Friday, 3 December 2010

Liza Karpacheva wins Brian Friesen Award banjo

Dueling banjos, move aside. Your time is over. You’ve been replaced by – diplomatic banjos!
Deering Banjos recently chose Liza Karpacheva, a 15-year-old Russian orphan from Obninsk, Russia (sister city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee), to receive the Brian Friesen Award banjo. US ambassador to Russia John Beyrle presented Deering’s new Eagle II banjo to Liza at a special November 16, 2010 bluegrass event at Spaso House, the ambassador’s historic residence in Moscow
[see above photo].
'I am honored to present you with an engraved Eagle II Deering banjo', Ambassador Beyrle told the winner. 'You are the very first person to receive one of these awards outside of America. You have impressed us all.'

These are the opening paragraphs of 'Building bridges with… banjos?' an article by Mr Dan Sreebny, a senior media advisor in the US State Department, which will appear in the Feb.-Mar. 2011 issue of Bluegrass Europe. The presentation was one of the results of the visit of Pete and Joan Wernick to Russia this summer for the first ever Russian-American Bluegrass Jamboree (featured on the EBB on 24 August). Lisa Karpacheva is banjo-player for the young Russian band Cheerful Diligence. More can be seen on the websites of Dr Banjo and the US consulate in St Petersburg, where you can watch performance videos including Cheerful Diligence playing 'That don’t bother me' ('Блэкбери блоссом').

Mr Sreebny's article ends:

To keep the spirit of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s first Russian Bluegrass Festival alive and well, the staff of the U.S. Consulate General Leningrad have decided to adopt Cheerful Diligence, Russia’s newest country-bluegrass band. The 'adoption' starts with special classes for the young Obninsk sextet in 'American English for Russian Bluegrass Musicians'. Can similar classes in Russian for American bluegrass pickers be far behind?

Read the whole text in Bluegrass Europe #78 - which will be the last issue edited by Paolo Dettwiler.