Bluegrass Heard ‘Round The World

The international bluegrass scene, as reported from all over the planet


New International Releases

  • Blue Grass Boogiemen: Live at Cafe De Stad (recorded at a Blue Grass Boogiemen concert in central Utrecht, the Netherlands; see their photo at right)

  • The Dark is Barking from Rawhide, a Belgian band

  • Redhills by I Draw Slow, the 'neo-old-time' band based in Dublin, Ireland; to be released by Pinecastle Records. Customers who pre-order Redhills from the Pinecastle website will also receive a free digital copy, delivered on the release date, and will receive the single 'Goldmine' instantly after their purchase. Look for their official WOB showcase in Nashville!

  • Dial, by 0039 (Italy; formerly Bononia Grass); with a new name and lineup, and a “new kind of bluegrass—‘Bluegrass Made in Italy’”—and five original songs by Paolo Ercoli.

European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA) Reports

We really appreciate these fine reports from our friends in the EBMA! Bluegrass is taking root and growing all over the world, as these reports reveal…

Obrigado to André Dal Lentilhas, who sends news from Portugal:

  • Béla Fleck will perform at the World Music Festival (Festival Músicas do Mundo - FMM), in Sines, Portugal with Malian singer Oumou Sangaré on July 21. A video of Sangaré singing 'Djorolen', accompanied by Fleck, can be seen here.
  • Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti, allegedly Portugal’s only bluegrass band, will appear once again at the country’s biggest festival, Festa do Avante, on September 8-9. (Check them out at http://www.reverbnation.com/stonebonesbadspaghetti.

Dziękuję to Miroslaw Parejko, who lets us know about his band’s adventures in Poland:

  • WiesBand Bielany (at right) performed at the Spring Bluegrass Festival Willisau in Switzerland earlier this year, and they’re now giving “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. The 2012 BluegrassEvening Bielany is planned as an intimate evening with bluegrass music by two or three bands.
  • In May 2011, the Wiesband Bielany became the first Polish band to perform country music at the Philharmonia of Wroclaw, supporting the Joscho Stephan Quartet. This year they launched their KinderGarden Bluegrass Summit – a series of concerts for children in kindergartens and primary schools. See details on their website at www.wiesbandbielany.pl.

Molto Grazie to Martino Coppo of Red Wine & the EBMA Board, checking in from Italy:

  • After celebrating the release of its new CD, Red, Red Wine played at the international Bluegrass Festival in Willisau, Switzerland, and 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 Modena Theatre in Genoa on November 16 with special guest Peter Rowan—with whom they’ll also play dates in France and other Italian locations during Rowan’s European odyssey.
  • On August 2 Ronnie Bowman and The Committee will play an intimate house concert in an old villa in the mountains in Genoa. Email martino.coppo58@gmail.com for details.
  • It’s time to enroll in the 7th Urbino MinierAcustica Music Camp. The first week, from August 19--25, 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 August 26—September 1, will be focused on folk music and bluegrass: Russ Barenberg will teach the guitar class, Martino Coppo will teach the mandolin, and Irish accordionist David Munnelly will give the first workshop diatonic accordion class. For more information, please visit www.MinierAcustica.org.

благодаря to Lilly Drumeva, reporting from Bulgaria:

Lilly of the West will host the first mini-bluegrass music festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 11, in front of the Sofia Theatre in Zaimov Park, at 7.30 pm, with special guests Candy Floss, a young band from Slovakia. Also, check out Lilly’s new video (“'Gotta lotta rhythm in my soul'”) with her band, Lilly of the West, at http://youtu.be/F5cNyTmLopg.

Mange tak to Spencer Sorenson over in Denmark, who shares the following …

  • This spring Danish bluegrass fans enjoyed performances by two Swedish bands (South Drive and a return visit from the Hillfillies), a Norwegian band (Julie and the New Favorites), as well as Danish group Muleskinner.
  • They were also thrilled to host G Runs 'n Roses and the first-class American band the Gibson Brothers, who started their European tour in Copenhagen.
  • The Danish spring concert season is winding down and will finish with a visit from Rocks & Ivy from Belgium and Holland.
  • The fall season will kick off with music from a brand new Danish band, Ungrassified (see photo at right). “We are pleased to have some new bands starting here,” says Sorenson, “and hope that the trend continues.”

Dank je wel to Cor & Margaret Sanne, www.cms-country.nl, in the Netherlands, who let us know that Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa will appear in an exclusive concert in Holland on July 17, at Turfschip, Zuideinde 15, Nieuwkoop. The band will include Emory Lester (mandolin, harmony vocals) Kene Hyatt (bass) and Mike Scott (banjo, vocals). On July the band will play in Norway with Vince Gill and Bobby Bare.

And dank to Guido de Groot, also from the Netherlands, who tells us that the second Pijnackerplein Bluegrass Festival took place on June 30 on the most beautiful square in Rotterdam, and featured bands like Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours (USA), the Blue Grass Boogiemen (Netherlands), and more.

Merci beaucoup to Christopher Howard-Williams, reporting from France:

  • The Craponne Country Rendezvous (July 27-29) will feature The SteelDrivers, Ronnie Bowman, and Howlin' Fox this year
  • The La Roche Bluegrass Festival (August 1-5) will feature thirty bands from all over Europe and the USA, including Ronnie Bowman, Bearfoot, and Hickory Project from the US, They Call Me Rico (Canada), Blackjack (Czech Republic), Le Chat Mort (Spain), and Turquoise (France). The festival is family-friendly with plenty to do for kids, and locally-produced food and drink.

Visit www.france-bluegrass.org.

Other American Bluegrassers Abroad

Peter Rowan will play a handful of very special solo dates in England and Ireland in August/September 2012:

  • Aug. 29 The Old Queen's Head, 44 Essex Road, Angel, London N1 8LN, England
  • Sep. 1 Didmarton Bluegrass Festival, Cotswold Airport, Gloucestershire GL7 6BQ, England
  • Sep. 3 Whelan's, Dublin 2, Ireland
  • Sep. 4 Village Arts Centre, Kilworth, Co. Cork, Ireland
  • Sep. 5 Leap Castle, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Sep. 6 Crane Bar, Galway City, Ireland

Pete will return to Europe in November for more shows in Italy and the Czech Republic, in distinguished European company!

With Red Wine (Italy; pictured at right):

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

With Druha Trava (Czech Republic)

  • Nov. 21 & 22: Two shows confirmed; details TBA

From August 9 to August 18, Bill Evans, Barbara Lamb, Todd Phillips and Tim May will tour Russia, appearing at music festivals in Vologda, Tomta, Perm and Yekaterinburg.

Oregon’s Foghorn Stringband (Caleb Klauder, mandolin, vocals; Stephen 'Sammy' Lind, violin, vocals; Reeb Willms, guitar, vocals; Nadine Landry, bass, vocals) recently completed a tour of Europe that began in Ireland and ended in Switzerland. They contributed posts about 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 blog, and their Stateside schedule for the next couple of very busy months is there, too.

American band The Coloradas are planning another European tour for September, with shows in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Norway. Promoters interested in booking them for dates on the tour can contact Roy Davis via Austrian mobile: +43 664 8715118 or through the Coloradas’ website, Twitter, or Facebook page. Visit http://www.thecoloradas.com.

Tours, Events, and Other News

The 6th Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival in County Mayo, in the west of Ireland, welcomed back Mayo's top bluegrass act, the Rocky Top String Bad, to 29 June-1 July event. The lineup also included the acclaimed Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys from Great Britain. http://westportfolkandbluegrass.com/

Banjo player, enthusiast, and researcher Gérard De Smaele (photo at left) of Fauroeulx, Belgium has a new website that features his performing, recordings, and publications, and an ample liens (links) section which should be very useful to anyone interested in the banjo. De Smaele’s complete thesis “Banjo attitudes” is available on the site in French; an English translation is in progress. His website is at http://home.base.be/desmaele51/banjo/Accueil.html.

Canadian banjo adventurer Jayme Stone will tour Canada extensively this month, and he’s also deeply involved with a banjo concert written by Canadian composer Andrew Downing, which is set to premiere at the Home County Folk Festival on July 22 with members of Orchestra London. The program will also include tunes by Stone and Downing, arranged for chamber symphony. Visit http://jaymestone.com.

Sad news from promoter Laurent Eeckhout in Namur, Belgium: no Picnic Festival in 2012—

“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!” Salut, Monsieur, et merci.

The Guildtown Bluegrass Music Festival will kick off in Perth, Scotland on July 20th--23rd, 2012 at the Guildtown Village Hall & Playing Fields, Hall Rd, six miles north of Perth on A93. Featured acts will include Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa, Rough & Rocky Road (CZ), Goldrush, Home Made Jam, Dapper McDans, Blue Horyzon, New Redwing, Little Giants, Kentucky Cow Tippers and John Weighell & Co. Visit www.scottishbluegrass.com for info.

Please send your international bluegrass news to Caroline Wright at caroline@ibma.org. We welcome bluegrass news from all over the globe, and will include it in our newsletter as time and space permit!