Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Presentation of the 2015 EBMA Bluegrass Pioneers and Personalities Awards

On Saturday 14th March, during the Munich Bluegrass Festival, the presentation of the 2015 EBMA Bluegrass Pioneers and Personalities Awards took place. (See the Munich Bluegrass Festival website for more pictures of the event)

The Festival was held in Das Schloss, just north of Munich's city centre. From the outside, Das Schloss looks like a circus tent but inside is a very well-equipped auditorium with a central lobby and a separate conservatory-like room which served as a coffee bar, restaurant and - most importantly - a place to jam.

The EBMA Bluegrass Pioneers and Personalities Awards were presented during the Saturday night sets by bands  from Germany and the Czech Republic - including a set by GeorgiaRina & The Loose Screws who are a young band who have been supported by Bluegrass-Nachwuchs-F√∂rderung (or BNF) which supports promising, young musicians with tuition and other costs.

The recipients of the 2015 European Bluegrass Pioneer Awards were:
  • RICHARD WEIZE (Germany)
  • DALIBOR CIDLINSKY (Czech Republic)
2015 European Bluegrass Personality of the Year was awarded to RAINER ZELLNER (Germany). 

Jean-Marie Redon started playing Bluegrass in the mid-1960's and has not stopped since! So far, his Bluegrass career has included playing in several bands, writing and producing instructional books and DVDs, regular performances on both sides of the Atlantic and winning a SPBGMA Award in 1998.

Angelika Torrie & Susie Bowe
Hosts of the Awards Ceremony
Photograph by Robert Bowe

Jean-Marie was unable to attend the presentation so his award was accepted on his behalf by Jean-Michel Peyrou.

Jean-Michel Peyrou accepting the award for
Jean -Marie Redon
Photograph by Robert Bowe

Since 1975, Richard Weize - the founder of Bear Family Records - has enabled fans and collectors to obtain copies of rare and, otherwise unavailable, vintage recordings through his company Bear Family Records.

Richard Weize (in a characteristic 'bear' shirt)
Photograph by Robert Bowe
Dalibor Cidlinsky has brought Bluegrass music to fans in the Czech Republic and beyond for many years but the manner of his acceptance of his award may be as memorable as his musical career. Dalibor came onto the stage with guitar-case in hand and, after being introduced to the audience, threw open the case, grabbed his guitar and (from the experssions of the hosts Angelike Torrie and Susie Bowe) undertook and un-rehearsed, un-announced and un-mic'd rendition of Shady Grove in his native tongue. It was a commanding performance that was much appreciated by the audience.

Dalibor Cidlinsky's impromptu Shady Grove
Photograph by Robert Bowe
The final award of the evening was the European Bluegrass Personality of the Year which was awarded to Rainer Zellner. Rainer has been involved in promoting Bluegrass in his native Germany and other European countries since the early 90's and through his Bluegrass Jamboree has sought to introduce Bluegrass music to Americana and Country music fans through his multi-genre shows.

Rainer Zellner of Bluegrass
Photograph by Robert Bowe

From the volume of the applause, the recipients of the EBMA awards were very popular choices. Lastly,  the organisers of the Munich Bluegrass Festival are also to be applauded for an efficiently run festival in a very smart venue. All facilities were exceptional as were the in-house sound & stage crew.