Thursday, 28 February 2013

Registration and hotel bookings open for IBMA's WOB 2013

Registration for IBMA’s World of Bluegrass 2013 events – as well as hotel reservations – opens 1 March 2013. The five-day event, which takes place 24-28 September, is bluegrass music’s annual industry gathering and family reunion, held for the first time in Raleigh, North Carolina. IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organisation for the global bluegrass music community.

IBMA’s World of Bluegrass 2013 will take place at the Greater Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Red Hat Amphitheater — all within easy walking distance of each other. Evening showcases will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center and at various venues in town. The festival portion of World of Bluegrass – named 'Wide Open Bluegrass' this year – will take place Friday and Saturday, 27-28 Sept., and will also feature a street fair with music stages, vendors, concessions, youth activities, and the North Carolina Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship.

Regular World of Bluegrass attendees will be pleased to learn that, in addition to opening ticket sales earlier this year, all tickets and hotel rates are lower than in recent years.

Visit www.worldofbluegrass.org or call 1-888-GET-IBMA for more details and to purchase tickets/ register for World of Bluegrass 2013. Follow IBMA’s World of Bluegrass news at Facebook and on Twitter (@intlbluegrass, #ibma, #wob2013, #bluegrass).

Festival in new hands; headliners on new label

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen (USA), who were announced earlier this year as the headline act at this summer's Guildtown Bluegrass Festival in Scotland (19-21 July 2013), have joined the artist roster of Compass Records. Their debut Compass album, On the edge, is scheduled for release on 30 April. The band won the IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2012. Full details are on this Compass press release.

After more than twenty-five years of organising the Guildtown festival, John Sheldon of the Scottish Bluegrass Association has retired to devote himself to his band Goldrush, and the Scottish Bluegrass Association website has closed down. Responsibility for the festival has been taken over by Mark McClymont of Zine Records, and tickets for the 2013 Guildtown festival can be booked on the Festival section of the Zine website. Further details will be announced in due course.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Blackberry Winter for Europe - this year?

 
Blackberry Winter (above), from the Missouri Ozarks, are interested in touring the UK and Ireland, possibly Europe, this year or next. Their music, which fits in the Americana/bluegrass/old-time categories, with especially powerful and sensitive vocals, can be heard on the soundtrack of the critically acclaimed film Winter’s bone (2010), which was nominated for four Oscars.

They can be seen in performance, or heard from the film soundtrack, on YouTube, here, here, here, and here. The band, who are also on Facebook, can be contacted through their road manager Sarah Denton of Juneapple Records, by e-mail.
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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Danilo Cartia in Rome, 28 Feb. 2013



Danilo Cartia (I) will be playing country and blues on Thursday 28 February from 22:00 at 'Locanda Don Chisciotte', Via dei Sabelli 58, Rome. Admission is free.

Phone/fax: +39 068273332
Mobile: +39 3396908450
E-mail

New Acoustic Gallery newsletter, Feb. 2013

 
Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery (NAG) in Germany, which has now moved from Solingen to its new home at Wuppertal, announces the February 2013 NAG newsletter, which can be downloaded as an eleven-page pdf file.

News includes a bluegrass guitar workshop to be given by Oliver on 16 March 2013, and the publication of his new book Celtic collection for 5-string banjo; new stock includes gypsy jazz guitars, Weber mandolins, and banjos by Deering, Nechville, and Vega.

New Acoustic Gallery
Schloss Lüntenbeck
Lüntenbeck 1
42327 Wuppertal
Tel. +49 (0)202/94672730
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The Roys in Europe, May 2013

 
Multi-award-winning duo and Rural Rhythm recording artists The Roys (USA) will be performing at four dates in Europe early in May 2013:

May 1 Karens Minde Kulturhus, Copenhagen, Denmark
May 2 Trekanten Kulturhus, Aalborg, Denmark
May 4 International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, Bühl, Germany
May 5 Leicester Square Theatre, London, England

More details are on this WBA Entertainment newsletter.

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Monday, 25 February 2013

Mumford and Sons win Brit Award

Thanks to Richard Thompson, a long-standing free-lance writer about bluegrass music matters and correspondent for bluegrasstoday.com for this wonderful bit of news:
Mumford and Sons win Brit award

Mumford and Sons picked up the Best British Group award at the awards show held at the O2 Arena on Wednesday night (February 20) in London, England.

The Telegraph daily newspaper had this to say of the band and the success that the band has enjoyed this year ….
"The whole world loves the Mumfords. They love their banjos and their passion and their cute British accents. And why not? As we saw from their virile performance, they are purveyors of strong, meaningful songs delivered with great gusto. The Americans love them so much, they gave them the ultimate Grammy for Album of the Year .."

During the show Mumford & Sons performed their hit song I Will Wait. 

UK Music Store Number One Banjo Dealership In The World!

Thanks to Brian McNeal of the Prescription Bluegrass Blog for drawing our attention to this:

UK Music Store Number One Banjo Dealership In The World! 

"Banjo specialists Eagle Music Shop have received an award for the sixth year running from The Deering Banjo Company.
Having officially sold over two thousand Deering Banjos, more than any other retailer worldwide, Eagle have set a benchmark within the traditional music retail industry. The award is also in recognition of Eagle’s unrelenting dedication to customer service."

Click here for more...




Bulgaria news February 2013

Thanks to Lilly Drumeva for the following news: 


27th Feb: Lilly Drumeva will perform swing and jazz standards together with OLD GOLD SEXTET, excellent musicians from the Bulgarian national radio big band. Sofia, Studio 5 jazz club, 19:00, more info on: http://clubstudio5.com/

28th Feb: Lilly of the West will perform live on TV, being special guests on Uti Bachvarov’s cooking program “Barzo, lesno, vkusno”, BNT 1, 18:00, more on: http://bnt.bg/bg/productions/about/93/byrzo_lesno_vkusno

16th March: Lilly Drumeva will be featured in an all star concert in Prague, together with leading Czech bluegrass musicians, more on: http://www.capekinstruments.com/index.php?lang=en

22nd March: Lilly of the West will give a special concert with Irish folk music to honor St. Patrick’s day. The show will be opened by the Irish ambassador in Sofia, Mr. John Rowan, Sofia city art gallery, 18:00, more on: http://kulturni-novini.info/news.php?page=news_show&nid=15557&sid=11

Lilly Drumeva is currently working on the first bluegrass recording in Bulgarian language: “Kuntri w dushata”. She has written a new song about her love of country & bluegrass music and her life on the road with the band. Guest musicians are “Candy floss”, an excellent young band from Slovakia. Audio and video coming soon! More on: www.lillydrumeva.net

Lilly Drumeva
Lilly of the West
lilly@techno-link.com
W: www.LillyDrumeva.net





Sunday, 24 February 2013

'Bluegrass in Ireland' - a new online resource

 The editor emeritus of the Bluegrass Ireland Blog reports:

To fill the gap left by my retirement from active blogging, Ray O'Brien of Waterford has set up a new Facebook page, 'Bluegrass in Ireland'. Launched just this morning, it's already off to a vigorous start with messages from the bluegrass community, links, video material, and the promise of more to come - including a calendar, with a set pattern for bands and event organisers to send in information.

'Bluegrass in Ireland' deserves a warm welcome, and everyone with an interest in bluegrass in Ireland should make full use of it. Thanks, Ray!
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Saturday, 16 February 2013

Thank you, Richard Hawkins!

Dear Richard

How unfortunate we all are to learn that you are hanging up your keyboard. 
How fortunate we have been to have enjoyed your unstinting efforts to make sure we all stay up to date with the latest information about all things Bluegrass and Europe.
On behalf of the French Bluegrass community, as well as the European one of which I have the honour to be vice chair, I would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation for your contribution towards creating a community without frontiers.
You, and probably even more Carol, deserve a well-earned break from this work and I look forward to seeing you again soon at one of our great events.

Thank you Richard and Carol

With best wishes
Christopher Howard-Williams

France Bluegrass Musique Association
www.france-bluegrass.org

IBMA moving to new offices


Thanks to IBMA CEO Nancy Cardwell for this information:

"IBMA is moving to a new office in Nashville this week! Our new address is 608 W. Iris Drive, Nashville, TN 37204, same tel: 615-256-3222 or 888-GET-IBMA, info@ibma.org. Members, if you're going to be in town Wed, March 6, be sure to come to our open house 4-7 p.m.! We can't wait to show you around the new place. A shout out to hard-working staff members Jill Crabtree, Katherine Coe and volunteer/members Sandy Snider & Todd Wright!"

All the best to IBMA for a good move to the new place!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Thank you, Richard Hawkins

Dear Richard,

I understand today is your last day of blogging for the EBMA Blog and I know from tomorrow our entire community will miss you and your great posts. Thank you for all the brilliant, efficient,  professional and timely work during all these years! You are surely one of  most deserving Bluegrass  Pioneers on this side of the pond (even if uneligible at the moment...), and I hope you and your sweet wife Carol will keep supporting Bluegrass in other ways and attending some of the great Bluegrass festivals and events in Europe.

Looking forward to seeing you soon, thanks again! 

Martino Coppo, Genova

Thanks to Richard Hawkins


Seldom have I seen such dedication to a job, as Richard has shown us over the last years, as the one mainly responsible for posting all the news on our EBMA blog. When he announced a while ago that he would quit doing that, I had trouble taking that seriously, as his continuing supply of bluegrass news has become a part of my daily intake of what is happening. But, here it is, the final day!

All I can say right now, is a throroughly heartfelt THANK YOU (to both Carol and Richard), and I can only hope that Richard's successor(s) will do half as good a job as he has done!

Rienk Janssen - SCR
Postbus 32
9540 AA Vlagtwedde, NL
(+31) 0599 312663
www.strictlycountry.nl
rienk.janssen@planet.nl

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Lineup for 2013 Omagh festival announced

Richard Hurst of the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, announces that the lineup for this year's 22nd Annual Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival (Fri. 30 Aug.-Sun. 1 Sept. 2013) will include the Lonesome River Band (above), Cedar Hill (USA), Lynda Dawson & Pattie Hopkins of Kickin' Grass (USA), Rawhide (B), the Jaywalkers (GB; #3 European Bluegrass Band at EWOB 2012), Southern Tenant Folk Union (GB), and Irish bands Woodbine, the Broken String Band, Northern Exposure, Tupelo, Well Enough Alone, and the Down and Out Bluegrass Band. Further additions will be announced on the Park's website. The full announcement can be seen on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

In addition to being the Festival organiser, Richard was a board member and chairperson of the EBMA 2008-9.

G2 in ROMP 2013 lineup

 
Sweden's G2 Bluegrass Band are scheduled to take part in the International Bluegrass Music Museum's ROMP (River of Music Party; 27-29 June 2013), alongside Merle Haggard, the David Grisman Sextet, the Del McCoury Band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and twenty other bands. More details are on the IBMM's latest e-newsletter and on the ROMP website.

On rocks and earth: new CD from Audun Haugeplass

 
Thanks to Dagfinn Pedersen of the Norwegian Bluegrass Music Association and the EBMA board, for this news of a new CD project in Norway, being released 23 March 2013:

Audun Haugeplass, former vocalist and bass player of the Holstein United Bluegrass Boys, is releasing his first solo album, On rocks and earth, on the folk music record label Kvarts. With down-to-earth guitar playing and a lonesome falsetto, Haugeplass tells the stories of people and places in his own Blue Ridge Mountains of Norway. Using instruments that link musical traditions from both sides of the Atlantic, he celebrates a quiet, but rich country life. Some of the lyrics include poems by the late Margit Lappegard (1918-2011), which Haugeplass has adapted to bluegrass tunes. The result is a series of compelling musical stories that pay tribute to a way of life that once was, and that has perhaps been lost.

The musicians on the record are known from the Norwegian bluegrass bands Earlybird Stringband and the Holstein United Bluegrass Boys, and they have played at different bluegrass festivals, including EWOB.

Audun Haugeplass, vocals, guitar; Audun Moen, vocals; Kjetil Steensnæs, guitar, dobro; Olav Christer Rossebø, mandolin, fiddle; Tor Egil Kreken, upright bass, banjo

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Happy St Valentine's Day!

Lilly Drumeva sends greetings from Bulgaria:

Dear all,

Warm wishes and happy St Valentine’s Day! Enjoy our versions of 'If I needed you' and 'Walkin' after midnight'.

Lilly Drumeva
Lilly of the West
E-mail

Lilly Drumeva and Jakub Racek

7th Westport Folk & Bluegrass Festival, 14-16 June 2013

Festival organiser Uri Kohen announces that the 2013 Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival will take place on 14-16 June in Westport, Co. Mayo, in the west of Ireland. The festival lineup will include strong regional acts such as Tim Rogers, the Rocky Top String Band, and the Molly Hicks, who appear regularly at Westport festivals. Bands from the rest of Ireland include Woodbine, the Tin Box Company, and Jukebox Gypsy, together with Derry singer/songwriter Eilidh Patterson.

US old-time/bluegrass act Tumbling Bones will end a month-long Irish tour at Westport, where the First Lady of Banjo, Roni Stoneman (right), will be performing and jamming.

The main festival concert (tickets €15) will start with Wildflowers (IRL), followed by Kidnap Alice (photo below) from London, and ending with the Blue Grass Boogiemen (NL; photo at top), who were the headline act at the 2009 Westport festival. Further surprises are expected; details and updates will be on the festival's Facebook page.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Kristy Cox and band in Europe, 9-20 May 2013

Kristy Cox (photo: Nick McGrath)

Multi-award-winning Australian bluegrass artist Kristy Cox will be in Europe for three weeks in May 2013 (9-20 May). She and her four-piece band (double bass, guitar, mandolin, banjo) are booked to perform at the European World of Bluegrass Festival (9-11 May) at Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, and are available for other engagements

Last October Kristy Cox received the Female Rising Star award at the 2012 Australian Independent Country Music Awards, and she was also nominated for New Talent of the Year and Alternative Country Album of the Year in the 41st Country Music Awards of Australia (the 'Golden Guitar' awards).

Her 2012 album Miles & timezones was recorded and produced in Nashville, TN, with A-list American musicians. The title track was co-written by her and Lachlan Davidson of the Davidson Brothers; together they have won a songwriting award. She has also showcased at IBMA's World of Bluegrass.

She can be seen and heard on her website, and her latest album and press pack is here: www.airplaydirect.com/kristycoxmusic. Promoters can contact her through her website or directly by e-mail.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Good reviews for Niall Toner album

Onwards & upwards, the new Pinecastle album by Irish bandleader, broadcaster, and songwriter Niall Toner, has been receiving praise from country music reviewers. Niall sends the scanned image (left) of reviews by Alan Cackett in the UK's Maverick magazine and by Greg McAteer in the Irish magazine Hot Press. Click on the image to obtain a readable size of print.

Alan Cackett calls the album 'an almost perfect blend of bluegrass and country, highlighted by quality songwriting', considers the Toner composition 'William Smith Monroe' 'the finest song I've heard in regard to Bill Monroe', and ends:

This is without doubt an outstanding album and further proof, if proof was needed, that European country-bluegrass-old time singers do not need to sound like pseudo Americans to produce authentic, honest, and creditable country music with great authority.

Niall adds that the Maverick review has caused a sharp rise of interest in his work, especially since it came out in the USA last week, and may be responsible for his having also just hit the #1 spot on the AirPlay Direct all-time Bluegrass/Folk charts.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival

Since 2002 the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival, held annually in the Irish midlands, has been of immense symbolic importance in combining Irish and American music. It has brought Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, and many other great musicians to Ireland, and has seen the birth of many musical friendships. The EBB therefore receives with regret this message from the organisers of the Festival:

It is with a heavy heart that we make this announcement.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, there will be no Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in 2013. We thank the town of Longford for sustaining the festival from 2002 to 2011.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Lucky, Luke, and Yuyi the cowgirl

Thanks to Sergio Almagro ('Lucky') and Pedro Martínez ('Luke'), from Murcia (E), for further news of their bluegrass duo Lucky & Luke (also on Facebook here).

On 17 January the EBB published a link to their eight-minute dramatic video on YouTube, 'El Sheriff', with Lucky & Luke playing 'Guitar polka' and 'East Tennessee blues' as background to the action. They now appear in a new video, playing Elvis tunes and accompanied by their new helper, Cowgirl Yuyi ('La vaquera'). The video explains how they met her.

Lucky & Luke belong to the Spanish Association of Bluegrass and are available for festival bookings in Europe. A playlist of their music can be heard on the GoEar website. Their e-mail contact address is here.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Ireland's oldest bluegrass festival returns to life

Tony O'Brien (photo from an original by Carl Mark O'Neill)

Three months ago it was announced that the Athy Bluegrass Festival - founded in 1991 and thus Ireland's oldest annual bluegrass event - would no longer be held.

In a statement issued today, Tony O'Brien, organiser of the festival since 1997, has some very welcome news: the Athy town council has intervened to give financial support to the event. This means that the 23rd Athy Bluegrass Festival will be held on the weekend 12-14 July 2013 in the Athy GAA Centre, Dublin Road, Athy, Co. Kildare. Tony adds:

The lineup will be on the festival website shortly. We hope all our fans have not made alternative arrangements and will be with us again.

The Crooked Brothers in Europe, May 2013

Thanks to Jesse Matas of the Crooked Brothers (CAN) for this news:

Hey Folks,
The Crooked Brothers, a band from Manitoba, Canada, are coming back to Europe for the second time. We are a little unorthodox in our methods of touring, recording, and really, all things music (if you have heard our band, you probably know this). And thus the reason for this post. We believe that it is possible these days to make things happen based on the interactions of good folks who love music, who support live music, and who get involved for the love of it. For this reason, we've spent the last five years booking our own tours, writing our own music, and recording our own albums. We really do everything ourselves. We've even built two log cabins and a strawbale house in that time, no lie.

Our friend Paolo from the Willisau Spring Bluegrass Festival suggested we make a post on this blog to see if anyone is interested in booking the Crooked Brothers for a show. I thought this was a great idea. So here we are. We play all sorts of venues, big theatres or festivals or house concerts or bars or backyards or anything you could imagine. Last year we toured to France, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, and Czech, but really, we'll drive anywhere if it makes sense! We will be in Europe for the month of May, so if you're interested, give us a shout!

The Crooked Brothers
E-mail: General; Booking

The Crooked Brothers are Jesse Matas, Darwin Baker, and Matt Foster - all three are songwriters and multi-instrumentalists (banjo, mandolin, dobro, guitar, harmonicas). Their music can be heard on their website and their YouTube channel, and they are also on Twitter and Facebook.

Della Mae on the Silk Road

Della Mae in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Thanks to members of the IBMA's Leadership Bluegrass Alumni group for news of Della Mae (USA), the Boston-based all-girl band who formed part of Rainer Zellner's 3rd Bluegrass Jamboree! in 2011. Della Mae have made a considerable impact with their 'Bluegrass on the Silk Road' tour of South and Central Asia, part of the US State Department's 'American Music Abroad' programme.

Paul S. Rockower, communications director for American Voices, an associate of the programme, has written an article, 'American Music Abroad cultivates next generation of voices', which appeared in the Washington Diplomat last week. He also travelled with Della Mae on the tour, and describes the opening show at the all-female Fatima Jinnah University in Islamabad, Pakistan:

Della Mae's presence on campus was akin to that of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones — students at the country's first female university were so excited to hear the female bluegrass band that they literally tore the doors off the hinges of the theater to get in on the sound check warm-up. 'We've never played for crowds so excited and enthused to hear live music', said Della Mae fiddler Kimber Ludiker.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

'Fun and fundamental' at Prague, 22-24 Mar. 2013

Following on the BIB post of 2 Feb., Cheryl Winston sends this news:

Pete Wernick, who originated Bluegrass Jam Camps at Merlefest in 1999, will celebrate in late April hosting his 15th annual camp there. Just a month earlier, 22-24 March, he will introduce his jam camp to Europe, taking over Prague's Hotel Svornost for three days to host pickers from over eight countries, England to Slovakia. Camp registration, half-full as of early February, is expected to sell out in advance.

In Prague Wernick will be assisted by his wife Joan, plus several European teachers whose training at the camp will qualify them as certified Wernick Method teachers, to host jam classes in their respective countries.

'This is a long-held dream coming true for me', says Pete. 'I knew that something different was needed in bluegrass teaching, and I've been trying to fill the need.' In 2010 the Wernick Method started certifying teachers to lead weekly classes in the skills necessary for bluegrass jamming. Students jam in small groups, leading songs and following each other as in typical bluegrass jams, but at reduced speeds. After over 100 such classes taught by over fifty certified teachers, the Wernick Method has momentum: classes are now in thirty states, Australia, Canada, and Europe.

Wernick envisions jam classes 'anywhere people are trying to learn how to play bluegrass - which is really, all over Planet Earth'. The only qualification for students is the ability to play four chords: G, C, D, and A (fiddlers and bass players must know two of the notes in each chord). With 'the first rung of the ladder so close to the ground', Pete says, 'jamming is possible for anyone, and it lays a musical foundation. We call it "fun and fundamental". Learning to jam leads to more involvement and developing the skills it takes to handle the deeper challenges of bluegrass. It also brings people into the bluegrass community, something I am truly proud of.'

Wernick’s jam camp schedule this year includes Boulder, CO (March), Wilkesboro, NC (April), Gettysburg, PA (May), and Qualicum Bay, BC (June). The full listing of camps and all Wernick Method classes is found at BGjam.com.

The two photos above show Pete and Joan teaching at jam camps in North America.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

BE#86 finally out!

Bluegrass Europe #86 (January - March 2013) has been posted out to everyone on the mailing list. This issue's contents include:

Editorial ¦ EBMA  NEWS ¦ Jussi Syren & The Groundbreakers (interview) ¦ Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (report) ¦ BluegrassDuinen -  News Europe ¦ Bluegrass Christmas with old  friends (report) ¦ Peter Rowan & Druha Trava (report) ¦ A Bluegrass Explosion in Belgium ¦ Concert & Festival Calendar ¦ News US ¦ Lilly Drumeva gets Fulbright Grant (interview) ¦ Obituary: Mike Auldridge ¦ CD Reviews ¦ EBMA’s European Bluegrass Guide  ¦ Radio Formats with bluegrass ¦

Deadline for contributions, dates and advertisements for BE #87 (April - June 2013) is 10th March 13

Please note that you may place advertisements in this carefully edited and attractively designed magazine. More ads are needed to finance the production and mailing of the printed magazine. Still at this point, EBMA's expenses on BLUEGRASS EUROPE are higher than what subscriptions and advertisements are generating. Advertising could be especially interesting to companies outside of Europe, touring artists, record labels with new CDs... Please check out www.bluegrass-europe.org for more information.

We trust you will enjoy this current issue and look forward to you feedback!

Angelika R. Torrie
Chief Editor BLUEGRASS EUROPE
EBMA: Working together to support Bluegrass Music across borders.

Bluegrass band at the Eurovision Song Contest?

Dagfinn Pedersen, of the Norwegian Bluegrass Music Association and the EBMA board, reports:

I am just sharing some good bluegrass news from Norway. Lucky Lips, the '#1 European Bluegrass Band 2012' at EWOB 2011, is in the finals for the Norwegian contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest. They will be one of the ten final bands competing the coming weekend, and the winner will be the Norwegian representative at the contest. Their song, 'Sweet and heavy', is written by their young bandleader and singer, Malin Pettersen.

After a screening process by the selection committee, twenty-four bands have been competing over the last three Saturdays in big TV productions with open voting. Nine bands were selected by the Norwegian people; the tenth band, called the 'wild card', was chosen by a committee of real heavyweighters on the Norwegian music scene. They chose Lucky Lips. As one of them said, 'It is a beautiful song, probably too good for the Eurovision Song Contest.' So, now we cross our fingers.

You can hear 'Sweet and heavy', and see its accompanying video, on the Lucky Lips website and on YouTube.

Monday, 4 February 2013

14th Spring Bluegrass Festival, Willisau, Switzerland: 18 May 2013

The organising committee of the Spring Bluegrass Festival in Willisau, Switzerland, has announced the full programme for the 14th edition of their successful event. Their updated website features short presentations of all bands appearing (in German).

The 14th Spring Bluegrass Festival takes place in the Swiss Agricultural Museum in Alberswil, next to Willisau, Canton Lucerne, Switzerland, on 18 May 2013. The bands appearing on two stages at the all-day event are:

- Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice (USA; photo above)
- Growling Old Men (USA)
- Rawhide (B)
- De Stroatklinkers (NL)
- Rick Harris (USA)
- Field & Thompson (USA/SK/UK)
- Sunny Mountain Grass (CH)

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice's appearance is one of only three on a short European tour, put together especially to bring the band to the Spring Bluegrass Festival. The other venues where Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice will perform are Basel, Switzerland (19 May 2013), and the 31st Big Bear Festival, Zuidlaren, the Netherlands, on 20 May 2013. Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice have just won three SPBGMA awards for 2013: album, song, and vocalist - make sure not to miss their performances in Europe.

Advance ticket sales have been strong so far and a sold-out festival is likely.

The organising committee is looking forward to meeting old and new friends as well as a formidable set of bands from all over Europe and the USA.

Sincerely,
Paolo Dettwiler

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Invitation to 5th European Bluegrass Summit concert, 16 Mar. 2013

Rosťa Čapek and Iva Louková announce:

Dear friends,
In the middle of March the beautiful city of Prague becomes the capital of the European bluegrass. The 5th European Bluegrass Summit and the connected concert will be the grandiose bluegrass event.

We want to invite you to the concert which will take place in the Pyramida Hotel, Prague 6, on Saturday 16 March, 7.30 p.m.

The star of the evening will be Pete Wernick (USA) - the legendary 'Dr Banjo'. Many other excellent musicians will perform: Joan Wernick (USA), Lilly Drumeva (BG), Martino Coppo (I), COP (CZ), Brokeland Bullets (NOR), Petr Brandejs (CZ),...

You can book the tickets (for 290-490CZK it is €12-€20) by e-mail. More information is online. Looking forward to you,

Rosťa Čapek & Iva Louková

All-Europe Jam Camp: update!

Pete 'Dr Banjo' Wernick reports that bookings to take part in the first all-Europe jam camp have been very good so far.

Thirteen students from England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic have been signed up, including seven banjo-players out of a quota of 10. Bass players, fiddle players, dobro players, and additional instructors are wanted. Pete says:

As for additional teachers, I will train them in the Wernick Method both before and after the camp, with the expectation they will receive certification to teach W.M. jam classes in their home countries. [...] If you are an experienced bluegrass teacher who might come to Prague or wants to be certified, please write us. [...] The all-Europe aspect is significant, and I've greatly appreciated the support of the EBMA from the beginning.

Read the whole of the update bulletin here. Pete adds:

One last note: My wife Joan and I will be taking our first-ever cruise on the Rhine River, Amsterdam to Basel, between 31 March and 7 April. The boat will stop in a number of cities en route, and we hope that maybe some bluegrass fans will meet us along the way. We hope to see you sometime soon!


Thanks to Richard Thompson for forwarding this news.