Thursday, 28 June 2012

40th Banjo Jamboree a great success

Petr Brandejs reports from this year's Banjo Jamboree:

The 40th edition of the oldest European bluegrass festival took place at the weekend of 15-17 June 2012 in Čáslav, Czech Republic, in the open-air cinema. Twenty-seven bands took part including the great (and very well received) Canadian act Oh My Darling and legends Eddie and Martha Adcock with Tom Gray. The latter made some hard-core fans almost cry as their appearance was a dream coming true for many.

The weather was great; a Vecerek guitar was successfully auctioned [see the happy owner, Tomas Honek (also a taekwondo trainer), on the right]; luthiers Čapek and Prucha showed their instruments; children liked the theatre as well as painting; the face-to-face workshop with Eddie, Martha and Tom was crowded; beer and food were good; and jamming was heavy! See you all next year!

The traditional group photo of massed banjo-players

Omagh presents an international lineup

The lineup for this year's Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival (31 Aug.-2 Sept. 2012) at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, can now be seen. The list of bands confirmed up to date includes six acts from North America (led by Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper and Don Rigsby & Midnight Call (USA), three from elsewhere in Europe (the Blue Grass Boogiemen (NL), Covered Grass (D), and Toy Hearts (GB)), and five bands from the island of Ireland. More details are on the Festival webpage and the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

The Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival is a founder member of the EBMA Festival Network. About 10,000 visitors are expected to pay admission to the Folk Park during the Festival. The photo above shows Richard Hurst, organiser of the Festival and former EBMA chairman, with stained-glass craftsman and fiddler Geordie MacAdam of the Broken String Band, who plays traditional Ulster music as well as old-time and bluegrass.

EBB readers who are on Facebook can keep up with further Omagh Festival news through the Ulster American Folk Park's Facebook page.

Dirt Daubers (USA) in Europe, July 2012

Old-time music band the Dirt Daubers, from Kentucky and Tennessee, are touring in Europe in the first three weeks of July, playing a total of sixteen dates which will take them through England, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, and Norway, culminating at the Bukta Open Air Festival at Tromsø, Norway. The poster (left) advertises one of three shows they will be playing in Ireland.

The Dirt Daubers are composed of Colonel J.D. Wilkes (songwriter and front man for the Legendary Shack Shakers), his wife Jessica, and another Shack Shaker, Mark Robertson. J.D. is also the creator of a critically acclaimed southern-music documentary film, Seven signs, and the band have appeared in the USA on radio programmes as the Red Barn Radio Show, the Blue Plate Special, and Music City Roots on WSM-AM, 'The Air Castle of the South'.

Full details of the tour, including online booking links, are on their tour schedule. You can also hear their music on their website, and watch them on YouTube.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lilly of the West summer news

Thanks to Lilly Drumeva in Sofia, Bulgaria, for this news:

Dear friends,

In the summer Lilly of the West will have concerts in the Sofia parks. Free entrance, start: 19:00. If you visit Bulgaria come and see us:

11 July Zaimov park, Theatre Sofia stage (special guests Candy Floss, Slovakia)
13 July Borisova gradina park, summer stage
24 Aug. Borisova gradina park, summer stage
25 Aug. Zaimov park, Theatre Sofia stage,
26 Aug. Yuzhen park, stage Nishava St.

17/18 Aug. We will play at Visagino Country Music Festival, Lithuania.

Check out our new videos on our YouTube channel. Have a great summer!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Irish Cajun band on the Continent, early July 2012

The Cajun band Two Time Polka, based in Cork city, Ireland, with a mandolin player (Ray Barron) heavily influenced by Bill Monroe, will be playing the following shows in early July in Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Skagen Music Festival, Denmark
Sat. 7 July Square Stage, Skagen. 4.00 p.m. Adm. TBC
Sun. 8 July Harbour Stage, Skagen. 10.00 a.m. Adm. TBC

Wed. 11 July Club Terminus, Ostende, Belgium. 9.00 p.m. Adm. €5
Thurs. 12 July McCormack's Irish Pub, Grote Markt 4, Turnhout, Belgium. 10.00 p.m. Adm. free.
Fri. 13 July Grande Cafe de Douairiere, Steenstraat, Boxmeer, the Netherlands. 9.00 p.m. Adm. free.
Sat. 14 July Baudelpark Stage, Gentse Feesten, Ghent, Belgium. 10.00 p.m. Adm. free.

Monday, 25 June 2012

WieśBand - singing bluegrass in Polish

Hello BG Friends,

As an answer for your article in EBBlog:

We've just started our bluegrass journey playing standards, but you can hear also our mother language in a few songs in our repertoire. This is a poetic appreciation & admiration of Polish ladies' beauty, bluegrass mode... :-)

Ohio Cows (YouTube)
music & lyrics: Harry Goat vel Henryk Koziol

Byłem raz kiedys krowy pasc w Ohio
Ojciec powiadał: „Nie jedz tam"!
Ja na to: „Ojcze, piekne krowy maja",
Duze i piekne - mowie Wam...

Stevie dal na popas mi niemałe stadko;
Czerwone, czarne, w laty tez,
Wpadla mi w oko jedna z biała latka,
Wiesz o czym mowie, dobrze wiesz... :-)

Wiodlem przez prerie ja do wodopoju.
Skwar lecial z nieba, ciely pchly.
Dala mi mleka z wieczornego udoju,
Pusciły lody, puscily...

Dzis jednak watpliwosci nie mam zadnych;
W Ohio piekne krowy sa.
Lecz nie ma drugich tak jak w Polsce ladnych
Na tym zakoncze piosnke ta...

Miroslaw Parejko & WBB

Friday, 22 June 2012

Roberto Dalla Vecchia: new e-newsletter

Flatpicking guitar maestro Roberto Dalla Vecchia (I) has issued his summer 2012 e-newsletter. The heading photo (above) shows him back home after a busy month that included his 8th Acoustic Guitar Workshop. In the newsletter you can
  • read about his new YouTube channel, including the recently uploaded video of 'Senza parole' with Roberto accompanying Kathy Chiavola's singing;
  • learn about orchestrAcustica, the new project for an orchestra of fifty flatpickers;
  • sample his YouTube guitar lessons (in Italian) for Chitarre magazine or sign up for his lessons by Skype;
  • read his brief report, with photo, on concerts in Italy with Dave and Nancy Bromberg and Mark Cosgrove (USA);
  • enter a draw for a free CD or tablature, given at random to subscribers to his fan list; and
  • get information on upcoming concerts.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Viper Central tour Ireland and Britain with new album, June-July 2012

Thanks to Geraint Jones of the British G Promo PR agency for the news that Viper Central from Canada are returning to Ireland and the UK for their third consecutive summer, in a tour lasting more than a month and coinciding with the release (2 July) of their third album, Thump & howl.

An official video of the band performing the title track of the new CD can be seen on YouTube. A further performance video by Viper Central can be seen on, where a schedule for the British part of the tour - fifteen dates in England, one in Wales, and one in Scotland - is given. The tour begins tomorrow night (22 June) in Ireland, where the band will make twelve appearances before moving on to Britain. All the present dates for Ireland can be seen on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog. Further dates are to be announced shortly.

Their previous albums, The devil sure is hard to please and Live at the Street Church, have enjoyed critical success, and Viper Central has toured North America and Europe. Viper Central consists of Steve Charles (guitar, banjo, bass), Kathleen Nisbet (fiddle, vocals), Tyler Rudolph (banjo), Mark Vaughan (mandolin), and Tim Tweedale (resonator guitar).

For further information, guest lists, interview requests, etc., contact Geraint Jones / G Promo PR. Phone +44 (0)1584 873211; mobile 07855 724798; e-mail.

Bluegrass Europe #84: deadline for bands and event producers

Angelika Torrie, head of the editorial team of the official EBMA magazine, Bluegrass Europe, issues this reminder:

Dear bluegrass bands and bluegrass event producers in Europe,

The deadline to send in dates for BE #84 is NOW! Please send in your public gigs and concert dates between 15 July and 31 October 2012.

We need your information in a format we can easily edit. The spreadsheet that you can download here was developed for you to enter your dates. Sorry, we will only accept dates sent in this format. Please make sure there are more bands featured than Poutnici (who have already sent in their dates, thank you!). Mail back the completed form as soon as possible, no later than 25 June.

If you don't get Bluegrass Europe in your mail, but you would like to, please consider a subscription at only €25 a year. Get it online here. We also have some space available for advertisements; the rates are fair (we think). Please have a look at the data sheet and contact us here for more information.

And please check out EBMA's website - we have many things bands could be interested in. For example, if you are an active member of EBMA, you are entitled to a free listing in every issue of Bluegrass Europe in EBMA's Bluegrass Guide, and the same goes for the respective section on our homepage.

A next call will be sent sometime in September 2012. Thank you for your contribution!

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Coloradas - back in Europe in September 2012

Thanks to Roy Davis, singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the Coloradas (USA), for the news that the band got back from their first European tour a few weeks ago. It was such a success* that the Coloradas are planning another European tour this coming September, with shows in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Norway.

The tour just past was made by a Coloradas duo (Roy Davis and Bernie Nye), performing mainly arts venues and small clubs or house concerts. For bigger shows, extra players were enlisted; the photo above right shows Roy and Bernie on stage at the Karl May Festival in Germany, with Tomáš Kubín from G-Runs 'n Roses (CZ; mostly hidden) on bass. Larger lineups of the band in the US can be seen on their website.

Promoters who wish to get in touch with the band for dates on the new tour can contact Roy via the following: Austrian mobile: +43 664 8715118; Band website; Facebook; Twitter

*Find out on their website how the Coloradas got their name on a German beer label. They can also be seen on YouTube.

New festival in Bulgaria, 11 July 2012

Lilly Drumeva reports from Bulgaria:

Lilly of the West will host the first mini bluegrass music festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Wednesday 11 July, in front of the Sofia Theatre, in Zaimov Park, at 7.30 p.m.

Special guests are Candy Floss (above) - a great young band from Slovakia.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

European bands on Bluegrass Today

'It is becoming more and more common for bluegrass artists in non-English speaking parts of the world to write and sing songs in their native tongues.' That's the beginning of a feature published yesterday on Bluegrass Today. Pride of place in the article is given to the Wortmann Brothers of Germany, who can be seen and heard performing their topical song 'Ei und Hering'.

Though the article is entitled Traditional bluegrass in German', it also features the Spinning Jennies from Sweden, whose video of 'Den som jag en gång var' is included. There should be an opportunity here somewhere for the Stroatklinkers (NL; shown below) - not to mention, of course, the many bluegrass songs being written in Czech and Slovak...

Saturday, 16 June 2012

British banjoists in Banjo News Letter

Thanks to for the news that the June 2012 issue of Banjo News Letter features British banjoist John Dowling (see the EBB for 15 May 2012), interviewed by his compatriot Leon Hunt, who was himself featured in BNL in May 2000. Read a little of the interview on the BNL website, and the feature here.

Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa in the Netherlands, 17 July 2012 - hurry to make sure of a seat

L-r: Scott Walker, Emory Lester, Kene Hyatt, Wayne Taylor

Cor & Margaret Sanne of CMS Productions sent the following announcement earlier this week. They now report that the concert is nearly sold out. Only 20 seats were left at midday today (Sat. 16 June), and anyone who wants to make sure of a seat should book at once.

Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa to Holland for exclusive concert on TUESDAY 17 JULY

Address - Zuideinde 15
Town - NIEUWKOOP (Holland)

Time: 2 sets of 60 minutes. Doors open 19:00; showtime 20:00.

Wayne Taylor (guitar, lead and baritone vocals) is bringing the following musicians:

1. Emory Lester (mandolin, harmony vocals)
2. Kene Hyatt (bass)
3. Mike Scott (5-string banjo, vocals; formerly with Jim & Jesse among others)

Tickets: €20.00 per person, only to be reserved via e-mail. In advance payment is required. After reservation, bank info will follow. Note: Turfschip is a small venue with a maximum of 100 people. Quick reservations are advised.

This is the band's only concert in Western Europe. On 14 July they play in Norway along with Vince Gill and Bobby Bare, and from 18 July the band will appear in Scotland.

Hope to see you in beautiful Nieuwkoop and enjoy an evening of great bluegrass.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Foghorns end European tour in Switzerland

The Foghorn Stringband (Caleb Klauder, mandolin, vocals; Stephen 'Sammy' Lind, violin, vocals; Reeb Willms, guitar, vocals; Nadine Landry, double bass, vocals) from Oregon, USA, recently completed a tour in Europe, beginning in Ireland and ending in Switzerland. They have been contributing blog posts on their experiences to the Prescription Bluegrass Blog, and the final post - dealing with their shows in Geneva and the surrounding area - can be read on the PBB here.

'Gotta lotta rhythm in my soul' video now on YouTube

Lilly Drumeva sends the news that the new video 'Gotta lotta rhythm in my soul' by Lilly of the West, announced on the EBB on 1 June, is now on YouTube. Lilly says: 'Be the first to watch!'

'Gotta lotta rhythm in my soul' is one of the tracks on the band's new album Swings & heartaches, which is available on cdbaby or direct from Lilly's website. Contact Lilly by e-mail.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Danilo Cartia Band in Rome, 16 June 2012

The Danilo Cartia Band (I) will be playing at the McTower Pub, Via della Rustica 1, Rome, on Saturday 16 June 2012. Admission is free.

Danilo Cartia website; MySpace; Facebook: Danilo Cartia; e-mail
ph. / fax +39 06 8273332
mob. +39 339 6908450

Bluegrass concerts in Belgium, June-July 2012

Bluegrass in Belgium announces:

Shenandoah Special and Bluemaxx will entertain you on 1 July in Ranst, starting at 15:00. The number of seats is limited, so make your reservation NOW by e-mail.

Only 10 empty seats remain for Eddie & Martha Adcock with Tom Gray in Toogenblik (Brussels) on 22 June. If you haven't reserved yet, you only have a few minutes left! E-mail.

And of course, Alison Krauss in Antwerp on 28 June.

More details on the Bluegrass in Belgium calendar.

For other appearances by Eddie & Martha Adcock with Tom Gray in Europe, see the EBB for 12 June 2012; the schedule for AKUS is on the EBB at 22 Mar. Although the date shown there for the band's appearance at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark is not on the band's website, they appear in the festival's own programme.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

2nd Pijnackerplein Bluegrass Festival in Rotterdam, 30 June 2012

Guido de Groot reports from the Netherlands:

On Saturday 30 June 2012, on the most beautiful square in Rotterdam (Holland), we will be happy to welcome you to the second Pijnackerplein Bluegrass Festival!

With fantastic bands from the world of bluegrass, hillbilly, and punkgrass, like Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours (USA), the Blue Grass Boogiemen (NL), and many more!

See our website for full details. Admission is free. The programme starts at 11:30 AND we will be having a Stringpickers contest! You can win up to €400 worth of musical supplies. Check our site for details.

Hope to see you there!

Eddie & Martha Adcock with Tom Gray in Europe, June 2012

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for this updated schedule for the coming tour by Eddie & Martha Adcock with Tom Gray in Europe later this month:

Sat. 16th June Banjo Jamboree, Čáslav, Czech Republic
Sun. 17th Langenau-Pflegehofsaal, near Ulm, Germany, 7.00 p.m.
Mon. 18th Haberhaus, Neustadt 51, CH-8200 Schaffhausen, Switzerland, 8.00 p.m.
Tues. 19th Kleinkunstbühne 'Zur Post' D-83119 Obing beim John, Germany 7.00 p.m.
Wed. 20th private
Thurs. 21st Beavers Miltenberg, Germany, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 22nd Toogenblick, Brussels, Belgium, 8.30 p.m
Sat. 23rd Partycentrum 'De Vriendschap' Wadway 22 in 1715 GZ, the Netherlands SPANBROEK, 7.00 p.m.; +31 229-571447. Contact Loek Lamers 'phone +31 229-57 1448

Bluegrass Music Denmark news

Spencer Sorenson reports:

Our spring concert season is winding down, and we will finish with a visit from Rocks & Ivy from Belgium and Holland. We have had a full schedule this spring, with two Swedish bands (South Drive and a return visit from the Hillfillies), a Norwegian band (Julie and the New Favorites, also returning to our stage), and the first-time visit of the Danish group Muleskinner. We were also extremely pleased to host one of the best European bands, G Runs 'n Roses, and the first-class American band the Gibson Brothers, who started their European tour in Copenhagen. Plans are already made for the fall, and we start out with a brand new Danish band, Ungrassified. We are pleased to have some new bands starting here, and hope that the trend continues.

We are beginning a compilation of the history of bluegrass music in Denmark, and if any of you have pictures or other relevant historical material from Danish participation in European events that you could loan us, we would be happy to receive it, and will of course return it.

Sad news from Namur, Belgium: no Picnic Festival in 2012

From the Facebook group of the Picnic Festival, we had to learn the sad news from Laurent Eeckhout:

Chers amis festivaliers du Picnic Festival,

Je suis au regret de vous annoncer qu'il n'y aura pas d'édition 2012 de notre bel événement. Le manque de moyens financiers ne nous permettra pas d'organiser un huitième Picnic Festival dans de bonnes conditions.

Je remercie les fidèles de la première heure (et ceux des heures suivantes...) d'avoir participé, apprécié (j'espère...), de nous avoir aidé, encouragé, soutenu.

Nous espérons revenir en 2013 pour vous proposer à nouveau un festival original et unique dans notre belle région. D'ici-là, portez-vous bien, abusez du bluegrass, du celtic et de la Guinness, on compte sur vous pour porter haut ces valeurs!

Bluegrassement vôtre,

Laurent Eeckhout

Monday, 11 June 2012

Bluegrass news from Italy

Martino Coppo of Red Wine (left) and the EBMA board sends bluegrass news from Italy:

May has been a busy month for Red Wine, which has presented its new CD RED, released early in 2012, to the local press and fans with an intimate, short set at the oldest and most famous record store in town, Disco Club), then played at the international Bluegrass Festival in Willisau, Switzerland, and at the Strakonice Bluegrass Jamboree in the Czech Republic.

The band has also started working on its Bluegrass Party #4 which will take place at the beautiful Modena Theatre in Genoa (Genova) on 16 November 2012, with special guest legendary bluegrass singer/ songwriter Peter Rowan as part of a short tour where it will present the whole new CD RED.

Here is the schedule of the Peter Rowan + Red Wine fall tour 2012:

Nov. 15th Maison Musique, Turin (Torino), IT
Nov. 16th Red Wine Bluegrass Party #4, Teatro Modena, Genoa (Genova), IT
Nov. 17th (tentative) La Roche-sur-Foron, FR
Nov. 18th Teatro Amigdala, Trezzo D'Adda, IT

On 2 August Ronnie Bowman and the Committee (USA) will play a small, intimate, and fully acoustic house concert in a nice old villa nested in the the beautiful mountains surroundings of Genoa (Genova). For informations and registrations, e-mail me.

If you want to enrol for the 7th Urbino (IT) MinierAcustica Music Camp, now you can do it! This year the first week, from 19 to 25 August 2012, will be dedicated to coaching and group music moderated by Thierry Crommen on harmonica, Stéphane Wertz on guitar, and André Vandomber on rhythm guitar. The second week, from 26 August through 1 September 2012, will be focused on folk music and bluegrass with exceptional guests from the USA and Ireland. For the first time in Italy, the legendary American guitarist Russ Barenberg will teach the guitar class. Martino Coppo will teach the mandolin. The Irish accordionist David Munnelly will give the first workshop diatonic accordion class. For more information, please visit MinierAcustica.

WiesBand Bielany at BluegrassEvening Bielany 2012

The Polish band WiesBand Bielany (shown above on stage at last month's Spring Bluegrass Festival Willisau in Switzerland) announce that they have given serious thought to starting in their village the first and only Polish bluegrass festival, BluegrassDay Bielany, which is provisionally scheduled for 30 July 2012. A website and Facebook page for the event are in preparation. Meanwhile, the 2012 BluegrassEvening Bielany is planned as an intimate evening with bluegrass music by two or three bands.

The Wiesband Bielany are the first Polish band to perform country music at the Philharmonia of Wroclaw, which they did on 22 May 2011, supporting the Joscho Stephan Quartet. This year they have started their KinderGarden Bluegrass Summit – a series of concerts for children in kindergartens and primary schools. More details are on their website.

WiesBand Bielany
Miroslaw Parejko
55-040 Bielany Wr., Brzozowa 8, Poland
+ 48 601 715 864
Facebook: WiesBand Bielany
YouTube:  WiesBand Bielany Akustik

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Invitation To Submit Your Doc Watson Story / Photo

There is a unique opportunity for all music fans in Europe to participate in a very special tribute to the late musical legend and icon, Doc Watson. As you may know, guitarist and storyteller Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson passed away on May 29, 2012, at age 89.

This invitation comes to you from author Caroline Wright, on behalf of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). Music fans in Europe are invited to submit a personal Doc Watson story. It can be about your own experience, your thoughts and memories about Doc, his influence on your life and so on. Feel free to send your own original photos. You may write as little as 100 words or less -- but more is certainly welcomed.

Caroline writes: "I hope to include comments from people who are thousands of miles away from him [Doc], and maybe never even got to meet him or hear him live -- but whose lives were profoundly affected by his music."

Your submissions will be considered for publication in International Bluegrass, now available in a new online digital magazine edition. The cover story of the July 2012 issue will be devoted to the tribute to Doc Watson.

The deadline for submitting material is 22 June 2012 -- submit your materials as soon as possible. You may E-mail your submissions directly to Caroline Wright:

[Caroline Wright is an author, freelance writer, former editor of Bluegrass Now magazine, founder of Bluegrass Hawaii Traditional & Bluegrass Music Society, and is currently the Interim Publication Editor/Special Projects Director at IBMA. Caroline and Tim Stafford co-authored "Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story" (2010). The book offers an amazing perspective on the life of one of the most profound, innovative guitarists of all time. Much of the story is told in Tony's own words, as well as personal observations from his friends, family, fans, and fellow musicians.]

Friday, 8 June 2012

Bluegrass summer in Slovakia

Thanks to Martin Laca for the Slovak bluegrass news:

From 13 to 15 January 2012 there was the 7th Winter Musical Camp that took place in the Cottage Kosodrevina under Chopok in the Low Tatras. As proof of the high level of activity, twenty-four bluegrass and country bands took part from Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Moravia, Netherlands, and USA.

These days, on 23 June we are expecting the 17th year of the first Slovak bluegrass festival, called Bluegrass Evening Fest, in Horná Poruba [see poster image]. The Bluegrass Festival will take place in Nová Dubnica on 25 Aug. 2012.

In Slovakia there are next three country festivals with bluegrass band participation. The international country festival Zámocké Country took place on 1-2 June 2012. The Country Fest Malá Mača will be held on 8-9 June 2012, and the 5th year of the Country Fest Rozmarín Terchová will take place on 3-4 Aug. 2012.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

New bluegrass T-shirts from England

A new range of designer bluegrass T-shirts in black and white, featuring all the bluegrass instruments and printed on heavyweight premium-quality 'Fruits of the Loom' T-shirts, is now available, thanks to professional graphic designer and illustrator Anne Steel of © Maui Waui Design in Norfolk, England.

Anne plays banjo, guitar, and ukulele, attends the annual Sore Fingers Summer School, and is working on more designs reflecting her passion for bluegrass and country music. Full details of the present range, with sizes, prices, and online purchase facilities, are shown on her 'Keep on the Bluegrass' website. Custom variations in colour or shirt style may be possible; check with Anne via the contact details below.

Anne Steel
© Maui Waui Design
2 Moor Cottages, The Green
Norfolk NR15 2RZ
T +44 01508 530934
M +44 07868 613537

Busy bluegrass summer in France

Christopher Howard-Williams reports from France:

The big events in France over the summer are the usual Craponne Country Rendez-Vous (27-29 July), which features this year, as well as some leading US country artists, the Steeldrivers, Ronnie Bowman, and Howlin' Fox.

One week later (1-5 August) is La Roche Bluegrass Festival. This is a FREE festival with thirty bands from all over Europe and the USA. Headlining this year is Ronnie Bowman, Bearfoot, and Hickory Project from the US, They Call Me Rico (Can), Blackjack (Cz), Le Chat Mort (S), and Turquoise (F). The festival is family-friendly with plenty to do for kids and bigs, and good locally-produced food and drink on site.

Between these two festivals is the international La Roche Summer Bluegrass Camp led by Pierre Bastide with Hickory Project and French tutors. This successful camp has been growing in popularity thanks to the great teaching of Hickory Project. See more here.

Meanwhile, the different regions around France are getting more active with weekend sessions in the home, so if you are travelling in France this summer go see the FBMA internet forum for details (there is an English section).

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Sacred Harp singing in Bochum: a new blog

The EBB likes to support music from the roots of bluegrass, so we're glad to receive this message from Chris Sepic in Bochum, Germany (shown above):

I wanted to thank you again for posting my request for singers back in March to join a shape-note singing group in the Bochum/Ruhrgebiet area. To that end, I have set up a blog to (hopefully!) draw some interest from Germans and English-speaking expats who are curious about the genre. Anyone who wants to can visit my blog and get in touch with me personally. I don't have a time and place worked out yet, but that depends on the interest level and the location of those who might participate. I already have support from the Bremen and Frankfurt singing groups to come out and help get things started.

I also have some local contacts who might be able to help with the venue. I appreciate your willingness to spread the word before, and hope that I can encourage some brave souls to participate. Incidentally, my wife and I had a great time at Grevengrass.

15th Acoustic Guitar Meeting in Italy, 23-27 May

The 15th annual Acoustic Guitar Meeting was held in Sarzana, Italy, on 23-27 May 2012. The many performers included David & Nancy Bromberg (USA) and Bob Brozman (USA), with a full supporting programme including talks on guitar issues, and exhibitions of instruments by major guitar-building companies as well as independent luthiers.

Full details are on the Acoustic Guitar Meeting website. Daily blog entries by John Thomas, an American musician attending the Meeting, can be read on the website of the Fretboard Journal.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Abaliget - THE bluegrass event in Hungary, 10-12 Aug. 2012

Thanks to Péter Tölgyesi, EBMA national representative for Hungary, for this reminder:

Hello bluegrass maniacs,

In the summer we have the only major bluegrass event in Hungary:

10-12 August 2012 – International Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival, Abaliget

Programme will be posted on the Festival website. Hope to see you all there… ;)

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Bluegrass news from the Czech Republic

  • The Czech banjo player (and CzBMA and EBMA president) Petr Brandejs has received the first European Wernick Bluegrass Music Method Provisional Certificate. Petr plans to start this unique method in his area in the eastern part of the Czech Republic this autumn or in 2013, and will modify it for the Czech conditions, especially to minimise the language barrier through translation of all written materials. Besides that, Petr keeps organising his own workshops where the instructors teach instrumental skills on the different instruments. The Wernick Method differs greatly as it aims to help students jam right away, with only the need to play four chords: G, C, D, and A. The classes will be held on 8 Sunday afternoons for a reasonable fee.
  • Bluegrass Cwrkot recorded their sixth CD, called Hear that sound.
  • Young talented band Twisted Timber released their first CD, Free ride of our lives.
  • There are more annual bluegrass workshops in sight: XXIII. Summer Bluegrass Workshop in Hustopeče in August, Dílna s prasetem in September, and Petr Brandejs's and Jindra Hylmar's Autumn Bluegrass Workshop in Male Svatonovice on 12-14 October (for info, contact Petr Brandejs by

Béla Fleck and Oumou Sangaré in Portugal, 21 July 2012

Thanks to André Dal Lentilhas, who sends good news from Portugal:

The master of the banjo, Béla Fleck, is coming to the World Music Festival (Festival Músicas do Mundo - FMM), of SInes, Portugal, to present his project with the African singer, Oumou Sangaré (left), on 21 July [see here]. Their collaboration started after Fleck's documentary Throw down your heart, about the origins of the banjo.

The only Portuguese bluegrass band, Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti, will appear once again on the biggest festival of Portugal, Festa do Avante, on 8-9 September.

A video of Oumou Sangaré singing 'Djorolen', accompanied by Béla Fleck, can be seen here. An interview on the Afropop website with Béla Fleck about his Africa project mentions 'Djorolen' as an example of power from understatement.

Rawhide: the next generation

Thanks to Thierry Schoysman of Rawhide, the Sons of Navarone, and Bluegrass in Belgium for this YouTube link to a rather special music video.

The audio track is Rawhide's recording of the Kiss song 'I was made for loving you'. The video shows Thierry's son Willem (guitar), daughter Luna (fiddle), and their friends Veerle (banjo) and Nele (mandolin) - and they really nail the number to the wall. The future of bluegrass in Belgium is clearly in safe hands.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

News from Bulgaria

Lilly Drumeva reports on coming events in Bulgaria and eastern Europe:

9-10 June: Country West Fest will be held for the second time in the town of Bankya, near Sofia. The programme features Lilly of the West, Kaliana, Medikus, the Boko Blues Band, and other country/bluegrass-related bands.

22-25 June: Lilly of the West will tour Russia, with performances at the
Muzenergo Jazz Festival
in Dubna, Ivanovo, and Moscow.

3 July: Lilly of the West will perform at the US embassy in Sofia, to celebrate Independence Day.

11 July: Lilly of the West will have an open-air concert in the Zaimov Park, Sofia, with guest musicians from Slovakia. Other park concerts are scheduled for August.

17-18 August: Lilly of the West is featured in the festival programme of the Visagino Country Music Festival, Lithuania.

Lilly of the West has released a video clip to the song 'Who knows what tomorrow may bring', from the album Swings & heartaches. A new video to the song 'Gotta lotta rhythm in my soul' is on the way (trailer here).

Friday, 1 June 2012

Chris Jones on touring in Europe

Singer, writer, guitarist, bandleader, and broadcaster Chris Jones (USA), who has just completed a tour in Europe, has begun a series of articles for Bluegrass Today, giving good advice to US musicians on touring abroad.

Chris states clearly that his experience is of touring in western and central Europe, and what he says reinforces the advice given in the EBMA's own 'Thinking of touring in Europe?' document. Read his first article, 'International man of bluegrass', here.

Update: Chris's second article, 'International touring dos and don'ts', was published on 6 June. It deserves to be appended to the EBMA document.

LOTW: new video on the way

Lilly Drumeva sends greetings from Bulgaria, and the news that the new video 'Gotta lotta rhythm in my soul' by Lilly of the West will be out soon. Meanwhile a trailer for the video can be seen on YouTube.

'Gotta lotta rhythm in my soul' is one of the tracks on the band's new album Swings & heartaches, which is available on cdbaby or direct from Lilly's website. Contact Lilly by e-mail.

Los Hermanos Cubero: brand new record from Spain

Los Hermanos Cubero report from Spain:

Hola amigos,

Our brand new record is out now on Carajillo Records - a 7" vinyl with four new songs:

- 'La calle abajo' (Down the street)
- 'La mandolina castellana' (Castilian mandolin)
- 'No quiero soñar nunca más' (I don't want to dream anymore)
- 'Paloteo de otoño para Abril' (Autumn dance for April)

Traditional Iberic music with a bluegrass touch. Salud!

Los Hermanos Cubero are also on MySpace.