around the world) by writing this book. Thanks Lluís! (Tony Trischka)

The banjo is a true world music instrument. Hats off to Toni Giménez for making it accessible for Spanish speaking people to play this amazing instrument. (Cathy Fink)

With the publication of this book, the banjo may be about to conquer Spain. There is no one better than Lluís Gómez to take you through the paces of 3-finger style banjo picking and no better way to bring the exciting sounds of bluegrass into your living room. (Alison Brown)

I am glad to see this banjo method written in Spanish. Since Banjo Paris Session has been released, banjo playing has increased in Spain. Lluís Gómez and Toni Giménez are considered as some of Spanish banjo leaders. Lluís is part of the young blood of international banjo players. He has achieved a high technique, and he still has his word to say. We are so lucky to have such high-level musicians in this part of Europe. Since they wrote a banjo instruction, banjo music should have a bright future ahead in Spain and in Spanish-speaking countries. (Jean Marie Redon)

I think it's great that a player would be so passionate about his instrument and this internationally shared music that he would go the extra mile to share it with his countrymen and Spanish speakers around the world. You and I share the same desire to see the world united in bluegrass and acoustic music! (Tom Nechville)

Down County Boys' new residency: off to a good start

Ron Stevens of the Heart of England Bluegrass Venue reports that the Down County Boys, one of Britain's longest established and most respected bands, have had a great opening night for their new regular monthly bluegrass club at the Lady Jane, Hall Lane, Whitwick LE67 5PH, near Coalville in the north midlands of England.

Shows are held on the first Wednesday of every month; admission is free, and this month's special guest singer is Chris Chambers. The support of bluegrass fans is essential for the club's continued success.

In more than forty years since the band's foundation, there have been nearly thirty members. The current lineup, shown here, is (left to right) Chris Elson, Chris Cooper, Dan Norton, Peter Parker, and Mick Cooper. Full details of the band's history and the new venue are on their website. The band are also on MySpace.